The saga of Bee’s birthday concluded last night with cake and the blowing out of
When you do birthday candles, if you have a number candle like you see in the picture below, do you also add other candles to total the number of the birthday kid’s year of celebration or does the number candle suffice? We usually do a singular number candle, but I’ve been to some other parties and I think maybe we’re doing it wrong.
Anyhoo, here’s Bee and her sisters…
…with bee masks…
(You cannot see this picture…
…because they’re in ninja mode!)
…that glow in the dark.
And then the balloons…mmm…dropped? (Imagine me saying that in The New Style of The Beastie Boys.)
Now Bee is three, which is cool. We haven’t had a three-year-old around in a few years. I think we’ll enjoy it.
If you leave your paddling pool out and it gets all gross, you just might attract a visitor.
She (Or he? How can you tell!?) had just been hanging around the pool. Then the girls put a rock in there and SHE JUMPED UP ON IT and that’s pretty much the most exciting thing that happened on Sunday or ever.
Bee will turn three tomorrow. Three has traditionally been the first birthday for which I throw an invite-your-friends party, but we’ve decided to save that experience for next year. We will be celebrating BEE IS THREE not-so-quietly at home.
There will be a balloon drop in our dining room. It will go like this:
And now, I’ve got a cake to make.
Middle School, Day 2.
(This is currently her favorite outfit.)
Our bedtime plan was complete brilliance as we have not only been up at 6 a.m. the past four mornings, we have been happy about it. Oh, I hope these good mornings last! Do you know what Julia was doing at 6:30 this morning while I was making breakfast? Practicing piano. Because, “I like to start my day with music.”
That wasn’t filmed today. And it’s not exactly piano “practice” so much as fooling around. But. My dentist loves to tease me about how many kids I have. “Trying for a baseball team?” he says.
“I’d be happy with a rock band,” I tell him.
And then Julia plays that song and I rub my hands together and chortle because yessss. My dream is totally coming true one day.
Until then, I plan to continue my origami.
You do remember my origami, don’t you? The origami notes I starting making for Julia, like, two years ago? I used to tweet them now and then along with the silly note I wrote on (or in) them. For example, this origami squirrel:
And the note: “Squirrel! We’re both nuts about you!”
Well, I’m doing it for the girls again this year. Not every day. That was crazy. Do you know how complicated origami can get? I’m doing one a week. Here’s week one:
Notice I didn’t write “Mom” on Julia’s. You know, Middle School.
I’ve had that quote posted somewhere I could read it daily for the past ten years, at least. I struggle with this. I compare. I feel competitive. I believe I’m not good enough. And that insecurity brings out the ugliest in me.
Julia and Lucy performed in a recital at a nursing home recently as part of their summer piano curriculum.
“Julia will play The Happy Farmer,”‘ their piano teacher had told me on the phone the weekend before.
“Oh, not Minuet 1?” Minuet 1 is the most advanced song she’s mastered and, in fact, she’s just about nailed Minuet 2.
“No, she’ll play The Happy Farmer. And Lucy will play…we have a few playing Honeybee already…
“She could play Lightly Row,” I offered.
“Lucy will play Blueberry Popsicle Twinkle.”
“Sounds good,” I said cheerfully. But inside, I was not cheerful.
Inside, I was thinking about the fact that Lucy played Blueberry Popsicle Twinkle at the spring recital two years ago and everyone would think she hasn’t made any progress since then.
Inside, I was remembering the gut-punch that came at The Ribbon Festival the year another student asked Julia, “So what are you playing?” and when she answered, her mom said, “Oh, well….that’s okay.” Because, obviously, she hadn’t kept pace. She was only playing Musette. She wasn’t even in Book Two, yet! (At least that’s what I imagined them pointing out to each other on the way home in their car.)
I hate having those thoughts. I feel so small and petty when I think this way. (Does anyone else think this way? I’m not even sure which answer makes me feel better.) None of it matters. Someone will always play better and be more advanced than my girls are. And there will always be someone that isn’t where they are yet. Comparing just diminishes the hard work they’ve invested and love they’ve developed for piano. Learning and playing music isn’t about being the best – it’s about so much more. But here I was reducing it to a contest, as I do – not out loud, never out loud – but in my head.
Of course, I’ve learned to reel myself in, mostly because I don’t want to curse my kids with my competi-mom brain disease.
I know a little comparison can be good. Watching a friend excel can be good motivation to practice better or more often. And performing in front of an audience of other students and their families – people who truly understand and appreciate the effort and dedication mastering those songs requires – well, it’s a wonderful celebration of their progress.
I just wish I could walk on the middle ground from the get-go, instead of going off the deep end and exhausting myself swimming back to shore and finding it again.
I just want to be okay with things as they are instead of always, always pushing so frantically and desperately for better.
Vacation began, officially, yesterday after Julia’s last day of school.
Check out what pure joy looks like.*
I made the balloon wreath that’s also a game from The 36th Avenue and hung it from the door to welcome her home.
You see, there’s a piece of paper inside each balloon with either a number or a letter T printed on it, and one with a smiley face on it.
The plan was to take it to the back yard, but it was so cold and windy yesterday, we decided to bring it inside. Dave found the box our T.V. came in and hung the wreath from it and we handed the kids some darts.
They all took turns throwing their dart to try and pop the balloons.
(We let Phoebe stand a little closer.)
And when they did, they got to pull pieces of candy from a big bowl according to the number on the paper that was inside it. If they got a T, they took another turn. If they got the smiley face, they got a big pack of Twizzlers. Because Twizzlers in our house are like cigarettes in prison.
It was super fun.
Then we – all of us, even me – headed off to Lucy’s first t-ball game, which they won.
You guys, this is going to be a great summer.
*Can you name the movie that line is from?