Monday, May 4, 2009

Birthday Girl

My baby turned 5 years old yesterday. How did that happen? 5 years ago- also a Sunday- I was sitting on my couch grading my last batch of essays. I had the thought that I was really leaving these until the last minute - I mean, what if I went into labor a week early? Ha ha, right?

But no, about 10pm contractions started and I got no sleep for the rest of the night. Neither, really, did Aaron. At 7am we headed to the hospital, and I refused the wheelchair ride up to the OB ward. Instead, I decided to completely freak out some poor resident by riding up the elevator with him, breathing through contractions the whole way. I'm sure he was thrilled.

Thank goodness my lovely midwife allowed me to have an epidural at 8cm dilation (that's out of 10). Unfortunately, Leah was establishing her independence and chose the most difficult position for her attempt at birth - facing up and diagonal. After some finagling by the OB on call, she was straight up (which is still NOT a fun birth position) but then she turned herself- in the birth canal- to be in the normal position. The doc still guided her out with a vacuum, but I don't remember any of the famous cone-headedness that usually accompanies a vacuum birth. All I remember is being so grateful that she was finally with us, and that she was perfect.

So our little girl is five years old. Earlier this year I thought I had her convinced that she would have a My Little Pony party. It would be great! I thought. I would do a horseshoe cake - easy and fun! - and I love the Ponies. Buuut, no. She decided she wanted to have a "dress-up" party. Exactly how that would be different from her princess party last year, I wasn't sure...but she insisted that instead of coming already dressed as princesses, they would bring their dress up stuff and get dressed here. "And," she repeated several times, "if they don't have any, they can use some of mine." So generous of her!

The upside of this non-commercial birthday theme is that when we were shopping for plates and napkins, she said she didn't need stuff with characters on them, and was totally fine with my suggestion to just pick out some pretty ones instead. We found lovely ones in the clearance aisle at Hobby Lobby.

The party was at 2:30pm Sunday afternoon. 4 friends joined us, and we had probably the most laid-back children's birthday party I've ever attended. The girls dressed up and played for about 45 minutes, then we did a little dress up relay game:

During this relay game, I realized that 5 year olds really don't have much of a clue what relays are. In this one, a girl from each team ran up to the pile of accessories, put on shoes, jewelry, some kind of hat, and a shawl, took them off, then ran back to her team.

We had the girls dress up their fanciest (mostly from Leah's stockpile) for the group photo:

And then it was on to the treats! I've decided that each birthday kid should be entitled to a photo with their parents - no sibs allowed for this one. Well, Ben was in his post-nap funk, and wouldn't be soothed by anything but direct parental attention. In the photo below, he is actually laying across Aaron's lap, by his own volition, and then I kind of moved the cake to cover him. Sweet, huh? (By the way, thanks again to friend L, one of the moms, who stayed to assist with the party. I had a feeling that Aaron would be preoccupied by our darling son.)

The dress Leah is wearing is her favorite "dress-up" piece - and it's a nightgown (shh!) I got at a garage sale. She calls it her Ariel dress, and I call it better than a bikini.

I wanted to make things a little fancy for the dress-up party, so I tried these petit-fours from Family Fun magazine. They looked cute, but were more time intensive than anticipated. It probably didn't help that both Ben and Leah were watching over my work. So. Much. Fun.
We also had little raspberry Italian sodas with the cakes. So pretty!
Then it was FINALLY time for presents, which Leah made sure to remind me about several times over the weekend. As in, "Mommy, when do I get to open my presents?" kind of reminders.
Leah saying thank you to Addie - yes, this is their usual style of hugging. Impressive, huh?

Apparently Addie set the standard for How to Hug Leah. If you ever questioned how much smaller Leah is than her friends, this should illustrate it for you: They could all pick her up.

After the girls headed home, we took Leah outside and showed her the "big" gift: A two-wheeler bike! She is getting the hang of it - helping with the motivation is that pal Addie has been riding her own two-wheeler to our house for an entire year already. They are a princess biker gang, for sure. The neighborhood will never be the same!


Aaron said...

Wooo bikes! I guess that is one of the down-sides of being a little smaller, even the tiny bikes are a little big. But man is she going to have fun!

nydampress said...

Happy Birthday Leah! Best line of this post was the "...I call it better than a bikini", haha!!
I can't believe she is already 5, mostly due to the fact that we entirely missed her 4th year :(

JJ and EJ said...

Great pics! Oh look at Leah on her big bike! Glad it was a fun party for the big birthday girl!

AJ said...

That was fun to read about even though I was there. The "hugging" pictures are hilarious

Clarinda said...

I love that you used the cake to cover Ben. Clever! Looks like it was a lovely, relatively stress-free party for your little princess. How fun!