Monday, October 26, 2009

Tell Her This

My favorite memory of Hadley's first birthday happened to have nothing to do with anything that I planned for that day. For some reason or another, Hadley wasn't keen on taking naps that day, and I was pretty flustered about that (as many might know, I don't do well AT ALL when the routine falls apart). After about what felt like 40 years of hearing her scream in her crib, I decided I'd take her and get out of the house for a bit. So we went to the Washingtonian Center.

I got a coffee at Barnes and Noble, and strolled Hadley around the store for a bit. It was a nice day, so I walked her around the little lake (pond? I don't know what it is.), and after a bit realized she was sound asleep. I found a bench, sat down, and grabbed a book out of the diaper bag. A restaurant nearby had its music coming out from speakers outside and the song "Tell Her This" by Del Amitri was playing. It's a sweet song, and listening to it brought me back to the days when I had it on just about every cassette tape I'd ever dubbed then titled "My Driving Mix." (Yes, I did just write "cassette tape" and "dubbed.") The lyrics can't completely be turned into a mother's song for her child, but there are a lot of words in the song that are applicable for how I feel about Hadley. It was a nice moment to sit there, listen to the song, and watch Hadley sleep.

I kept thinking about that moment this weekend because a lot of what I had planned for Hadley's third birthday didn't work out. Both of the girls were sick, so we cancelled the birthday party. It rained all day on Saturday, so we couldn't go to the parks we had planned to go to. But there were a lot of sweet things that did happen, and I'm not sure I would've recognized them if I hadn't recalled Hadley's first birthday two years ago.

Hadley woke up coughing terribly early Friday morning. I went into her room to get her and she was a little upset and confused. She sat on my lap in the living room for a bit, and said, "Mommy, I can't go back to sleep because I'm coughing." I told her that was OK. I said, "I'm glad you're up because today is your birthday!" Hadley, who has been working and working to hold up three fingers for some time now, showed me her hand of three and said, "I turned three?"

"Yea! You are three years old today!" I confirmed.

"Uno, dos, tres?" she asked.

"Yes!" I exclaimed. "Do you want your first present?"

Hadley and I went to the kitchen and I gave her a bowl of Apple Jacks cereal and a juice box. I must say, I will miss the days when juice boxes and fun cereal are considered presents. Anyway, she and I sat on the kitchen floor in front of the dishwasher and lined up the alphabet magnets in order while she ate her breakfast.

Later that morning, the girls and I went to the park and then out to lunch. And Jesse came home early Friday so we could have a birthday party. I made macaroni and cheese (and I ate it, too!), broccoli, and blueberries. All of Hadley's favorites. And for dessert I made a chocolate cake with pink frosting at the request of Hadley. (Baking the cake was a story in and of itself, but there isn't time to write about it here. I'll just say that I made frosting for cookies instead of frosting for cakes, and wouldn't you know it, it doesn't frost the same.)

And of course there were presents.

Hadley doesn't quite understand that it's OK to rip the paper off of the present. Opening presents with her is like trying to perform open heart surgery. Everything has to be done a certain way.

A piggy bank from Grandma and Grandpa Lewis:
Hadley loves Mickey Mouse, or Goofy, to be more accurate. Have I written about Hadley's love for Goofy yet? I can't remember if I have. Her reaction to seeing or talking about Goofy is something I have never seen with Elmo, or Diego. At first I was a little disappointed in her choice of men because, Goofy? Seriously? I understand losing interest in Elmo but what about Grover? And at least Diego saves animals. But then I started thinking about the cartoons I watched and I think I had a little crush on Ichabod Crane. He's sort of like Goofy. Just a little darker.

Later that weekend, Geoff and Kellee came to celebrate, and we were able to hit a couple of parks which is Hadley's favorite thing to do.

On Sunday morning, I told Hadley that I happened to be at the "little park" (the park in our complex) and found a letter to her from Goofy. We read it together and she learned that he was on his way to wish her a Happy 3rd Birthday, but got distracted at the park (it's just so Goofy, isn't it?). As he was sliding down the slide, all the presents he brought for her fell out of his pockets. He asked Hadley if she would go and find them at the park. So that's what we did.

Hurray Goofy.

We were able to make it to Hadley's favorite park, Adventure Park. This park is really cool, but I can't take both the girls there because someone needs to climb all the things Hadley climbs, and I can't do that while leaving Harper in the stroller. So it's a real treat to be able to go with other adults. Let me rephrase that. It's a real treat to go with adults who are willing to climb after my daughter while I sit on a bench.

On the swings with Uncle Geoff.

Going down the slide with Geoff and Kellee. Look at that smile. Pure bliss, I tell you.
"Driving" with Geoff.
I LOVE this picture:
Typing this up, and looking at the pictures I can tell Hadley had a good time over the weekend. But I felt bad that the plans I made didn't work out, plus I was totally sleep deprived on Sunday because we had been up with Harper for a couple of hours. It is easy for me to focus on my precious plans and not having enough sleep, but if I do that too much I miss out on enjoying the good things like eating breakfast on the floor with your 3 year old daughter while playing with alphabet magnets. Or watching her face as she opens presents. Or hearing her say, "I LOVE that cake, Mama! Thank you!" Or this:

I can't really explain why it was a special moment that Harper's seat was turned around, but for me it was a big deal, so I needed to take a picture of it. Once again proving that no matter what I think might happen with the day, there are things my girls do that bring joy and excitement to my days that I could never plan for.

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