No, the birthday wasn't mind-blowing because I hired Hanson to come play in my backyard (although I saw them at a parents' expo in Brooklyn this past summer and let me say, those dudes really rocked). It wasn't mind-blowing for O. at all, besides maybe the cupcake. It was mind-blowing for me. I hate to reenforce cliches and tired sayings but man, that first year went by fast.
I should have been in the moment all day but instead I found myself drifting back and missing the moments that will never come again. Sleeping like a sack of beans on my shoulder. Eating solid food for the first time. Rolling over, and then rolling everywhere. Crawling. Discovering the cats. First laugh. First smile. It is hard not to get caught up in maudlin reverie, but the fact that to Olive it was just another day helped me through it. Feed, play, change, nap, repeat. The major difference was Anne's mom was here, so she took some of the work off of my shoulders, and spearheaded the baking of the birthday cupcakes. And she dressed her--in a pink tutu. It looked sort of awesome because her big belly kept pushing it down and she looked like a past-her-prime ballerina who just couldn't bear to quit dancing.
The big news leading up to the big day was the steps, namely O's first ones, unassisted. I was downstairs while Nana was upstairs and I thought I saw O take a few steps between the chair and hassock, but I couldn't be sure. When Nana came down a few minutes later and sat in the play area, O proceeded to take a few shaky steps from me to her, much to everyone's delight, especially Nana's. She did it a few more times, and then walked between me and Anne a few times after Anne got home form work. Heady moments and amazing to see how O got so very excited whenever she did it. It was obvious that she knew this was a big deal. And I was happy I was able to be in the moment and enjoy it.
The day itself went by quickly. We video chatted with Mimi and Pop, I painted a paper bag party hat, took a plaster impression of her hand print and soon enough Anne came home and our friend Kim came over. We opened presents and she tore through the paper and played with a few gifts.
We then transitioned to the high chair and cupcake time. I tried to get the tiara and the homemade hat on her head but she was not really feeling either of them, so the birthday girl went hatless. We sang her her first Happy Birthday and then she extinguished the candle by pulling off the paper hat and slamming it into the flame. Luckily disaster was averted and we decided to just give her the carrot cake cupcake with cream cheese frosting without further ceremony. She attacked it with gusto and soon was a mess, which was predictably cute as hell. She smiled for just about the whole meal.
Afterwards there was a little dinner, a bath and then bedtime. It was over, she was happy, and I am still trying to get used to the fact that my baby is a toddler. Hard to believe.