It's back-to-back days of excitement here in our little household. First Halloween, then Bean-girl's third birthday, then a hosting of our toddler playgroup this morning. Toddlers tore through Bean's left-over birthday cake, tore through presents and toys, and generally ran rampage through the house. Then one by one the little mites began to melt down, dissolving into tears and clingy limbs in their mothers' arms as noon and naptime approached. My own Bean is now fast asleep, after vehement protest.
I know that all birthdays are special, and that all Halloweens are special to a child. But this third birthday and Halloween has been especially so. This is the first year that Bean-girl really gets it. She gets Halloween. She'd been noticing the jack-o-lanterns in the neighborhood, the ghost decorations and spiderwebs. She'd been parading about in her purple witch hat for days. She understood what was going on. And then afterward she gloried in her loot, sorting her candy into piles with her father's help: sour candies, chocolate candies, lollipops, cookies. We put the candy back into her bag, and then she wanted to dump it out and go through it again, just to look at it, just to see.
And it's the first year she understood--really understood--that it was her birthday. I don't think she understands that she was born on that paticular date, but she knew full well that a birthday meant cake, presents, and "party hats." (We didn't do the party hats). She solemnly requested a cake "with blue icing, in the shape of a car, and with whales."
Whales? I said, dumbfounded.
What color whales? I asked.
Green, she said.
I was panicking over this blue car cake with green whales, when her father finally figured out that she was saying wheels.
We had a quiet birthday for Bean-girl. Just our immediate family. We had a family dinner at home, then cake, then presents. Opening all the presents seemed to take a long time. Afterward she had to watch one of her new birthday DVDs. And in the bathtub she had to play with her new motorized submarine toy. Then hear her new storybooks. She went to sleep quite late, poor thing.
I could bring up all the cliches about seeing my firstborn grow up. I feel all the cliches. She is growing so much, and I am so proud and in awe of her. In these last six months she has moved to a new city, become a big sister, and started preschool. In just the last month she has toilet trained herself (mostly) and learned to ride a tricycle. Every day she seems to become more articulate, more skilled at expressing herself. I am proudest of all at how she has grown into her role as big sister. Sometimes, as I cook lunch or finish up some household chore, I feel guilty that I don't pay enough attention to the Baby Legume, that she doesn't have my sole attention the way the Bean-girl once did. And then I look over to her, and I see that Bean is lying on the activity mat next to Baby Legume, and Bean is touching Legume's cheek and laughing and talking to her. And I can almost feel myself spilling over with pride, and I know Baby Legume is lucky indeed.
As are we all.
Happy birthday, my always-baby Bean!