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Slowly Recovering

Maddie’s second birthday is over and
done, and has left a field of wrapping paper and AA battery-laden
debris in its wake.

I have to tell you, I really enjoyed
Madeleine’s first birthday, but it didn’t even compare
to her Birthday Weekend Extravaganza that we just witnessed.

For one thing, Maddie had her first party
– a few friends gathering with her at her Favorite Place, the
zoo. After spending over a week excitedly talking about all she
would do and show her friends, Maddie couldn’t believe the
big day had finally arrived and she was actually going! She smiled
shyly at her friends at first, who stood patiently around waiting
for her to decide where she wanted to go. But Maddie finally got in
the swing of things and there was no holding her back.

A few camels, leopards, red pandas, polar bears, grizzly bears, and
tigers later, we ended up at the place where all zoo roads lead for
Maddie – the carousel. Because it was her birthday we rode
two times in a row, though that didn’t ease the eventual
parting one whit. But a snack of Goldfish and pretzels later and
she was re-fortified and ready to hit the Butterfly garden.

Have you ever been to one? A tent filled with beautiful flowers and
all types of butterflies, landing on every surface including your
hats and arms! Maddie is always entranced and has to be constantly
reminded that she’s not allowed to touch.

We ended up with a fun picnic in the outdoor dining area, which
included all the kids running manically around the table while
Isaiah pretended to be a tiger, roaring and chasing them. And of
course no party’s complete without some cake, and Maddie
inhaled an apple cupcake in about 2 seconds, the amount of sugar
carefully calculated to keep her awake for the ride home but to
allow her to crash in time for her nap. Which she did.

The best part of the day for mommy? Well, since I wore Cora in the
Bjorn the whole time (who took the whole thing in stride, sleeping
through most of it), my favorite part was the two hour nap I got
thanks to Maddie being out and Nana agreeing to hold Cora for two
hours (the sacrifice, I know). But truthfully, I loved the whole
thing – watching her have so much fun was worth all the
planning and lists and yes, even the getting up early on very
little sleep.

And lest you think that was all, that wasn’t even
Maddie’s real birthday! She spent her actual birthday in a
daze of happiness, being sung to and congratulated at every turn:
in church, in the nursery, and throughout the day at home. She
burst into tears at naptime, afraid her birthday would be over when
she woke up. “More birthday, please!” she cried. We
assured her there was more to come.

When Maddie awoke, all her presents were out on the table and she
could scarcely believe her eyes. At first shy about opening
anything, she soon got the hang of things and was ripping away like
a pro. The hardest part was keeping her on track; she’d open
a gift and immediately want to play with it extensively.

After gifts came dinner – mac and cheese for my baby’s
big day. Then, of course, came cake. And if you think it’s a
big deal for most people, it was a REALLY big deal for Maddie since
it was her first real cake ever. See, we’ve kept her away
from sugar for two years and made substitutions, like healthy apple
cupcakes. But for her second birthday I made her a banana cake with
white chocolate cream cheese frosting, and she couldn’t wait.
She helped me frost the cake herself the night before, and spent
all day Sunday saying, “Cake now please!” By the time
it came out I was afraid it wouldn’t live up to the hype, but
apparently it did.

So the weekend was full of firsts for Maddie – first party
and first cake. For me, I loved seeing her absolutely glow under
the attention, and was so proud of how well she behaved (most of
the time). Now that the weekend’s over she’s deep into
road-testing her new toys, so expect a product review soon. Our
house looks like the storage room of a Toys R Us.

Oh well.


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