Saturday, November 3, 2012

Happy Birthday, Abby Rose!

We did it! We reached the Big Two. And I still can't believe that it's really been two years since my first baby was born.

The party was low-key and casual, but included a fun Sesame Street theme and balloons, courtesy of Nana. She made a stop at the party store, even after driving for over five hours, with Uncle James, to come spend the day with us. Tom's family is still without power up in New Jersey, so they enjoyed having the comforts of "civilization" during their brief stay, but I always fret that it's such a long journey for them to make, especially when they often end up spending so little time actually visiting.

Abby was excited, as always, to see them, however, and even cut short her 20-minute (and counting) long tantrum this afternoon to greet them with smiles and hugs.

Their arrival coincided with lunchtime, which is immediately followed by (a much needed today) nap time, so all too soon we had to whisk Abby up to the bedroom to get her beauty rest. However, we then had plenty of time to break out the party supplies and prepare the table.

It was all set and ready to go for her when we decided to bring out the presents. We elected to do it prior to the arrival of dinner, since the hour was fast approaching when Nana and Uncle James would have to leave for home. By this time, Mima, Granda, and Mei Mei had arrived to join the party.

Here she is, my big girl, anticipating the approach of the first gift.

The first thing she went for was, of course, the ribbon.

She's starting to understand the concept of unwrapping, but after an initial attempt, appeared to be having a crisis of confidence about the whole thing. She insisted on the cooperation of Uncle James throughout the process.

Of course, the trickiest part of opening presents with young children is getting them to take their eyes off the first prize to move on to the next potential one. Abby was pretty content to simply play with her first gift, and not investigate any of the others.

We did, eventually, move on, however, and Abby got a bit more involved in the unwrapping process with each consecutive gift.

But because that second gift was a book, with sound effects, no less, it was difficult to pull Abby's attention away long enough to get her interested in the pretty dress contained inside the third box. The fourth gift managed to catch her attention, though.

Pretty princess accessories! (Really, though, she was most drawn to the shoes, because- well, she loves shoes.)

She did look adorable in the tiara, though.

Of course, her favorite gift? A simple toothbrush, which Tom bought because she needs a new one, and decided on a whim to turn into a birthday present. It helped that Elmo was pictured on the box and toothpaste tube.

She spent the next forty-five minutes with it in her mouth, "brushing her teeth" and drooling all over her pretty dress. Lovely!

I even had to coax it out of her mouth when dinner was served, so that she could eat. And then she dipped it in her pasta... :/

But after dinner came cake!

This year, Abby was old enough to appreciate the candle and flame atop her special dessert.

 We weren't sure if she would understand the command when we told her to blow, but she did!

Unfortunately, I missed that shot because I took this one, just an instant before, and the Panasonic wasn't quite quick enough to recover in the very low light.

It was exciting, all the same.

I let Abby stay up a little late, so entranced was she in playing with her new pink bus. Even several mentions of Madeline did not get her attention until close to 9:00 pm, when she finally decided to head upstairs.

She insisted that Mima read the stories to her and was very antsy when I finally put her in the crib, whining and fussing somewhat uncharacteristically for bedtime. In an effort to appease her, I sang her one last chorus of Happy Birthday. She brightened right away, and mumbled through her binky, "Blow out the candle on the cake!"

"Yes!" I said. "You blew out the candle on your cake. Now go to sleep, my big girl. My two-year-old."  I still can't believe it... And I stroked her hair, fighting back tears as I turned to go.

I could hear her quietly say, as I shut the door behind me, "The number on the cake was two!"

Two whole years. Two crazy, beautiful years. And they passed all too quickly.