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Category Archives: Birthdays

Birthday Bash

cake

She ate every bit of her cupcake

Yesterday was the Bean’s postponed birthday party.  We had to push the party back because we were all sick on the weekend of her birthday.  I was worried that people wouldn’t come because of the change of date.  As the week wore on, more and more people were changing their RSVPs to ‘No’ or ‘Maybe’.  We also had a couple of changes from ‘No’ to ‘Yes’, but they were far outnumbered by the former.  I was disappointed, but not really all that surprised.  These things happen. 

Other things happen too, like a power outage in the neighbourhood that shut off the electronic entry system for the community room where we were holding the party an hour before the party was to start.  I managed to get into the building because a woman who was working out in the gym heard me knocking on the window.  A bunch of time was wasted figuring out what to do, which meant I wasn’t actually properly set up for the party at 3pm.  Luckily, no one was on time. 

By the time the party started we were expecting 10 guests (6 parents and 4 kids).  An hour and a half into the two hour party, only two families had arrived and the rental of our community room was feeling a little ridiculous.  But then the other two families showed up and the party really got started.  Thank goodness there was no one scheduled to use the room after us because we partied well past the 5pm end of our rental time.  The kids and dads played hard, and the moms got a chance to chat.  It turned out four kids at a two-year-old’s birthday party is just about perfect.  They all had room to run around, and they all got along really well. 

Ducky sandwiches

Ducky sandwiches

I was pretty proud of my rubber duck/bath time theme.  There were duck-shaped sandwiches and white chocolate ducks on top of blue cream cheese frosted lemon cupcakes.  There was a “bathtub” (baby pool) ball pit with white balloons representing bubble bath.  A tent held all of the Beans bath toys, including her good sized collection of rubber duckies.  I also set up a station with a bunch of percussion instruments for the kids to play with, since music is one of the Bean’s other favourite things.  All three stations got used a lot, and the kids really had a great time.  One mom even said her daughter hadn’t had that much fun with a group of kids in a long time.  Score one for Mommy!

ball pit

The bathtub with balloon bubble bath

The goodie bags each had a Birthday Party rubber ducky, two Easter eggs filled with homemade playdough (thanks Mom), and an animal-shaped cookie cutter – for use with the playdough or for making fun-shaped sandwiches. 

I love planning parties.  And I managed to do this one without spending a ton of money.  Some of the plans didn’t work out.  I wanted to make a duck-shaped cake and have more ducky decorations.  But the cake disintegrated when I took it out of the pan, and the helium balloons that we decorated with were highly popular with the kiddies.  I don’t think anyone missed out, except maybe the people who couldn’t come. 

I had a lot of fun, and I know the Bean did too, and that’s what really counts, right?

Two Years Old Already!

The Bean is 2 years old now.  It’s odd to think of her as two – she’s still such a baby in so many ways.  She scoots around on her bum, but doesn’t crawl or walk.  She’s only just starting to learn how to feed herself with a spoon.  She doesn’t speak more than one or two words at a time and only has about 30 words/signs to choose from, most of which she still doesn’t use consistently.  When we hang out with other kids her age I feel like we’re out of place – we’d fit better with a group of one-year-olds…except that the Bean is right on track socially, and definitely has ideas and opinions that outstrip that of a one-year-old.  It’s a weird conglomeration of developmental stages that can be confusing to deal with.  In terms of standing and walking, her 7.5 month-old cousin is way ahead of her.  And yet when they play together, it’s obvious that she’s older and wiser, and more in control of her body in general. 

We recently had the Bean’s semi-annual review with her therapy providers.  They were able to put a developmental age to each of the categories that they test: gross motor, fine motor, receptive language, expressive language, and visual reception.  In general, even though she’s about the size of a one-year-old, she’s tracking at about 18 months for most things – except gross motor, of course, since she doesn’t even pull up to standing on her own yet. 

Some might find it painful or silly or uncomfortable to put an age to her achievements, since her journey is her journey, not to be compared to anyone else’s.  But for me, it helps to know what approximate age to think of her as in my mind.  It helps me be less frustrated when we’re doing things that her peers have long left behind.  It helps me to decide which toys will be appropriate for her abilities, and which skills we might want to work on next.  It’s also encouraging for me to see that in the past 6 months, she has improved by 6 months worth.  At 18 months, she was assessed at a 12-month developmental age.   She’s not lagging further behind, but is keeping up with the tasks we set before her.   

Sometimes I wonder if maybe the Bean has lived a few lives before this one.   At times she gets so serious and looks straight into my face with such wisdom in her eyes, and it feels like she’s the one teaching me, not the other way around.  (Actually, she does teach me things every day.)  The tenderness she uses to express her love for someone is so sweet and endearing, and full of something deeper than I’d expect from a 2-year-old.  She’s an old soul, and I think that will serve her well as she continues to be challenged by the consequences of her extra genetic material.

 I’m reading a book right now called “Choosing to Smile”, in which three cancer survivors talk about their journeys.  One of the ladies, Glenda, gives birth to her second son after losing her leg, hip and part of her pelvis to cancer.  One day, her 4-year-old son says to her, “Do you know why I chose you to be my mommy?”  When she encourages him to continue, he tells her that when he was in heaven, before he was born, he knew that she would need him to push her in the wheelchair when he grew up, and that he had wanted to be there to help her.   The story brought up an interesting idea.  Maybe children choose their parents.  Maybe the Bean chose me to be her mommy because she knew I had things I needed to learn from the challenge of raising a child with special needs.  And maybe she knew that I would love her unconditionally, no matter how hard it was to learn those lessons.  Certainly God knew those things. 

Okay, now I’m crying, so I’ll stop there for today. 

Reasons to Celebrate

  • Yesterday, the Bean said “wawa” for the first time referring to needing a drink of water.  She also used the sign right afterward, which is why I realized that she had actually meant what she said.
  • Today, she put 4/5 of her blocks into the shape sorter without my help.  I just showed her which hole to put it in.  The one she couldn’t quite figure out?  The triangle.