One of my favorite things is watching a child’s excitement over the small things, like a few balloons and streamers that you discover when you get up on your birthday morning. I treasure it so much that I consciously try to limit the huge exciting fun type things (like going to the zoo, an amusement park, Disneyland) so that the small things still seem really exciting. I like being able to just enjoy the simple things in life, like a birthday at home with lavender balloons and streamers.
Look at how excited she was all day to open the few small little birthday presents that were there on the counter when she woke up. I think anticipation is half the fun, so I told her she had to wait until at least after dinner, but she could choose if she wanted to do cake first or presents first. She chose presents.
For Elodie, I think being in charge of things on her birthday is a huge part of the fun. Around here, you get to pick what we eat for every meal on your birthday. (With Mom guiding those choices towards reasonable ones.) Chocolate chip waffles and smoothies for breakfast, mac ‘n’ cheese with mixed vegetables and ice cream for lunch, and tater tot casserole (which I think I’ve made one other time in my life, per Aaron’s birthday request) and red peppers for dinner. (Well, most of us had salad with red peppers and lots of other veggies in it, but Elodie just wanted the red peppers with ranch. All right, you’re the queen. For today.)
Here’s a sure sign that she’s growing up—she picked her birthday cake based on taste rather than looks for the first time. Instead of a butterfly cake or a princess cake or a castle cake, she chose a berry cheesecake. Yum! Made sense to me—last year she was super excited about her giant castle cake, but ate only one bite of it on her birthday because she’s not really that into cake and there was ice cream competing with it so the choice was clear. (I did have to inform her this year that ice cream doesn’t go with cheesecake, which is why we had to squeeze the ice cream in after lunch instead of with the “cake.”) The girl loves cheesecake and enjoyed every bite of her first and second piece. Such mature taste, don’t you think?
Since she is getting so grown up, for the first time in her life, I let her invite a bunch of girls over for a friend party the Saturday after her birthday. We hosted a fancy “tea” party with all the girls in their favorite party dresses. Elodie was so excited to be the hostess and serve the food and the hot cocoa. Like I said, she kinda likes being in charge. She even practiced pouring hot water from the teapot so she’d be ready for the big day. She chose the menu of mini-pizzas, olives, red peppers, pineapple, and oranges, followed by hot cocoa or pink lemonade with lemon bars, sugar cookies, and mini cupcakes. I had to convince her that we didn’t need to have cheesecake both days.
I haven’t done much in the way of friend parties so I’m learning as I go (in Colorado, we had aunts and uncles and cousins and grandparents to make it plenty of fun). I made the mistake of inviting whoever Elodie wanted, figuring that people are busy and maybe half would come. Somewhere I heard the wise advice of having no more than one friend for every year old the kid is. I thought 5 girls would be a lovely-sized group. But everyone we invited was able to come, so we had 10 girls and not all of them would even fit around our table! I felt bad for the ones exiled to the stools at the counter! It may have been a bit livelier than I had anticipated, and my giant belly and I may have been a bit exhausted by the end of that day, but I think fun was had by all, especially by the birthday girl herself. I just adore my helpful, happy, smart, funny, graceful, girly, tough little five-year-old! I’m going to miss her so much when I send her off to kindergarten in the fall!
But I can’t just keep my little Rapunzel locked up in her tower forever, so off she’ll go and I’ll just have a young toddler and little baby like I did 5 years ago. Elodie was SO excited when she got this present in a package in the mail; she just loves Tangled. Far cooler than any of the simple presents her parents got her. (One of which was a hand-me-down dress that was in great condition and I saved for a couple years while she grew into it, and the other ones things that I had ordered online for Christmas but they didn’t get here in time. Shhhhh.)