This has been a huge month of change for Eli. And I honestly just want to take a minute to brag about him. So, I’m going to unapologetically do that.
The night before our beach trip, we told Eli that he was a big boy, pointed out all the cool things he could do, and told him that it was going to be the last night he had pups (pacifiers). He acted like he thought we were kidding, but I knew he knew we were serious. In the morning, without complaint, he helped us find all his pups, put them in a bag, and then threw them away. And that was it.
It has been several weeks now and he has not asked for a pup even once. He hasn’t cried at naps or bedtime. And if you mention that he’s a big boy, he will excitedly say, “and I don’t need pups anymore!” I mean, this kid. I had expected this to be such a challenge. I anticipated sleepless nights and nap dropping, but that couldn’t have been farther from the experience we’ve had.
I should be less surprised because this is totally how Eli is. When he’s ready for something, he’s ready. He transitioned to the floor bed like a champ after refusing a crib for months. He gave up bottles with no issue one day and never looked back. And now this, which I expected would be awful, was once again easy. And let’s be clear, I take zero credit for this. This is not a parenting success, this is incredible luck. I have a fabulous, wonderful kid who I adore and he is just easy.
After we got back from the beach, we had another major change: a new preschool.
Eli’s old preschool was fine, but it was just fine. From about December on, I began to feel like it wasn’t the best fit for Eli. It seemed like he wasn’t learning anything new (and yes, he’s 3, it’s not like I expected a lot) and in general, he seemed to be getting lost. He’s not a particularly loud kid, and he is well behaved in general, so I think he just wasn’t standing out. There were days where I’d come to pick him up and he’d have peed his pants and no one noticed. It just felt like he’d outgrown that and needed something better.
The icing on the need to change cake was when we moved. I was driving 15 minutes past my work to drop Eli off, then circling back to drop Will off, then going to work. We were leaving home by 7:20 for me to get to work at 9. It was insane. The same thing was happening in the afternoons and with 3 hours a day in the car, we were all struggling by the evenings.
So the Monday after vacation, Eli started at a new school. We had visited twice before the transition and he was very excited. The school has a fabulous playground (that is shaded!), and they have a turtle and a fish, so Eli was sold. I had heard wonderful things about the school from friends and it happens to be the religion we are raising Eli in, which is a wonderful bonus since we’re not particularly religiously active right now (the services and Will’s bedtime clash horribly). His teacher for this school year has a degree in psychology and people have told for months that she is just all kinds of wonderful. Despite all that, I was apprehensive about his first day, especially since there was no way we could pick him up until about 5:45 pm. I feared he’d struggle, and that having such a long first day would make him not want to return.
To offset the late afternoon, my husband did a somewhat late drop off around 9am (normal drop off for Eli will be 7:30 on the days I work). He said that Eli ran onto the playground to play without a second of hesitation. And then when my husband left, Eli gave him a hug and told him bye and that was it. When I picked him up, a parent stopped me in the parking lot to let me know that they’ve never seen a child transition to school as well as he did. His teacher and the director echoed the same thing. He had an incredible first day.
First week, really. Wednesday and Friday were equally fabulous. The second Monday drop off was a little tougher, but only because I wouldn’t let him bring all his toys to show his teacher.
He’s just having a great, great experience. And his teacher is all she was talked up to be. She emailed my husband last week to wish him luck on his first day of work (that happened, by the way, more on it soon) and she’s adjusting Eli’s class’s schedule for tomorrow so he can participate in a class picnic before going to have a tooth pulled (also, more on that when I’m not having panic attacks about it) without us asking her to do that at all. I just…we are so, so lucky.
I feel like it’s so easy to whine when he’s having bad days (he’s 3, they are…not uncommon), but sometimes I forget to mention just how fabulously easy and wonderful he is. He’s been through a lot of changes lately, and tomorrow is the tooth pull, so the changes aren’t over yet, but I just couldn’t be happier with how well he has handled it all. I hope he always knows how lucky we feel to have him, just as he is, because he is amazing.
Poor second baby. I made it over 2 years with Eli before we forgot to take a lion picture and just 11 months with Will. In our defense, last night was not a particularly pleasant night between an overtired preschooler having a meltdown and an overtired infant wanting to go to bed at 7, we just completely forgot. I’m sorry Will, but you woke up bright and early at 6am, so really these pictures are only 6 hours late. That’s pretty darn close.
Today you are 11 months old. This has been a long month, but I cannot believe that you’re 1 month from being one year old. That seems impossible. Your first year has flown by and I find myself grasping at anything I can to slow down this last month.
You are simply the most pleasant baby. I mean, you have your preferences and don’t love when you can’t see mom or dad, but when you’re home and at play, you’re just so incredibly happy. I have so many pictures of you smiling because you’re just always grinning about something.
You’ve also become pretty chatty this month. You’re constantly babbling, but you also have two actual words, both of which I was totally surprised by. You say “hiiiiii!” and “uh oh” and you say them unprompted and at appropriate times. It catches me off guard every time because you’re so little, but there’s no doubt at all. You have your first two words already, you little smarty pants.
You have grown tremendously this month. You no longer do your worm crawl, you crawl on hands and knees and you crawl really, really quickly. There are times where I get you out of something you’re not supposed to be in and before I have a chance to turn around, you’re back. I can always hear the smack smack smack smack of your little hands on the hardwood, constantly following behind me. You have developed a serious love for opening and closing cupboards, especially if you can also remove a bunch of items from them first and if you can slam them loudly. Basically, you have a true gift for waking your big brother up in the mornings and from naps.
Speaking of sleep, it’s…not great. You are one stubborn little dude. You sleep all night in your bed (yay!) and I’ve even more or less gotten you sleeping until 7am, which is really just fabulous. But you’re getting up a minimum of 3 times a night and it’s exhausting. We’re going to gradually start night weaning because you’ve (FINALLY) gained some weight, but I know that this will be an uphill battle. I have two minds about it because while I hate getting up at night, those times are also some of the sweetest. As soon as you finish nursing you climb up me so that you can rest your head on my left shoulder. And you let out these sweet little sighs and oh, it’s just the best place to be. But, I think we’re going to have to find another time of day to make that happen.
Also speaking of sleep, we moved you to the floor bed this month. It hasn’t been the sleep panacea that it was for your brother, but I think you like it better than the pack n play. It wasn’t until we switched you to the floor bed that you started waking up from naps without crying. Sometimes now I’ll catch you on the monitor sitting up and playing with your Corduroy quietly before you make any noise. (Sometimes I find you face down in a basket I removed as soon as this picture was taken…)
You’ve developed such a fun personality this month. You play independently really well and gravitate towards different toys than I would expect. You are currently very into carrying things and your favorite items are these small cardboard dominos that actually belong to your brother. They are probably a choking hazard, but it hasn’t yet occurred to you to chew on them, you just carry them everywhere. You also love to remove all the wipes from the container and then chew on all of them one at a time. It’s an expensive game you play, William Louis.
Your likes this month include: Mom, Dad, Eli, Aunt Claire, Jacques Imo, your Corduroy, toy cars, slamming cabinets, yogurt, nursing, snuggling, pups, baths and water of any sort.
Your dislikes this month include: diaper changes (the humanity!), naps, Zantac, being hungry, when your brother steals toys from you, even when they’re not yours.
This month we went to the beach for a week. You won’t remember this particular trip, but the beach we went to is my favorite place on earth and I can’t wait for you to grow to love it like the rest of us do. You really did enjoy the beach and the ocean, but more than anything, I think you enjoyed the time with your family, which is really what it was about. Having those 7 days (and the 2 weekend days after) to be with you and your brother was such a gift. On Monday I was feeling not quite myself and I couldn’t really figure out what it was and finally I realized- I missed you. I always miss you at work, but having had so much time together and then having to be apart again really amped that up. I couldn’t wait to get you from daycare.
I really didn’t expect to be as emotional about you growing up as I am. You’re not my first baby and it’s not like I didn’t know this day would come, but you’re very different from your brother and I’ve suddenly gone from excited for you to grow, to wanting very badly to get as much baby time with you as possible. I think you’re going to be such a fun (and busy, so busy) toddler, but I’m not ready for you to walk, I’m not ready for your infancy to end.
You bring such a tremendous amount of light into my life. I can’t believe you’ll be 1 in a month, but I do know that this has been among the best years of my life and it is in large part because of your presence in it. We love you more than words can ever express.
Happy 11 months my sweet boy. We love you so much and can’t wait to see what next month brings.
For several years, I participated in a bathing suit confidence week for a (now) mostly defunct website. This involved taking a picture of myself in a bathing suit I had picked out and posting it on the internet for all to see and comment on. I did it because I loved the idea of encouraging women of all shapes and sizes to put on their bathing suits and enjoy the summer.
And while it’s never easy to put yourself out there for people to judge you, it was really not hard for me to take a picture of myself, at 130 pounds, in a bathing suit. I mean, I could’ve been in better shape, but my body fit into conventional standards of health and at a size 6 or 8, I was happy with how I looked. It wasn’t even really that hard to do it the year I took the picture 4 days postpartum with Eli. I mean, it was hard to stop crying my face off long enough to put on a bathing suit, but I wasn’t terribly self conscious. I had just had a baby, so I had an “excuse” for the state of my body. (Note: I don’t feel that anyone needs an excuse, that was just my frame of mind at the time.)
Last summer I had my huge pregnant belly to hide behind, so once again, bathing suit confidence was not an issue. The year between is kind of a blur, so this year was the first year in a long time that I’ve really had to worry about being around others in a bathing suit.
We spent all of last week at the beach with my family. We had bathing suits on very nearly every day and frankly, it’s not as easy as it used to be. I’m 35 pounds heavier than I want to be, my children are old enough that I can’t blame my weight on them. And I shouldn’t. My body is a product of how I’ve treated it. I eat crappy food, and too much of it at that, and I don’t exercise. But, hating my body isn’t something I can do right now.
This year, for the first time ever, I let family take candid bathing suit pictures of me without worrying about the outcome. I didn’t turn my body to be smaller, I didn’t suck it in. I just continued playing with my kids because quite frankly, I refuse to waste a single moment worrying about what my body looks like, when I could use that moment to be present with my family. I want the pictures to show how much fun Eli and I were having in the ocean more than I want to shave an inch off my thighs.
Do I want my butt to be smaller? Yes. Would I like to lose 35 pounds? Yes, and I am working on it. Do I want to model healthy eating for my kids? More than anything and I don’t want to bury that in this post, because it is important. Eating better and exercising is a priority for us right now because we want Eli (and eventually Will) to pick up those habits as well.
But, at the same time, I don’t want my child to remember that his mom was too worried about what she looked like to get in the ocean with him. I never want my kids to see or hear my insecurities. I want them to see me work to eat healthily and exercise because it’s good for me and because that’s important for my health. But mostly, I want him to remember is that I was present with him. Active. In a bathing suit. In the ocean.
To me, that is true bathing suit confidence.
It is the ability to say that even though your body may not be what you want it to be, you are still going to put on a bathing suit, stop caring about what anyone else thinks and have a fantastic time. I don’t have any pictures (yet) to post, but I hope that when I do, you too won’t see that my thighs are bigger than they’ve ever been, or that my belly is soft and squishy, but that you will see that I had a really, really great time with my kids. In a bathing suit.
This was an exciting week.
On Tuesday, my husband finished his very last day of his fellowship. It was a tough year, but he made it, he graduated with high praise and is now on real, actual vacation for the first time in a long time. He has no work waiting, no patients he might get called on. He’s off until the 16th, at which point he begins his career.
I’ve been with my husband for almost 11 years now. He has been working towards this for 10 of those years and it’s finally here. He has put in countless days, nights, weekends, holidays for this. He has given up time with me, time with our boys. He has worked spectacularly hard to become a more patient coworker, a better communicator and ultimately a very, very good physician. He barely resembles the man who started medical school, or the man who began residency. He is well liked by his coworkers and despite a few hiccups early in his residency, the hospital he was trained at all but begged him to come back. And so that’s where he’ll be returning to.
And for the first time in years, he’s excited about work. He’s finally where he’s dreamed of being. It’s amazing. I’ve seen his mood elevate almost visibly since Tuesday. It’s really good to have him back.
I seriously could not be more proud of him. This has been a very, very long journey, and not an easy one, but he persevered and succeeded.
In addition to that major change, today was also Eli’s last day at his current preschool. We were largely very happy there (with a few mild complaints), but since we moved, my commute has been horrendous. I’ve driven 45 minutes to Eli’s preschool, which is 15 minutes past my work, then looped back to Will’s daycare, then went even further backwards to my work. And in the afternoon, I’ve done the same. It results in roughly 3 hours a day in the car and it sucks.
The new preschool is literally 2 minutes from our house. It happens to be a Jewish preschool, which is something we’re really excited about, but it’s also a wonderful environment. The director and teachers have been kind and compassionate every time we’ve visited and Eli seems excited (they have a turtle there, that’s all he needs). He obviously doesn’t fully understand and I totally expect this transition to be a heaping pile of suck, but I think in the long run that it’s going to be a really, really good change for him. And I’m really excited not to have to put him in the car for so long each day. For now, Will is staying where he is, but that may change soon, too.
The last major change is that we are taking away Eli’s pups (pacifiers) sometime in the next week or so. My plan was to not bring them on vacation with us (by the way, we are going on vacation soon! It’s going to be magnificent!) and just tell them that we’ve forgotten them, but we might also wait until we get home and do something different just so it doesn’t ruin his trip (we’re staying in a beach house, so tears at bedtime won’t be a huge deal). I haven’t decided. We have to get rid of them before he has his tooth pulled because he can’t suck on anything for a few days after or he’ll cause bleeding issues. So, at least I have the push I need. I hate doing this, he loves them so much, but I’ve waited as long as I can and I know this is best for him in the long run.
I think part (okay, most) of why I’m waiting is because I’m just not ready for him to be so grown. My sweet baby is just this big kid now.
So that’s where we are. It’s transition time for our family. Most of these changes are good, some of them are tough, but all of them are taking us into our future.
We’ve been in the tunnel for a long time and it’s really magnificent to finally step out into the light.
A year and a few weeks ago, Eli fell face first onto the sidewalk at our old apartment. The impact pushed one of his front teeth backwards into his mouth, but we saw a dentist who said that it seemed like it would be fine. And for a while it was. We switched to a new dentist shortly thereafter and he told us that it was kind of a crapshoot. A fall like that could do no long term damage, or it could kill the root. There was no way for us to know but to wait and see.
I noticed about 6 months later that the tooth was darker than the one next to it, but not severely so, which was somewhat comforting. We had a dental exam in early May and while the discoloration was noted, the tooth wasn’t loose and everything looked okay. He didn’t even think that x-rays were necessary and said that it may actually return to it’s normal color.
Two weeks later, Eli fell face first out of his bed onto our gorgeous but very firm hardwood floor. I didn’t notice any damage to his teeth, but he absolutely mangled his lip tie and gave himself a bloody nose. A week later, we got a note at school that he fell and hit his mouth. Last week I noticed that his tooth seemed to have a(nother) chip in it. And about 2 days ago, I realized that it looked pushed back in his mouth again. I asked Eli if he’d hit his mouth and he denied it happening, but something didn’t look right.
So we went to the dentist today.
I have to say, I adore our dentist. He’s really a very odd guy and conversing with him is inevitably awkward and uncomfortable, but he is INCREDIBLE with kids. He did Eli’s first dental exam laying on an ottoman in his office because Eli was afraid of the big chair. His 2nd and 3rd exams he did with Eli sitting on a stuffed horse. Today his office staff was so incredibly patient while we helped Eli understand what he needed to do for an x-ray of his teeth, even though it was taking forever. It wasn’t easy, but they were so kind to him and to me and we got it done without a single tear.
From Eli anyway.
Because the x-ray showed that he has an abscess on the upper third of the root of his tooth. It’s from the repeated falls. The dentist said that because Eli’s teeth are spaced so far apart, every time he’s fallen on his face, that tooth has taken the brunt of the damage. If his teeth were closer together, it might not have happened. But here we are. And now the tooth has to go.
I have a lot of feelings about this. First and foremost, I’m worried about the procedure and how tough it’ll be for Eli. He’s a fearful kid, so to have someone poking around in his mouth, like with a needle, is a pretty big thing (he’ll just be getting local anesthetic). It’s not going to be easy or pleasant, and even our optimistic, incredible dentist told me that. The extraction itself will take under a minute, it’s the numbing that’s going to be ugly.
My second feeling is probably a stupid one. I’m sad. I adore his little gap and chipped tooth smile. It’s just…so him. It’s the face I’ve known since his first day on this earth. I watched those teeth break through and now we have to tug it out. And he’ll have a huge gap in his mouth for at least 3 years, which is such a long time.
I’m afraid of how it’ll impact his speech, his confidence, his eating. I’m afraid he’s going to damage the other front tooth and we’ll have to have it removed as well. I’m afraid other kids will point it out or pick on him.
Please don’t get me wrong, I know that in the grand scheme, this is a blip. Most likely it will be one lousy morning and then Eli will adjust and it’ll be a story we tell someday when he’s dating girls just to embarrass him. But right now that tiny tooth has totally broken my heart. We have a little time (the appointment isn’t until August 6th, but we’re on a cancellation list, so it may be sooner), but I’m not sure I’ll ever get enough time with his smile, just as it is right now. I know that this is the right thing to do, but that doesn’t mean I want to do it.
In the meantime, what’s the going rate for the tooth fairy? He’s 3 and it’s going to suck a lot for him, so I’m thinking a pony? Yes?
Poor bubby Will was not feeling well today and you can totally see it in the picture. It took mom, dad and Eli to get him to offer up even a partial smile. And of course he didn’t sit up so you can’t really tell how much he’s grown this month, but we’ll take it.
Today you are 10 months old. It’s hard to believe how close you are to being one, because it seems like you were just born. I feel like I blinked and you went from 7 to 10 months instantly. You went from an infant to an almost toddler. From a tiny baby to a person.
You are an extremely busy crawler this month. Please note that I did not say efficient because son, you are the goofiest crawler ever. I have seen a lot of babies crawl in a lot of interesting ways, but you are one of the strangest. You just…well, you do the worm. You do it quickly and you can travel long distances, but it looks so miserably uncomfortable and everyone thinks you’re going to bash your face into the floor (which, thankfully you don’t). You go through multiple changes of clothes each day because no matter how often I clean the floors, you always find all the dirt I miss. But, more than anything, crawling and mobility in general has made you incredibly happy.
Your daycare teacher mentioned it this week- you’re a whole new baby this month. And she’s right. You are pulling to stand and cruising and you’re just delighted at your newfound independence. You will happily play on the floor for up to 30 minutes at a time, crawling from one toy to the next, banging everything on the floor, squealing and squeaking until you find the next noisemaker. You want to get down and play all the time, though from time to time, you check in for snuggles before getting back at it.
You had another bout of pneumonia this month. It was as bad as last time except now you know what breathing treatments are and you know how to fight them. You also got a diagnosis of intermittent asthma, so I imagine this won’t be our last pneumonia experience, sadly. You bounced back well and transitioned back to daycare without hesitation this time, which was a relief. Your personality, while a little quieter when you were sick, hasn’t been dulled at all by illness.
You’re getting pretty delightfully personable these days. You clap and clap and clap and sometimes even say “aaaaaaaaaaaay!” while you do it. You also say “eye!” and wave. I can’t decide if these are technically first words (yay and hi) or if you just somehow learned to correlate these motions and sounds. Either way, both are adorable. If anyone praises anyone for anything, you applaud. You’re like our little tiny cheerleader.
And speaking of tiny, you continue to struggle to gain weight. I weighed you just this evening and you’re still hanging in there at 16.5 pounds. It’s kind of nice because you’re getting to wear all your clothes, but at the same time, at some point, we’d like to see you get a little heavier. It’s not for a lack of eating- you’re all about table foods and coconut milk yogurt and anything you can steal from your brother and me. Hopefully as you get a little more efficient with crawling, you’ll save some of those calories for growing.
Your likes this month include: mom, dad, Eli, Corduroy bear, Addie, Aunt Claire, Ms Lynn (your music teacher), toy trains and cars, the mini piano, Jacques-Imo, Elmo, rice, coconut cream yogurt, puffs, any of your brother’s toys you can steal.
Your dislikes this month include: not eating when everyone else is, being put down in bed when you’d rather not sleep, being in the car when you’re not tired, teething.
This month you really became attached to your dad. It’s not that you didn’t love him before, it’s that for several months now, you’ve been a mama’s boy. People would talk to you and you’d nuzzle into my chest. But now, if you see dad, you must be with him. You squeal when he walks in and rapid worm crawl to him. You will throw yourself out of my arms for him and crawl all over him when you can. It’s wonderful to watch, especially since he’s felt really guilty about not being home enough. You’ve clearly bonded to him just fine.
You and Eli have also become really adorably close this month. Eli really, really likes to make you laugh and I cannot tell you how it makes my heart swell to watch the two of you. He will do something over and over again if it gets a laugh from you. And you adore him. You follow him around, you want to play with all his toys and be as close to him as possible. The two of you take baths together every night and it’s just my favorite time of day. This is why we wanted to have more than one child. The love that the two of you are just beginning to share, that you have a lifetime left to give to the other, is more than I could’ve ever imagined.
You are such a bright light in all our lives, I can’t overstate that. You were born into a year of chaos for us, and in some ways, you’ve been our anchor. You pull us home, you pull us back together. It’s a big job for someone so small, but you don’t seem to mind. You have not had an easy road these past 10 months, but you continue to be a happy, happy baby.
I hope that you know how very much we love you, how lucky we feel to have you and how much we look forward to everything left to come. Happy 10 months, my sweet baby boy.
A few years ago on our anniversary (back in the day before we had kids and I actually wrote things not a day late), I wrote about our year together. It was a tough year because my health was not great. I had been fighting with chronic headaches, gone through multiple procedures, taken leaves of absences from school and life was just hard. I remember really feeling like the song “One” was a prefect explanation of our lives.
One blood, one life
You got to do what you should
One life with each other…
But we’re not the same
We get to carry each other
Carry each other
A few years ago, you carried me. And this year it has been my turn.
It wasn’t a bad year, but it was a hard year, especially for you. You accepted a fellowship and thought it was going to change your life, and unfortunately it did, just not the way you imagined. I watched in horror as this job has torn you down every day. I’ve watched it break your spirit. I’ve watched it pull happiness out of you more and more each day. You went from a person who woke up in the morning singing, to one who had panic attacks and dreaded going to bed each night because you had to get up in the morning. It has pained me beyond words to not be able to fix this for you.
More times than I can count, I’ve seen you plaster a smile on your face for our boys even when I know that all you want to do is cry, scream and sleep. I’ve watched you refuse to fail in a job that is set up to make you do just that, I’ve seen you take on responsibility that was far beyond what should’ve been expected of you. I’ve watched you succeed when you shouldn’t have, when I think that some didn’t want you to. I’ve watched you grow by leagues and I am unbelievably proud of you. You are not the same person you were last year. We are not the same couple we were last year, but we survived.
You have apologized a lot for a lot of things in the past year. Mostly for not being enough of a lot of things. Not being a good enough husband, not being home enough, not being a good enough dad, etc. But the truth is, I have not, for a moment, been let down. I never needed your apologies.
This is real life and this is real marriage. 7 years ago, I stood before you and our families and promised to love you in good times and in bad and I meant it. I will never forget the words that we spoke to one another because they perfectly encapsulated how I felt and feel about you. “I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine.” You. You are my person, even when you are broken down, frustrated, exhausted, you are my beloved. And I am yours.
It has not been an easy year for you or for us. But we survived it. You are 21 days from finishing this fellowship, from reaching the end of a very long road.
It has been one of the greatest gifts and an incredible privilege to be your wife this year, to get to carry you. Elijah and William and I are the most fortunate people on this earth to get to love you, to be loved by you.
I am my beloved’s, and my beloved is mine. Always. Forever.
About a month before Eli’s birthday, I sat down and tried to plan his party. Unlike previous years, we were going to be in my hometown for his birthday, so we decided just to have his party there. We briefly considered also doing a party for his preschool friends, but ultimately decided that since we’re moving him to a new preschool soon anyway, that we’d do that next year instead. I narrowed the themes down to an ocean theme and a dinosaur theme and asked Eli. Without hesitation, he said dinosaur. And when we started talking about it he became very insistent that the cake had to be an orange dinosaur. It was adorable, but definitely a challenge.
I am not a crafty person. At all. So I ordered most of the decorations on Amazon and got matching plates. I also picked up a set of inflatable dinosaurs that I knew E would get a kick out of.
The food was easy to plan, especially with a little help of pinterest. We had burgers, hot dogs (for the carnivores), veggies and fruit (for the herbivores) and baked beans (for the omnivores). And of course dinosaur bones and claws for appetizers.
Because the party had kids of an assortment of ages, I was trying to be somewhat creative in keeping people interested. Again, the internet to the rescue. The night before I made a paste out of baking soda, water, and food coloring and shaped it into an egg shape around some small plastic dinosaurs, then left them out to dry out (interestingly, they were really green the night before, by morning they were purple. I’m sure there’s a reason, but I don’t know it). The day of the party, we hid them for the kids to find. Once they found them all, we took a spray bottle of white vinegar and sprayed them. The eggs bubbled and dissolved, leaving behind the dinosaurs.
At one point, we had kids ranging in age from 13 to 2 enraptured and Eli was squealing, “THEY’RE HATCHING! THEY’RE HATCHING!” It was so, so fun. And they got to keep the dinosaurs afterwards.
We also did a piñata this year. I didn’t realize it when I bought it, but it was a pull string piñata, which was a good thing because we let all the kids beat the hell out of it and it would. not. break. Eventually the pull strings worked and candy and toys fell for all. Eli grabbed one lollipop and screamed excitedly about it while the older kids hoarded as much as they could. It was hilarious. Eli was standing before a huge pile of candy and toys, holding up one single dum dum sucker, infinitely more excited than the other kids with full bags of junk. Three is really a great age.
After the piñata, we did cake and ice cream. The cake was a labor of love. I did a practice cake the week before following the instructions here, and the head would not stay on, even with copious toothpick usage. So for the real deal I used a cupcake for the head and it worked fabulously. And the spikes were fondant covered oreos. I was starting to doubt that it was worth the time until Eli saw the cake and his excitement made it totally worth it. It was delicious, too.
Eli has been excited about the candles for weeks and weeks, and his reaction to the cake/singing was priceless.
All in all, this was my favorite of his birthday parties to date. It was only possible thanks to a ton of help from my mom, fabulous barbecuing by my step-dad and great company from the rest of my family. Eli had a great time and felt so special, which was my only goal. I really couldn’t have asked for anything more.
And now onto Will’s birthday planning. These kids are growing up too fast.