Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Three (and learning it's not always about me)

Holy crap my baby girl turned 3 this week! Three! For some reason I'm having a harder time with her turning 3 than any of the other ages so far. Maybe it's because three isn't a baby, it isn't a toddler, it's a little girl! Like a little girl with her own opinions and thoughts that she has no problems voicing :-) On one hand the past 3 years have flown by at lightening speed. It feels like only yesterday I was sitting in the hospital as a new mom holding this little baby that I had waited my whole life for. On the other hand it feels like a lifetime ago. I have a hard time remembering my pre mom life. Not necessarily my life and experiences prior to being a Mom, but my pre Mommy brain. Let's face it my life revolves around my babies. My brain is hardwired as a Mom to think about how every choice and decision affects my kids. So much has happened in the last 3 years that it seems like 10 years should have passed. Lost a pregnancy. Gained a son. Sold a home. Bought a new one. Family members have passed. Babies have been born.  You name it, these past 3 years have been jam packed.

I started asking Claire earlier in the summer what kind of birthday party she might want. At first I didn't really get an answer, but as the summer progressed and her speech improved I started getting the same two answers over and over. At first I didn't know what to make of it. I thought "what kind of party is that for a kid? I'll just have to take her "suggestion" and put my Mommy spin on it." What were her 2 answers? A "treat party" and a greem party" aka green party. So I thought I would do a vintage candy party. I could easily envision the old fashioned candy. All the bright colors. The cute lollipop invitations I would make. Everything would be adorable! The next time I asked her what kind of party she wanted it was just a "greem party". And the next time and the next time still the same answer "greem party". I continued on thinking I would just do my cute version of a candy party and she wouldn't care. And while she probably wouldn't have cared I am so glad I gave her the party she asked for. Towards the end of summer a dear friend and I were discussing what I might do for Claire's 3rd birthday. I explained what Claire had asked for, my dilemma, and my plan. She immediately told me I just had to do the "greem party" Claire was asking for. I was still dreaming of my cute vision for Claire's party though. She started bouncing ideas around of all the cute
green things I could have at the party and how memorable and fun this would be for her. Soon I was on board and realized it's not about me and my vision of a Pinterest worthy party. It's about my sweet little girl's dream of a green party and the memories that come with it. I could even tie in the original "treat" idea and do a green candy bar as the party favors. I spent the next few weeks finalizing all the green plans. I am so so thankful that I stopped and listened to what my little girl wanted even if it wasn't my vision of what a birthday theme should like. To say she had a blast is an understatement. A few days before the party she found a bunch of the green party supplies in the kitchen cabinet. She kept saying "Mommy, my greem party"? I told her "yes baby your green party". Shortly after that I found her setting up her green party a little early at her little table.
The day before the party as Mom and I were making her cake and I set up the candy bar and begin decorating her little eyes lit up as she realized she was getting her "greem party".(We also discovered that the cake started missing M&Ms as the day progressed. The birthday girl kept stealing them off the cake).

 The day of the party she hopped around excited all day for her green party and her friends coming. My usually calm child around a group of people excitedly played with all her little friends and I kept having to find where she had ran off too. This may not seem like a big deal, but usually my little girl stays close by me often wanting to be held because the crowd of people makes her nervous. Not during her "greem" party though. The only time she reverted to her shy self was when about a quarter of a way through singing Happy Birthday she realized all eyes were on her and she buried her head on my shoulder telling me "Mommy doing" when it came time to blow out her candles. That's ok though. There will be lots of other birthdays for her to blow  out the candles.


As her big present we decided to get her a trampoline. We wanted to surprise her the morning of her party with it which meant we had to put it together the night before after she was in bed. At 1:15 A.M. we had the majority of it together. After the long evening and hard work I was so excited to take her into the back yard when she woke up and video her reaction. She had been telling us for weeks she wanted a "bouncy thing" for her birthday. Well, things never tend to go as planned. Eric forgot about the surprise sitting in the backyard and opened the blinds as normal in the morning. I was laying in bed feeding Luke and not up yet. A few minutes later Eric comes carefully around the corner and tells me the "oops" that had just occurred. I cried. I was so excited for her reaction so not only did I not get the bit reveal I wanted, but I didn't even get to see her face when she saw it. According to the witnesses she said "Oh boy a trampoline". Thankfully Eric did quickly close the blinds and we waited several hours before taking her outside. In the end she LOVES it and has spent hours and hours outside jumping.


I am so thankful for the wonderful friends we have. Claire had such a memorable 3rd birthday and I learned a very important lesson. I learned to listen to my daughter. My kids' parties are not about me and the cute crafts and pictures I could do. They are about them and creating unforgettable parties and memories no matter if they aren't the theme I was envisioning. Guess what? This theme was even better than the theme I had envisioned and I know 15 years from now this will be the one I will fondly remember. It captured who my little girl is right now and I will never forget the pure joy on her face.