Posted by: mindyourknitting | July 31, 2009

Birthdaypalooza (Abigail turns 1)

I was going to write a post about how I feel about Abigail turning a year old, but I started to think that my posts are getting a bit schmaltzy, and how they’re all about my feelings and heavy on the emotion.  So instead I’ll tell you about my birthday, and Abigail’s birthday, and Erik’s upcoming birthday, and what we have done/are going to do to celebrate each.  And probably somewhere in there I’ll have to say something about my sweet little baby turning into a (gasp) toddler, but I’ll try not to be overly-dramatic about it.  Probably.

Summer is birthday season in the MindYourKnitting household since the three of us all have birthdays that fall in a five week span during July and August.  We were in Nova Scotia for my birthday, so we did the official celebration when we got back.  Unofficially, before we left on the trip I got my birthday present from my husband, and I love that Nikon D60 so much I’m not sure whether to tongue kiss him or the camera.  We had cake with some family and went out for a fish & chips dinner in Nova Scotia to mark my 34th, but the real celebration took place the Saturday after we got back from our vacation.  I got to spend the day at the spa (facial!  pedicure!  haircut!  complimentary wine!) and then had a kid-free, adult-conversation-only dinner at Play Food & Wine in the Byward Market with several friends.  This tapas-style restaurant was great – the food was delicious, and the cocktails were tasty.  I should know, I had at least five.  You know that silence that always falls at a table in a restaurant when the main courses are delivered and everyone tucks into their food?  Well the sharing plate menu was perfect for keeping the conversation rolling during dinner as people checked out what everyone else ordered and passed plates around.  The whole day was lovely and I enjoyed every minute of it.

Erik turns 35 later in August but I’ve already given him his birthday gift: AC/DC tickets.  And because I find AC/DC obnoxious but he loves them, he’s getting a wife-free night out courtesy of me.  That’s right, best wife ever.  When his actual birthday rolls around I’m sure we’ll be celebrating with a night out and if the weather cooperates (which is it unlikely to) he might even get to finally go golfing (to whoever put the hex on Erik’s weather/golfing mojo, please remove it ok?  He’s suffered enough).  Because we all deserve to have special things happen for our birthdays, right?

But since my birthday and Erik’s clearly take second (and third) place to Abigail’s, here’s info about the main event.  We celebrated Abigail’s First Birthday in style with not one, but two parties.  One for family and one for friends (erm, boyfriends actually – does someone have a little girl she could play with?  …seriously), and both were wonderful.  Anyone who’s seen one of my Christmas trees knows I like to do holidays up big, and this was no exception.  I know she won’t remember her first birthday but she’ll see pictures.  I want her to know that we always cared enough to make a big deal of milestones and special events in her life, that they not only matter to her but they matter to us.  So for both parties we did it right with balloons, streamers, signs, cake, ice cream, presents, loot bags and the people who care most about her. 

 

I was so excited to put balloons outside - Birthday Party HERE!

I was so excited to put balloons outside - Birthday Party HERE!

Decorations - can you guess the theme?

Decorations - can you guess the theme?

It was this, Disney Princesses, or racecars, ok?

It was this, Disney Princesses, or racecars, ok?

Balloons by Daddy

Balloons by Daddy

I made the cake, and after a buttercream icing mishap I was pretty happy with the result:

Mama made the cake

Mama made the cake

The family party was an outdoor bbq on the day of her actual birthday, and thankfully the weather, for once, cooperated so we could sit in the backyard.  Abigail got to spend some time with family she doesn’t see that often, many of whom travelled more than an hour to be there.  She also super-bonded with her (second?) cousin Hannah.  It was very cute how Hannah kept Abigail occupied for much of the afternoon and was very attentive to her.  She doesn’t know it yet, but this has doomed her to years of babysitting once she’s old enough.  Don’t you love the party dresses?

Abigail and Hannah (aka future babysitter)

Abigail and Hannah (aka future babysitter)

 Most importantly, Abigail had her first chocolate cake experience:

So this is chocolate cake...hmm....

So this is chocolate cake...hmm....

And because she’s her mother’s daughter, she liked it.  She even swiped a piece from her Gramma’s plate, when Gramma was foolish enough to get within swiping range.

Is there more of this cake stuff?

Is there more of this cake stuff?

She got many presents and generally got spoiled.  Then we did it all over again a few days later, when friends of ours and their families joined us for some snacks and cake.  We got a cake from the grocery store bakery this time because I wouldn’t commit to making two cakes in a week because I’m not insane, and it was surprisingly fantastic.

Strawberry Shortcake (it's actually chocolate)

Strawberry Shortcake (it's actually chocolate)

 Abgail had the hang of the whole cake thing by now, with extraordinarily messy results.  She dug in without any help from us whatsoever:

Don't set the baby on fire

Don't set the baby on fire

She really hated that hat

She really hated that hat

I believe this is called an "After" picture.

I believe this is called an "After" picture.

Her proficiency in cake eating necessitated a wardrobe change, then we opened presents.

Paper and rbbon and boxes?  Just what I wanted!
Paper and ribbon and boxes? Just what I wanted!

 

(Schmaltz alert, feel free to skip the rest) 

I was looking at the pictures from this day I realized that I’ve known some of the people who came to her party for fifteen to twenty years, and the same can be said for Erik.  It’s easy to take the caring of family as a given, but friends are kind of a different thing.  They don’t have to care about my child, but they do.  Some of our closest friends were there, old and new, and it meant so much to us.  There is one picture of a friend of mine from high school holding my baby, and another picture of our babies sitting together on the floor.  This is someone I’ve known for almost two decades.  My closest friend was there with her second baby – soon to be my godson.  Some have known Erik or I since we were teenagers, and it’s amazing to me that we are still friends, sharing important events in each other’s lives.  I hope that Abigail has the good fortune to have friendships this close and this long-lasting.

 So my baby turned one year old on July 21st.  And now my husband likes to torment me with the fact (well, fact according to him) that Abigail is no longer an infant, no longer a baby…and is now a (drumroll please) TODDLER!  Over the past year I’ve heard many family members say things like “I can’t wait until she can…crawl/walk/talk/is potty trained, etc.”  But truly, I could and can wait.  I’m enjoying watching her grow and change, but I’m in no hurry for her to leave all babyish things behind.  And I keep thinking that everyone should enjoy who she is right now because it changes so fast.  It took her a while to crawl, but it happened eventually.  She’ll walk when she’s ready, and talk when she’s ready.  Admittedly I would like her to get some teeth, but whatever. 

As much as I’m embracing who Abigail is becoming, and in fact I couldn’t love her little personality and face and attitude more, part of me misses the days when I could pop her into her baby sling and she would snuggle against my chest and sleep. Of course there’s some creative editing going on with my memories, since I seem to be glossing over the preemie stuff and the colic and ohmigod the colicy preemie screaming…but I suppose that editing is what allows people to consider having more than one child.  Anyway, most days it would involve sedation to get her to cuddle and fall asleep with me, but every now and then, before she goes to bed or when she’s ready for a nap, or maybe when she’s woken too early from a nap or is upset in the middle of the night, she’ll nestle herself into the the curve of my neck or bundle herself and her favorite blanket in my arms, and I’m right back to where I was when we first brought her home.  She needs me.  She wants me, and only me.  And she’s still my baby, always will be.

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