|Fancy cheese, veggies, hummous, cupcakes, birthday cake, peas, juice and pop. Yum!|
We had talked briefly about a themed party with costumes, decorations, invitations, etc. Yeah, that was never going to happen. We opted to go for adults only, mainly because we are lazy parents, and most of our family and friends don't have kids. Also, I didn't grow up with birthday parties and to be honest they scare me more than a little. We plan to raise AJ with North American traditions and celebrations, so we will throw birthday and holiday parties. However, I don't mind putting it off as long as we can get away with it.
We went to the party store the day before for supplies and decorations. It was full of Halloween shoppers, mainly families with kids who all seemed to be having meltdowns. Mr. Turtle and I both dislike stressful shopping experiences: we tend to freeze and be unable to make any decisions, and end up walking out with nothing. But we had no time to anywhere else so we hunkered down, focused and bought banners, paper pom-poms and colourful plates. Instant theme: polka dots and bright colours!
We collaborated on the cake. I found a peas and carrots smash cake recipe. I bought the groceries; Mr. Turtle baked it and made the icing. Then I put the pea decorations on and my friend C. finished it off when she got to the party.
You know how people ask "Can I help with anything?" when they arrive someone's house, and usually the hosts say "Nope, all under control!" Well, when you come to our house you hear "Sure: here's your job and be smart about it, because we've got another one when you're done." That's how slick and organized we are.
The cake turned out really well. In addition to the smash cake, the recipe provided for a dozen cupcakes. We had guests fighting for the last one, including my stepmother in law who never takes seconds of anything! I might be making this recipe again. Also it is really easy.
AJ enjoyed her cake. She started by picking peas off one by one and eating them, then slowly but efficiently made an excavation. She probably ate about a third of it. We had her stripped down in
just a tutu, but she barely made a mess: that cake was going into her mouth! She ate about a third of it and the rest we were able to save for later.
I can feel the passage of time this weekend. I have mixed emotions about it, or rather I have emotions that are like different sides of the same coin. We went to Bab.ies R Us this weekend, and it was kind of a weird experience. We first went to this store when I was late in my 3rd trimester, and we felt a little like impostors. Were we really going to have a baby? We've been back many times since AJ's birth for clothes, toys, furniture, and it didn't take long for the place to become familiar and even routine. But when we went again yesterday, I found myself looking around and again feeling like we didn't belong there. Breast pumps, bassinets, infant swings, teeny tiny clothes...AJ is too big for 90% of the stuff in that store. She's outgrown it!
On one hand I feel good about this: proud, even relieved. We have a strong, happy, healthy child, and I think she's pretty darned smart and good looking too. She completes and defines our lives. If our world is a puzzle, we know exactly where her piece fits. Of course she has and always will have the ability to surprise us, but we are not bashful, nervous new parents with a squalling bundle of mystery. She's our daughter, we have a relationship.
On the other hand, it is unnerving to see the early months of her life fade into the past, into a nostalgic, beautiful irrelevance. I don't think I so much miss AJ as an infant, as I (sometimes) miss being the mom to an infant. I prepared for that role, I (at times) struggled with it, I learned how to be good at it. And now it's over. So quickly.
But with more of AJ to fill my arms and heart every day, there's no way to not love the present.
My brother wrote a sonnet for AJ, which I think is the best birthday greeting I have ever read. It speaks to my heart.
"Oh, have a Happy Birthday, AJ, dear,
This is your day to smile and not to cry,
To celebrate your life of just one year,
A year, your first, of joy and fun gone by.
Not every day was full of fun and games,
Nor will all the days to come be all like this,
Not every day will live up to what it claims,
A day to celebrate and reminisce.
But every happy life must have its first,
There can't be two or three without a one,
Year four needs three and two and one rehearsed,
That's why we celebrate your life begun.
So clap your hands and smile, you're made it here,
Now and again, until this time next year."