This past week our Little Man turned the big T-W-O and Mommy can hardly believe it. A frequent theme found within these pages is my disbelief at how quickly time passes. I’ve remarked more than once that it seems like just yesterday Jack was born and on the flip side, there have been days that seemed as if they would never end. However, in marking Jack’s second year in our lives, the quick passage of time hardly seems like an understatement. It does seem like just yesterday he was small enough to be cradled in the crook of my arm as I sang Hush Little Baby Don’t Say a Word as he drifted off to sleep. The moments that he laid on my chest, gently breathing his wisps of warm air on my skin, as I admired his perfection and sweet scent of peaches, seem to have been here just a moment ago.
Yet, just this past Thursday, the calendar and the ticking hands of time reminded me that two years has come and gone, even if it did feel like a mere blink of an eye. Gone is the tiny infant with his soft cries and miniature features. He has been replaced with a precocious preschooler endlessly fascinated by so many things that Mommy struggles to keep pace. Mommy does not lament this change because the little boy who holds my hand and gives heart melting kisses is the single most exquisite part of my life. My tears are only a result of being so overwhelmed by love and joy that I can’t help, but feel an intense greed known to all parents – a greed that desires to have every moment in the past, present, and future at my finger tips for always. As time slips by, moments and memories only intensify in their loveliness, my darling Jack only grows in his beauty and Mommy wishes more fervently that she had a means of grasping onto it all and holding it the way he holds my hand. Yes, this is a love and a little boy worthy of endless celebrations. For this reason and so many others, Mommy and Daddy hold Jack’s birthday to be one of the best reasons to exalt with jubilation.
Party of Three
With Jack’s birthday falling a Thursday night and Jack’s mood known for taking a nose dive after 5:15 – 5:30 PM, Mommy and Daddy thought it would be best for Jack’s birthday party to be held the following Saturday afternoon. However, even with big plans for a party, Mommy and Daddy wanted to make sure that January 13th didn’t pass by without being celebrated. So, we had our own special day full of a fun little moments. To start with, in place of his usual morning sippy of water, Mommy let Jack have a little bit of chocolate milk. Any grumpiness that may have been present upon Jack’s awakening, quickly disappeared from his face when that little delight hit his lips. The rest of the day was spent with Mommy and Jack playing around the house and cuddling. Jack’s favorite activity is to run around and jump off of furniture. When that was the name of the game, Mommy stayed near to give kisses for any abrupt booboos.
In the afternoon, during Jack’s nap, Mommy was on cake duty. Mommy and Daddy had ordered a special ice cream cake from Baskin and Robbins for Jack’s party, but we couldn’t let his actual birthday go by without a real cake. So, Mommy busted out the Duncan Hines cake mix and baked two short and fat caked. While the cakes were baking I began work on Jack’s birthday dinner. Jack’s favorite meal is homemade garlic chicken pizza. This recipe calls for pizza dough, sauce, and everything in between to be made from scratch. Then, when the cakes were baked and fully cool, it was time to cut them, layer them, and ice them. Jack loves chocolate, so Mommy had Daddy pick up some chocolate icing for the outside of the cake and buttercream for the inside of the cake. Mommy has never been the best at icing cakes, but considering it was a cake destined to have a two year old tear into it, it was perfect. Jack’s nap time was certainly Mommy’s busy time.
When Daddy arrived home it was party time! Mommy and Daddy had planned to have Jack open a few small gifts from Mommy and Daddy and then we would eat dinner, eat cake, have a bath, and then off to bed. To make sure we had time to do all of this while Jack was in a good mood, Daddy took off of work a little early. First thing was first, gifts!
Since Jack’s birthday is so close to Christmas, opening presents went a little faster this year as there had been plenty of practice only a few weeks prior. Little Man still needed a little bit of coaching, but all in all he went to town on those gifts. Jack had three gifts to open up. One was a Toy Story dinosaur that makes a roaring noise when his tummy is squeezed, a wooden dinosaur puzzle, and One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish, by Dr. Seuss. Mommy and Daddy have opted out of getting Jack cards for holidays and instead have decided that giving him a book with a nice inscription that he can keep for always will be a unique and practical way to go.
Following some play time with Little Man we were off to eat dinner and for Jack to have his birthday cake. While Jack appreciated his yummy pizza, it was, of course, the cake that was the main attraction. Since Jack had been practicing blowing out candles for months, even imaginary candles, this part of the festivities was his favorite, at least until he tasted the cake.
Once Jack blew out his candle, he was rather surprised when Mommy and Daddy handed him a fork and told him to go at it. When he saw that we were serious and actually encouraging him to play with his food (we planned to throw it out when he was done), he went whole hog on that cake. . .While most of it did end up on his face and hands, he still managed to get in one or two good bites.
Once Jack was moderately cleaned up, thanks to his new habit of washing his hands and face in the bathroom with Daddy after dinner, we retired to the living room where Jack snuggled on the couch with us and watched Toy Story 3 until it was time to head downstairs for a bath and bed. It was a fun, fun, day. Two years ago, Mommy may have tried to envision future birthdays with Little Man, but nothing I imagined could have compared to the awesomeness that always ensues when the three of us, Mommy, Daddy, and Jack, just live, love, and laugh together.
A Party Fit for a McQueen, Lightning McQueen That Is
It’s no secret that Jack has developed quite the love of cars. For this reason, Mommy and Daddy opted for a birthday party theme that centers around the movie Cars by Pixar. This is a movie that Mommy and Daddy had yet to watch with Little Man. While we own most every other Disney movie of high caliber, we had opted to not own Cars as when we first tried to watch it prior to having Jack, it seemed a little. . .redneck, for lack of a better term. However, as Mommy and Daddy have learned many times over, when it comes to your child, you’re willing to do anything, endure anything, and watch anything if it brings him joy. So, to set the mood off right for Jack’s party, Daddy purchased Cars on DVD to watch with him while Mommy set up for the party. We decided it was only right for Jack to be able to see the movie version of his latest obsession. To add to the cuteness level, Mommy bought Jack a Lightning McQueen t-shirt to wear for the party. Needless to say, he really got into the movie.
Following Jack’s nap, the party guest all began to arrive. Jack had just finished his lunch and was ready to party hardy. The very first guests to arrive were Oma, Papa, and Cousin Carson, followed by Eileen. Then a surprise guest arrived, Grandad! Everyone piled into to wish Little Man a very happy second birthday. To kick things off, we all gathered in Mommy’s office for ice cream cake. Once again, Jack was stoked to be blowing out his candle. He even did it twice!
Jack seemed a little disappointed that he couldn’t dig his whole hand into this cake like he did with his birthday cake on Thursday, his disappointment subsided when he tasted the yummy cake Mommy had picked out. It was white cake with World Class Chocolate ice cream. The cake was a Cars cake, topped off with Lightning McQueen and Mater cars. On the top of the cake it read, “Happy Birthday Jack!”. It was a delicious cake that was cute to boot. Carson especially liked the cake because Daddy gave him the toys that were on the cake. They weren’t age appropriate for Jack, but suited Carson just fine.
Following ice cream cake, the whole herd of partiers headed into the living room for Jack to open his gifts. First package up was from Grandma and Grandpa Washington. This particular gift had been waiting to be opened for a few days now, so Jack was ready to tear into the paper when he was given the all clear. Mommy and Daddy had tried to read the card aloud for Jack first, but he was just a little too excited and hopped up on ice cream cake.
It was a remote control car! Daddy was quite eager to give this particular gift a whirl and Jack was just excited to have yet another toy equipped with wheels. In the days to come he would realize the awesomeness that is having your own steering wheel that makes a car move.
The next gift up was from Oma and Papa. Knowing Jack like they do, they gave him a Tonka dump truck named Chuck. He’s not only a dump truck, but a talking dump truck who rumbles around the house, moves on his own, and occasionally chasses down whomever is nearest. Jack was elated.
By the time Eileen’s gift was ready to be unwrapped, Jack was growing a little weary of the paper tearing process. At the very least he was beginning to slow down. This resulted in Cousin Carson jumping in to help in the effort. Eileen being equally thoughtful and knowing Jack as well as she does, gave him a darling fire engine with blocks. Again, Jack was excited to see another equipped with wheels for his driving enjoyment.
Finally it was time for Jack to open Grandad and Nana’s gift, which was an adorable farmer and cow set to go with his Little People Farm and a Tow and Pull Tractor. Jack is certainly set when it comes to imaginative agricultural play.
Last, but not least was Mommy and Daddy’s big gift to Jack. While Jack had been taking his nap earlier in the day, Daddy had been putting Jack’s gift together and setting it up in his playroom. Mommy and Daddy gave Jack the Cars GeoTrax Mega Set. It’s a large track set, that instead of trains, has little cars from the movie. One of the cars, Lightening McQueen, is an RC racer so he has a remote. Jack had so much fun with the set he could hardly contain himself. The combination of Jack, Carson, new toys, and birthday cake resulted in pure playtime fun. This is where the adults left them while we headed into the living room for a little relaxation and quiet.
When Jack has fun, Mommy and Daddy have fun. So, despite the party being a little overwhelming at moments, it was a blast. There is nothing more enchanting than seeing your lovely little boy just playing and having. It’s in those moments that, as a parent, you’re able to get in touch with that child inside. When we see Jack busting at the seams with excitement, we can’t help, but bust at the seams right along with him. Jack has had two birthdays. They are just the beginning of a beautiful and long life and as much as I would like to think I can imagine the wonder each of these magical days will bring, I know that I can’t. Just as I couldn’t begin to conceive of the love and joy we experience each day Jack is in our lives, I can’t even begin to imagine what each new year will bring beyond knowing there will always be love and joy.