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I’m sitting down to write this two weeks after your birthday. Such is the plight of the second child, I’m afraid. I’ve been composing it in my head for much longer, though. One year…just like that.
The first things people comment on when they meet you is your hair, and your happiness. Both are pretty remarkable.
Your hair is starting to get a little too long in the back and is threatening to become a mullet if I don’t do something about it soon, but the thought of cutting it makes me sad. I’m going to wait it out a little longer until it becomes a vision hazard.
And your happiness? Oh, Ryan. You are just the happiest. You are always smiling. Always! You flirt and laugh and give giant, wet, open-mouth kisses. You have pride in your accomplishments and give yourself a round of applause when you do something well, all while shrieking “Yay!!” Sometimes I find you laughing while flipping through a book or crashing a car because, life! It’s a blast!
Your nickname around here is “Trouble”, and it suits you. You are into everything, so very scrappy, and are already proving to be my wild child. One of your favorite “scare Mama” tricks is to push your giant stuffed lion next to Owen’s closet, climb on top of it and pull on the net of his basketball hoop. Can you at least put a helmet on if you’re going to do that? Over the past two weeks you went from taking your first step, to standing from the floor on your own, to basically walking around the house like you own the place. I forgot how startling it can be to have a small person round the corner doing his best Frankenstein impression when you’re not expecting it. I think Kodiak forgot, too, because you’ve startled him a few times.
I’m hoping once you are fully comfortable with walking that your sleep will go back to normal. And by normal, I mean you used to just sleep all the time. Naps were done in minutes without a fight, bedtime was easy and essentially through the night. As you’ve been working on this skill (and working on adding to your four teeth, I suspect) though, you’ve been up a few times at night, wanting to nurse constantly and have been royally fighting your afternoon nap. I would really, really like to go back to you sleeping. Really. Trust me, we are all happier when everyone sleeps. I will say that you always tell me when you’re ready to sleep. When you’re tired you cry “nigh, nigh, nigh!” until we put you down for night night. Never stop that, ok? It’s adorable.
You are a talker, mister. You are constantly babbling to yourself or anyone who will listen. Your consistent words include: mama, dada, wawa (Owen), dog, book, ball, bear, dat (that), yay, bah (cup), nuh (nurse), night night, hi, uh oh, rum rum (which isn’t really a word, but the sound you make when you drive toy cars around), and believe it or not, dinosaur. It comes out as “dye-dye-dye”, but you only say it when you’re playing with and showing me toy dinosaurs so I know that’s what you mean. What a funny thing to add to your vocabulary. You smack your lips together when you want to eat and always use the signs for more, all done, milk, and have created your own for lovey, which is you touching your mouth with your open hand just like you press your lovey to your face. (SO CUTE.)
Speaking of your lovey, you are totally attached to it. It’s a white lovey with a sheep head that was gifted to your brother when he was a baby. Owen never took any interest in it, but you clutch it to you while you sleep and like to carry it around when you first wake up. It’s slowly going from white to…not so white, despite washing it. I guess it’s just well-loved.
Owen continues to be your ultimate buddy and it’s clear you already idolize him. If he does it, you need to do it too, and that means imitating him in every possible way. You need to drink from big boy cups, and play with big boy toys, and eat big boy food (you did purees for maybe a minute around six months. Then it was “give me what he’s got”, basically.) (Oh yeah, you eat everything. Every. Thing. And if there isn’t food on your tray mere seconds after I put you in the high chair you shriek!) He loves you to infinity and beyond, even though he’s become very territorial about his toys. I don’t think he was quite prepared for all that sharing. The joy in both of your eyes when you play or spontaneously hug, or the peals of laughter from both of you in the back seat makes me know we’re all doing something right, though.
See what happened, Ry Ry? I finally got to writing about you and now I can’t stop. There is just so much to tell.
I will stop, though. For today. Happy first (and two weeks) birthday, my not-so-little Little. Thank you for the joy you bring me constantly.
I love you through and through.
- On Saturday we had a birthday party for the boys. The plan was to have an outdoor bbq, but the sky threatened rain and the humidity left the air thick and soupy. We moved the 30+ people indoors, but after a while the sun burst through the clouds and people ventured outdoors. It ended up being a really beautiful day!
You may recall that while planning Owen’s first birthday party, I laid some pretty heavy mom-guilt on myself over — of all things — his birthday cake. I made myself feel so terrible that I, (gasp!) bought his cake rather than made it with love. Somebody should have told me to get over it. Really.
This time, I decided not to go crazy. I put a sailboat and some nautical language on the invitation, bought some red, white and blue table cloths, plates and napkins and called it a day. Nautical-ish. Patriotic-ish. Whatever, it totally worked. I also released myself from any guilt and for under six bucks made 48 funfetti cupcakes and you know what? They were DELICIOUS.
My mom always threw us great birthday parties, but the ones I truly remember I was older for. I figure I have many birthdays ahead of us to go all out. I did splurge on one party thing, though — adorable matching birthday shirts for the boys. I’m so glad I did!
Aren’t they sweet? (Psst…If you like those, check back on Monday for a super awesome giveaway !)
It was a really great, stress-free party and we have some wonderfully generous friends and family who spoiled the boys rotten. A great day.
- So, after the party comes the thank you cards. I’m a big believer of a handwritten card thanking the recipient specifically for what they gave. It’s always nice to receive mail and appreciation, no? I do my best to get them out within a week of getting a gift (my mama raised me right!), and I hope to instill that in the boys as well.
What drives me crazy, though, is what surrounds the giving of the thank you card. If the person mailed the gift, I often send a quick email to acknowledge we received it. I thank them in the email, then thank them again by card. But I always wonder if they think the email is the actual thank you and kind of tacky. I don’t know, I get all in my head about it. Sometimes it’s just a lot of work to say thanks for a pair of socks, or something.
It also makes me nuts when my mom (hi, mom!) will ask me if I’ve sent a thank you card. I totally get it, I do. She’s a mom. I’m a mom. Moms will do this. But I’m 30 years old and she’s the one who taught me to send the cards! Job well done, mom! So, mom. You don’t have to ask this time. I’ve been writing the thank you cards ;)
- Owen received a toy lawn mower for his birthday, and while he was playing with it he told us he was going to “unleash the power of technology.” We all kind of stared at him for a minute in confusion. Say what? Where did that come from? I’m still at a loss so if that sounds familiar to you please let me know!
- Bad TV I’ve been watching : Mistresses. Good TV I’ve been watching: The Newsroom, Season 1. Any recommendations?
Recently we’ve been ending the day by watching videos of you as a baby. At first you would laugh and say that Ryan was so cute! Look at him laughing! I would explain to you that no, that’s not baby Ryan, that’s baby Owen. That’s you! It took you a while to wrap your head around that.
I totally know where you’re coming from, because it’s hard for me to wrap my head around it too. When I watch those videos I can’t believe the chunkalicious, rosy-cheeked baby on the screen is the same awesome little boy watching next to me.
Today you are three years old. “One, two, THREE!” you tell me, holding up your thumb, pointer and middle finger.
I wrote a few days ago about some of the less enjoyable things that go on at this age, but that’s really only a small part of it. There is so much awesome happening with you right now too. Like how you have started to pick up your feet on your balance bike and really balance, not just push with your feet. Or how you make up songs and build your own version of the Island of Sodor with your blocks and tracks while telling stories of where your trains are going that day. You can count to 30 and know the days of the week, the months and can sing all 50 states. You love to dance and will request everything from James Brown to country music to Mumford & Sons.
There are small things — like the sound of your laughter when the wind whips your hair in the car, or how you take my hand in the parking lot and tell me to look both ways — and big stuff too. Like how you tell us you miss us when we are gone, even for just a little while, because you love us so much.
You still love your cars and trucks, but now play with them as though they are real things and not just toys, building roads and hills for them to climb, garages for them to park in and tunnels for them to drive though. At any given moment there are at least two hiding behind every throw pillow in the house. You constantly want to play outside, love going to the beach and though it still makes you nervous, you are starting to venture into the water and are SO proud of yourself when you do.
You are imaginative and musical and funny and kind and sensitive. You are also an amazing brother. Sure, your sharing needs some work and I often have to remind you to be a little more gentle, but overall, watching you be a big brother to Ryan is just the most amazing thing. You beat me to his room every morning, scaling the crib and covering him in hugs and kisses. He chases you down the hall calling”Wa Wa!”, climbs all over you and leans in to give you kisses without being prompted because you are just the best of friends. You give him drinks from your cup and build pillow and stuffed animal forts to play in together, and I often find you sitting with your arm around him just because.
In September you start preschool. I cannot believe you are old enough for that! You are excited to go and talk about it often, but are also worried that I won’t stay with you. It’s not uncommon for you to need two or three times to be comfortable with a new situation, but I’m hoping the transition from being home full time with me to three mornings away isn’t too hard on you. Actually, I think it will be great and I’m really looking forward to watching you grow and thrive there.
You are in the “why” stage, and talk, talk, talk, talk, talk. Your questions are endless and I often get to the end of a long stream of them and run out of steam. Sometimes I simply don’t have the answer and you don’t like to accept that. Recently, my friend asked you why you ask so many questions and you replied:
Because I want to know everything.
Well, Owen, I can’t really argue with that.
I’ve heard the theory that first babies are like the first pancakes in a batch; how parents make all the mistakes on their first kid. But you know what? I’m really proud to be your mommy, Owen. Your heart and smile are both so very big and I think our first pancake is pretty darn awesome.
Happy third birthday, bugaboo. I can’t wait to see what this year brings.
I love you through and through.
I turned 30 on New Year’s Eve. There’s a lot of hype surrounding this birthday. The Big 3-0 comes around and people feel pressure to have completed something: careers, families, etc. I may not have done everything I had hoped to accomplish by my 30th birthday, but I’ve come pretty close.
Those two right there? That’s the best thing I’ve done in my 30 years. Hands down.
The last few weeks have been an endless celebration — first the holidays and concluding with an amazing surprise birthday party. Together with family and friends, Michael threw me a party I will never forget. And believe it or not, I was 100% surprised. I had NO clue!
I say goodbye to my 20s with mixed emotions. It was a good decade, filled with some of the biggest events of a lifetime. Jobs, marriage, children, homes, loss, love. It all happened in my 20s. I look forward to what this next chapter has in store, though. I promise this 30-something blogger will have some good stories to tell.
(30 in age; kid at heart. )
Today you are two. TWO YEARS OLD! Let me be all cliche for a moment here and say, wow. How did THAT happen? People aren’t kidding when they say time flies; it really does.
You have truly blossomed these past few months and your personality is out in full force. You talk a mile a minute about everything and everyone with a vocabulary that continually blows me away. Sometimes we can’t even keep up with all you have to say! Your elephant-like memory is pretty awesome, and you surprise me daily when you tell me full recaps of our day, or remind me of something we did weeks — even months — ago. You are an avid reader, devouring every book you can get your hands on. Sometimes it pains me to tell you no, I won’t be reading another book after we’ve read 10, because I know you love it so. You love ALL THINGS TRUCKS, and get so excited when you see a backhoe or a tractor or some other random construction equipment. You know each one so well that you correct me if I call it the wrong name. Such a boy, you are!
You are cheeky and funny and coy and shy and a flirt all wrapped into one delicious blond package. You sing at the top of your lungs and dance to any music that happens to be on — whether that’s in the house or over the speakers in the grocery store. You are affectionate and loving and while somehow you woke up one morning with most traces of your babyhood erased, you still have those chubby cheeks and thighs right along with you big boy looks.
You are cautious when it comes to trying new physical things, and want to be held in new places or situations. Maybe it has to do with being the first born of two first borns (both who I suppose are cautious people by nature), but I really hope you get over your fear of putting your toes in the ocean. We do live in Rhode Island, after all.
You’ve transitioned so well into your new room and bed (minus some very early mornings) and occasionally use the potty. We’re not rushing toilet training, but it’s exciting when you do it, none the less.
You are your father’s mini, telling me multiple times a day you’re doing something “just like Daddy!” Your whole body lights up when he comes in the door and my heart bursts to hear you say “Love you, Daddy!” You cover us both in hugs and kisses and snuggles and our days are made. You bring light, joy and color to our world, little boy. Sometimes we will be watching you, and Daddy and I will catch each other’s eye and just grin at each other liked crazed maniacs — so amazed that we created you and how amazingly awesome you are.
Any day now you will become a big brother. You ask me daily if baby brother is coming today and the reality is that yes, he will be here very soon. I hope the adjustment of having a baby in the house isn’t too hard for you. We are going to do our best to make it go smoothly for you. I can’t wait to see you interact with a sibling. I think it’s one of the best gifts we can give you and I hope you remember that one day when he’s stealing your toys and tackling you on the rug.
I want you to know something, Owen. I have loved every second of being just your mommy. This isn’t an insult to your brother, rather the fact that you made us parents and the past two years have been the best two years of my entire life. I couldn’t have asked for a better first born. When I look at you, sometimes it actually hurts how much I love you. How one of your smiles or giggles can actually make my heart ache with joy.
You will always be my first baby, and that holds a very special place in my heart. I can’t wait to continue to watch you grow, you amazing little goober.
I love you through and through.
- My baby turns two years old tomorrow. I’m kind of blown away by this. I can’t believe I will be posting the first quarterly letter of his second year wishing him the happiest of birthdays, because it’s hard to believe that just two years ago today I went into labor with him. Be prepared for some sap tomorrow.
- Last year we did the big first birthday party, but this year will be low-key with just a family dinner with the in-laws, cake and presents. We will probably do a second cake when the baby comes and my family is in town too. Owen is getting his first bike and helmet — both red (his choice!) — which will, I’m sure, provide hours of entertainment for him, and heart palpitations for his mother.
- In preparation, I’ve pinned about half a dozen cake recipes, so I just have to decide which one to make today. Yum!
- I’m 37 weeks pregnant now, officially full term and ready for this kid to come out. I’m not uncomfortable, I’m just impatient. I really want to meet him! The only two days I’d like to avoid is tomorrow (it would be nice for the kids to have their own birthdays, even if they are close together), and the fourth of July. Being a holiday baby myself (New Years Eve), I know how annoying sharing your birthday with the entire country can be when you’re a kid. Other than that, he can come. I have a feeling he’s not going to make an appearance until at LEAST the 39th week, but I’m willing him out all the same.
I’ve had three real contractions the past few days that were uncomfortable and familiar enough for me pause and think, “now???”, but obviously, they didn’t mean anything. Saturday I was in the mood to clean…and clean, and clean, and clean. Somewhere around 9:30 p.m. while steam mopping my kitchen and planning on tackling the bathrooms next, it hit me that this was exactly what happened the night I went into labor with Owen. I had two schools of thought: one…baby time!, followed by two…wishful thinking slash nesting to the extreme. Guess it was number two.
Not out, still in.
My appointment on Friday confirmed dilation has started — like, barely — but all that means is hey, guess what? You’re going to have a baby at some point. Duh. I know, I know. Babies come when they want to come. I was just hoping that him being my second would mean he’d come out a little sooner, that’s all.
- I think the solution to any sleep issues Owen encounters is to write about them on the internet, because after I do that they tend to resolve themselves a bit. After realizing that the sound of shutting the door was what was upsetting him and causing him to climb out of bed, I started leaving the door open a bit until about 20 minutes after he falls asleep. Success! No more opening the door. He just sleeps.
The main issue is that with the freedom to get out of bed comes the new routine of him waking so freaking early (see last post), and no. That needs to stop. I ordered a special toddler alarm clock that looks like a little alien and rather than making noise, lights up when it’s time to start your day. We’re on day two of using it and while it hasn’t been an overnight success, I can already see progress and he’s definitely excited about using it. I will do a full review of it in a week or so in case any of you are also bleary-eyed and so NOT bushy-tailed while your toddler drives trucks over your face at 5 a.m. and are looking for a solution.
- Owen is trying to climb into the baby swing so I should probably go stop that. Behold my (very near) future.
I’m finding it hard to believe that the last days of 2011 are already upon us. The years certainly tend to go by faster as I get older, but this one flew by at lightening speed. It was a good one, this year. And looking back I feel fortunate to find so little negative, so little sadness. This year was actually totally defined by joy.
Owen grew day-by-day and before our eyes went from a squawking newborn to a beautiful, intelligent, funny boy. We celebrated his first birthday in the backyard of the house we brought him home to, surrounded by family and friends and so much love. He took his first steps, spoke his first sentence (“oh, my Dada!”) and started to (sort of) count to ten. He is our everything, this kid.
The most stressful part of the year was selling our old house and buying another. There was a period of time where it was looking pretty likely that we would have no official place to live and would possibly end up in my mother-in-law’s basement until the housing issue was resolved. Luckily for all of us, that didn’t happen, and in a span of 24 hours we moved out of one house, closed on two, and moved into our new house. It was a whirlwind of emotions and boxes, but in the end, we found ourselves on the end of quiet cul-de-sac in what could very well be our Forever House. We’ve spent far too much money at Lowe’s, and even more hours dreaming about our future here. From the first night it felt like home, and I think that makes it just perfect.
We spent the summer taking Owen out on the boat, celebrating the weddings of people we love and digging our toes in the sand. Autumn included our first night away from him, where we went to New Hampshire to celebrate our third wedding anniversary, his first Halloween where he was the MOST adorable lion I have ever seen, and trips to pick out pumpkins.
Autumn also brought the news that another baby is coming into our lives, and if that isn’t the icing on the 2011 cake, I don’t know what is.
We ended the year with a cozy Christmas with family in our new home, stockings crowding the mantel I always dreamed about and more presents than we deserved.
Tomorrow is my twenty-ninth birthday and the last day of the year. I really can’t say anything bad about 28 (other than the fact that it’s inching me that much closer to 30), and can only hope that 29 can hold a candle to how great this year was. I plan on stuffing my face with cupcakes and trying my very best to stay up till midnight. But no promises.
Happy New Year, everyone. See you in 2012!
Mind if I brain dump all over you guys? No? Ok, good. You guys, how is Christmas on Sunday? As in, THIS Sunday? I’m hosting this year which means I need to cook dinner for seven people and if my holiday party was any indication, I’m going to make too much food, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but I don’t want to eat baked ham for two weeks. Also, I only just sent out my Christmas cards today! For the record, I ended up designing my own and printing them out as 4×6 photos at CVS. Sure, they’re not your standard fancy card, but it took many, MANY attempts to get one good picture of Owen smiling so by god, I will send that face to 60 people, Christmas in six days or not.
That face, which is turning 18-months old next week. As in, a year and a half. Say what? That face has also recently started to argue with me, which I thought wasn’t supposed to happen until much later when the subject matter would be something like staying out past curfew or, you know, not wanting to eat his vegetables. Instead, he informs me multiple times a day that the toy rhino is not in fact a rhino, but actually a hippo. He conveys this by shaking his head “no” and shouting “IP-PO!” at me until I concede that FINE. I suppose it KIND OF LOOKS LIKE A HIPPO, but it has horns and also? It’s a rhino. I went to college and everything, kiddo. The same goes for a green brontosaurus on a pair of pajamas that is actually an alligator. Duh, Mama.
And because Owen is a rule follower, he must have sneakily been reading up on sleep regressions and heard that there’s one around 18 months. So guess who hit the nail on the head with that again, right on schedule? It hasn’t been awful. Not like four months (omg), or nine months (omiiiiggggoood), but now he’s taken to waking just once in the middle of the night and crying just long enough for me to wake up — and stay awake — for at least an hour. I don’t like 3 a.m. Never have.
Occasionally, he’s not settled himself, and in those cases I am too
lazy tired to stand in his room forever, so I’ve been scooping him up and tucking him in next to me in bed. He settles right in and it’s very sweet and reminiscent of his newborn days. After a little bit I bring him back to his crib, but I can’t say I’ve minded the snuggles all that much.
But still, go away, regression. Mama likes her solid sleep.
I’m Old Gah
In two weeks I turn 29. As in, the last year of my 20s. As in, one year away from 30 (which ok, isn’t THAT scary, but I’m still kind of clinging to the “I’m in my 20s!!!!” thing.) Michael’s been there, done that, when it comes to turning 30, so he’s not all that sympathetic about me only turning 29. My birthday is New Year’s Eve and while I feel like I should get a sitter and toast my last 20th year in style, I can’t imagine what we would do and how it would be any better than cupcakes and bubbly drinks at home with my family. Oh god, I really am getting old. Just kidding! I mean…let’s party! On a rooftop! In December! Without a sweater because woo hoo! We are young and crazy!
(Jeez no, it’s cold. Someone go make me a cup of tea.)
I Am Apparently Five Gah
I was grocery shopping yesterday and inexplicably needed chocolate milk. Like, right that very minute. Which is dumb because I never drink chocolate milk and actually, I was going to go to Starbucks for a chai as soon as I was done. But that chocolate milk was right there on the shelf and I WANTED IT. So I bought it.
And drank the whole thing in the car, despite Owen’s pleas from the back to give him whatever was in that bottle. I gave him water instead, because he is the child and I am the adult and I don’t share my chocolate milk.
You are ONE! I’m not quite sure where this year went, but in the blink of an eye you went from a wrinkly, mushy infant to a laughing, moving, curious, intelligent, fabulous toddler. You won’t remember it, but to celebrate your first year on earth, we had a big party in the backyard with family and friends. It had been raining for days, but on the morning of your party the sun came out and it tuned out to be a beautiful, fun day. You had your first taste of cake, and while you liked it, you didn’t smash it into your face as I expected, rather picked up pieces deliberately and ate them one by one. You’re so funny!
You amaze me every day. Watching you learn new things is such a joy and I am surprised constantly when you show me the things you can do. Everything from cruising around the house (how DID you get over there?) to trying to put socks on your feet. You know that socks go on your feet! Who taught you that? You are such a sponge, absorbing the world around you.
You’re not a walking on your own yet, but I know that’s coming soon. You’re still babbling away a mile a minute (“that! that! that!” to every single thing), and your vocabulary grows by leaps and bounds every day. Of course, I think Dada and I are the only ones who know what most of your words mean, but we understand you for the most part. My favorite is when we ask, “Where’s your bum?” and you smack your bottom while saying “Diaper!” Cracks me up every time.
You are still nursing, but we are slowly working away from it in the daytime. You have started doing what I call drive-by nursing, and I’m not a fan. Basically, you toddle up to me, pull down my shirt and practically dive inside while yelling “Nuh! Nuh! Nuh!” If I’m not wearing a bra, you latch yourself on to me before I even know what’s what. We are introducing you to cow’s milk this week, and I’m hoping you will take to it and be interested in that during the day instead. We will see! I am thrilled we made it one full year of breastfeeding, though. It was a personal goal of mine and I’m glad we reached it together.
You LOVE to eat. Everything I put in front of you is fair game, except for pears and occasionally kiwis if they’re not ripe enough. Other than that, you’ll eat it all! You’ve had a little chicken, but no other meat yet. Your favorite food is bananas and you would eat it all day long if I let you. “Nana!!!” You also love cheese, zucchini and blueberries.
You adore Dada and practically do cartwheels when he comes home from work. You also call your own reflection “Dada”, which amuses me greatly. Other things you enjoy are reading, dancing to all types of music, Elmo, stacking your new wooden blocks, crawling everywhere at top speed, the dog, jumping on your mattress, going for walks in the stroller, taking a bath, brushing your hair, and standing in the window pointing at cars going by while shouting “Doh!” (window).
You have seven teeth making up the most adorable full-face smile and a laugh that is contagious. Your skin is deliciously soft and your hair is still very blond. From my estimates, you weigh about 25 pounds. Your weight has slowed down, but you continue to get longer and longer. I’m pretty sure you are going to end up being a bean stalk just like Dada.
You are such a love. You come up to us going “mmmmm”, then lean in to share big, wet kisses. You snuggle and nuzzle and love to be held.
Now, Owen, you’re not always a peach. You’re in a major whiny stage that I really hope you grow out of soon, and you like to shout “NO!” while chucking whatever is in your hand across the room. Blocks, your cup, a spoon covered in food. You have also started doing what we call the Wet Noodle, going limp and falling backwards when you don’t want to do something. Let’s move on from that, shall we? You also like to come in our bed first thing in the morning and climb all over us like a monkey, while kicking Dada and punching me in the face. You are a wiggle worm!
All in all, it’s been a really fantastic year. You made us parents, kiddo, and for that we are eternally grateful. We love you, through and through, and cannot wait to see what year two brings.
Owen and I just returned from a walk, in which we went to a local bakery to order him a birthday cake.
I am both relieved, and riddled with guilt about this.
How many of you just laughed? Rolled your eyes? I KNOW. But the guilt is real.
We’re having a fairly big party for his first birthday. Between family, friends and their children, at peak party time there will be about 35 people here. I know, he’s not going to remember it. Not one bit. I mean, he’s probably going to go take a nap before the party is even over.
But it’s really more about us than him. It’s a big milestone — our first baby turning one. And it’s a milestone for our family, too — first-time grandparents and aunties celebrating the new life that has brought them joy this year. The friends who are attending either have children around the same age who we turned to over the year for commiseration, advice, or just a laugh, or long-time friends who have watched us go from college sweethearts all the way to parents.
It’s a celebration, and we intend to celebrate hard. (We also intend to just have family parties for him in the future until maybe his 5th birthday or so.)
But back to the guilt. This is my first time throwing a big party like this and I want it to be nice. If the weather holds out (please, oh please), it will be held in our big backyard – burgers and hotdogs on the grill, a table full of salads, pastas and goodies, and kids running around playing wiffle ball and the like. (If it rains, I somehow have to squeeze 35 people into my very small home. The thought is giving me heart palpitations.) I had originally wanted to go all out with a total dog theme, but in the end decided that the party doesn’t need to look like it could be featured in a magazine, it just has to be a good time.
Once I let go of the idea that things had to be “perfect”, I relaxed and started to enjoy it more. I have some great friends who have offered to bring some dishes, so I won’t have to cook as much as I originally thought. The invitation is dog-themed and adorable, there will be dog bone cookies to go home with guests and the cake will be modeled in design after the invite.
(Personal info removed, but you get the idea. Notice the dog is Kodiak? My friend Megan listened to me ramble my idea and then created the pdf for me. She is fabulous — and for hire if you’re interested!)
The cake. The source of my guilt.
It’s a tradition on my family that a baby’s first birthday cake is a carrot cake, homemade with love by their momma. My mom made my cake, she made my sister’s cake. I planned all along to follow in her footsteps and do the same.
Except that….I don’t really like carrot cake. And more importantly, carrots tend to give Owen diaper rash and I can’t think of a worse birthday present than an itchy, sore bum. Happy birthday, kiddo. This is how much I love you.
I started looking around for another “wholesome food” baby cake, but let’s be honest, he’s hardly going to eat any of it, so other than a few bites, the whole cake will be eaten by others. So I caved.
I walked into the bakery and ordered a delicious homemade-but-not-by-me cake which will match the invitation and can be picked up ready to go on the morning of the party.
A huge sense of a relief, a huge sense of failure as a mother.
I know it’s ridiculous, I do. But a small part of me feels like I dropped the ball on this one. Even though I’m telling myself I’ve basically made every last bit of food that’s gone into his mouth over the past year and really, I can pass the baton on this one and cut myself some slack.
I’ll make him a cake next year, when he can appreciate it. When I’ll only be baking for a handful of people, rather than a caravan.
I have a feeling the Mommy Guilt will only get worse over the years. I mean, if this isn’t a First World Problem, I don’t know what is. I can’t even imagine what it’s going to feel like when the guilt creeps in over actual important issues.
But for now, I’m just going to have my guilt and eat it too.
I bet it’s delicious.