C's Fourth Birthday

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Every year, for C's birthday, we give him a film of his life compiling the previous year, a handmade toy, a special cake, the attention of both parents for the entire day, and we do something he's never done before. For his first birthday, we went to the zoo. For his second, we went to the park and fed the ducks. For his third, we rode the Cat Tran (The University of Arizona campus bus). The Cat Tran's route went by our old house, and because it is bedecked with colorful paw prints, C referred to it as "party bus," which is probably appropriate. His dream was to ride party bus, so we made that happen, first picking up Geoff, and ending our route near a restaurant where we ate lunch. During this time a gaggle of sorority girls sang Happy Birthday to him, which totally rocked his world. This year, we took him to the movies for the first time. We saw The Muppets Most Wanted.

To prepare him for this, we read Curious George Goes to the Movies. We also watched more of The Muppets, and finally, when we arrived, I asked for a booster seat (and if you're local reading this, Flagship Cinemas on KMD has one seat). Finally, we arrived a few minutes early to buy concessions and we ran around with him, up and down the stairs, exploring the theater. (G was with a babysitter and taking a nap.) He did wonderfully, and seemed to enjoy the movie!

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The night before a child's birthday, Geoff and I have a tradition of assembling and decorating a special cake. This year, fire truck was requested. (Last year, it was robot.) This is the robot cake. Don't be too impressed, though. The gallon plastic bag behind it is full of crumbled cake from the first attempt when I couldn't get the thing out of the pan and we got Earthquake Cake. Again, the name of this blog is "Not So Bloggable." Pinterest fail? That's me. Also, our cakes are a team effort. Geoff and I design them together with colored pencils. It's a big deal. Then we decide how to execute and we put it together, usually around midnight, the night before. There is sometimes a frosting fight.

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Here is this year's fire truck:

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When he woke up in the morning, he opened a gift from my mom; books. Lots of books! G was VERY excited and could hardly contain herself from grabbing all of his gifts.

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Then, we decorated his room while Geoff got ready for the day. This gave G some long-awaited time with C's new books.

A logging truck from Tuck's Toys www.tuckstoys.com
A logging truck from Tuck's Toys www.tuckstoys.com
This is an old cheeseboard I repurposed by nailing nails into it in a grid pattern. I paired with with a big ol' ball of rubber bands.
This is an old cheeseboard I repurposed by nailing nails into it in a grid pattern. I paired with with a big ol' ball of rubber bands.

Then, we went to the movies. When we came home, C had a long nap. And then we had a birthday party, which at our house almost always ends in child nudity and birthday cake frosting smeared everywhere. But it starts with gifts. We also gave him a portable CD player and kid-sized headphones with some book/CD sets. Grampie sent a baseball glove and baseball, which will be awesome when the snow melts.

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Then cake.

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And finally, the aftermath.

C is our first child, so for Geoff and me, this is a milestone, too. Four years of parenthood. (Almost five of ongoing pregnancy, nursing, nursing while pregnant, or tandem nursing! Whew!)

We partied late, and cake turned into cake-for-dinner. 9:00 passed. So did 9:30. And 10.

And then he was in bed, asleep like any other night, soft and little. What difference did one day make from the last? Not much, really. A birthday is a good time to pause and reflect on the year, to be grateful, and celebrate how far they've come. To breathe in the bottled hope of years to come, and set it back on the shelf for awhile.

And so, the evening before his birthday, we went for one last walk of Being Three. How many firsts have I written down? How many minutes recording the detail of every baby tooth while I was tired and encrusted with pureed avocado? How many firsts have I dutifully photographed and never shared and forgotten in the hard drive - first ice cream cone, first juice box, first boat ride... But how often do we knowingly record The Lasts? This was one of those times.

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And he danced off into the sunset with joyful abandon.