On Tuesday, the Toddles has his birthday. Every year, I try to take a few loving photos of my offspring on their birthday. Last year, I caught some lovely black and white shots of a thoughtful, then uproariously laughing Toddles. Perfection! This year, I tried again - but all I managed was this:
Poor kid, he ran a fever of 102 the day before his birthday, 103.5 on his birthday, and then a sedate 101 the day after. Which is the number-heavy way of saying that, come his happy happy day, the kid was toast. He put his dad's sweatshirt on, curled his arms inside it, and stood there, puzzled as to what had happened to him.
We'd planned a quiet day, and a quiet celebration with QG and ourselves. The Toddles chose his birthday menu: Mary Jr's Painted Rooster (rooster separate from the paint, please), corn on the cob, salad and birfday cake. The Toddles paused here to hold a long and slightly incoherent conversation with his overalls. Birfday cake with green and blue polka dots, he corrected himself. The overalls nodded approvingly. I added a bowl of pickles, tucked Thai basil into the paint, and decreed myself happy.
Which made one of us.
All day long, the kid collapsed in tears. He didn't want milk, he wanted water. He didn't want to wear sandals, he wanted his far too small sneakers. He didn't want to lie down, he wantzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. By the end of the day, the child was wringing wet, I had been used as a tissue so often that I was tempted to throw myself out, and he couldn't decide if he wanted to be held or if he...wanted to be held. Um.
Oh, but it was an absolutely delightful day, with a chaser of good cheer.
That night, eyeing the Toddles wailing in a random corner over something incomprehensible, we started dinner with birfday cake. The Toddles bounced over, blew out his candle, licked the polka dots off the cupcake, and chattered his way through the rest of the dinner.
Should we have been surprised? Indeed, we were not. There is one truth about our lad there, and that is his resilience. Given a chance, a breather and a hug, the Toddles will bounce back. Sunshine and fire and love, with a dash of giggles, I said last year, and oh but it is still true. His sense of humor may have ripened slightly towards the bucket-on-the-head style, but he's deliciously fun when he's not driving one to drink. Bounce, bounce, bounce, joy, arrgh. Which is just as he needs to be. Right now, the Toddles is drawing heavily on his store of bounce to adapt to the changes in his life: just over a week ago, we said a sad goodbye to QG and a nervous hello to preschool.
Our QG days have been a real blessing. Like Mary Jr before her, she slid into place like the family member we hadn't realized we were missing. She's been a source of hugs, a listening ear, a helping hand and, oh yes, she also did things for the kidlet. Generously, QG fell in love with the Toddles (which, I know, only shows good sense, but still), and then spread her affection to the Eldest, and even to Bom. We all bloomed under her care, and we'll miss our regular doses.
A sharp judge of character, the Toddles liked her immediately upon meeting her, and talked about her constantly until she started coming regularly. Now, he asks after her wistfully, puzzled by her absence. I'm puzzled too, kid. Still, I want my backpack, the Toddles informed me, I'm going to peeschool. Bag on his determined little back, he went off to put on his shoes. (If only he did this when it was actually time to go, but still. I'll take the rehearsal with a grain of hope.)Happy birthday, Toddles. It's going to be a big year for a small person, but we'll do our best to pack it with love. The joy, we suspect, you are going to discover on your own.
Since you asked, here's a terrible picture of the polka dot cupcakes:
We colored the icing green and blue, and then I first squirted dots of one color, and then filled in, kind of, with the other color. Cake decorating is not my forte, and this was just about at my limit.
And, following up on my Palin bashing, here's snopes.com on the subject of Palin and book banning. Because, if you are going to slam a candidate, it's important to do it correctly. Of course, Jeff Jacoby in the Boston Globe says we're all wrong, and we should stop telling Palin stories. I agree, as it happens: less Palin, more talking about actual plans to fix things.