So, as it turned out, Caris ended up having three birthday parties to celebrate her first two years of life! My husband called it the “never-ending birthday”, but it was all to do with timing really.
Party number one – Marvelous Mauritius – 17 May 2013
We were away in Maritius over her birthday (which also proved to be an interesting conundrum for the airline issuing our tickets … she was not two when we left, but would be two when we returned: facilitating the need to have to pay full fare for the return flight. But they couldn’t do a split ticket, so we ended up having to pay full fare for both flights!)
Her official birthday was celebrated Island Style with the most delicious chocolate mousse cake I have ever tasted, courtesy of Club Med. We brought along a small gift for her to open on the day, and bought her an island dolly too!
Party number two – Family tea – 26 May 2013
As soon as we got home, we had the family round for tea and cake and present opening. Caris was so delighted with so many packages to open!
Party number three – Rio Carnival – 20 June 2013
Caris’s favourite movie at the moment is “RIO” – she loves the blue macaws, the bright colours and the music from the movie, so it made perfect sense to have a Rio birthday party. So I had this crazy idea that I would make a cake with Blu, the main macaw from the movie, perched on top of it. She absolutely LOVED the cake. (I was heartbroken when Blu was eaten!)
I was looking at Alex and Caris playing together yesterday afternoon. They both suddenly look so big, so grown-up. The traces of baby-hood have all but disappeared from Alex’s face, and Caris is not too far behind him. It makes me sad to think that their baby days are over. They are growing up way too fast…
I have pretty much stopped buying baby magazines. Not because I know everything, but because the articles are becoming less and less appropriate now that my children are getting older. (And I think I’ve pretty much covered the breast-feeding / weaning / solid-food / potty-training cycle by now!) But I suddenly had this thought about how wonderful it would be to read one of those “things you wish someone had told you before you had a baby” lists right now. I am clearly feeling sentimental.
So I decided to write my own list, and it goes something like this:
You will be responsible for another human being. All day. Every day. For the rest of your life. It’s both overwhelming and liberating at the same time. It will be one of the greatest privileges you will ever have.
You will be tired all the time. Very tired. But somehow you will make it through every day with a smile on your face as you tuck your babies into bed, and kiss them goodnight.
You will have an empty feeling when your children are not physically with you. This will even apply if they are asleep in a different room less than ten meters away.
You will feel heartbroken thinking about a time in the future when your children are no longer little. You will ache with every fibre of your being at the thought that one day they will leave you. And that time will come sooner than you think.
You will not know what you did with your spare time before you had kids.
You will have your buttons pushed, and your limits tested on a daily basis!
Your priorities will change. Big time. Every decision you make will be underpinned by the fact that you now have children.
You will experience what unconditional love really feels like.
Your heart will burst with love when those deep dark grey eyes look into yours for the first time. This will be the happiest and scariest moment of your life.
The mere thought of something happening to that tiny little being will leave you feeling paralyzed and unable to breathe. As will the thought of something happening to you.
Your children will make you angrier than you have ever been in your life. But you will still love them. And you will forgive them.
You will feel proud.
It will break your heart when your child is hurt, sick or upset.
You will struggle to imagine what your life was like before children.
Hearing “I love you” come out of your child’s mouth for the first time will soften you in a way that nothing else ever can.
You will change. Irrevocably.
You will love with all of your heart and soul.
You will play with Cars, Lego, baby dolls and the like, and you will colour-in with crayons! And the smile from your child will make it all worth it.
And last, but not least, you will try to savour every moment, be it good or bad, because child-hood is just too damn short!