It will be in installments because that’s how birthdays work in our family. There is the big birthday dinner at Grandma’s house, and then whatever else happens after that. The dinner happened early because of scheduling stuff, and it’s not like Little Little birthday girl cared. There was cake. And just to warn you…this might be a long post. Babies turning two make mothers wax philosophical.
Three words. Elven Princess Hair. It’s not often I leave it down, as her conditioner of choice is bananas and what ever lunch was. Not to mention she has my tender head times 87. But it makes me sigh with giddy mom-joy (I’m serious) when I leave it down, especially right after I’ve washed it and pinned her down while she screamed so I could brush it. It is so soft and long and perfect. Someone knew I couldn’t take another bald baby girl, so Layna has long beautiful hair. [sigh].
Dinner was great. Fruit salad and steamed broccoli are her favorite things in life, but we added baked potatoes for the rest of us. Then we dove into presents. She was thrilled that someone gave her a big gold bow. I think she would have been perfectly content with a bag of bows…kids, man. Daddy helped her understand that there was much more and with two very expert siblings she quickly was tearing through. Get it? Tearing? Yay for birthday puns. Ahem.
So the cake. This is what started me off into philosophical land. Cake will do that to a person.
Sometimes it sucks having a daughter with Down Syndrome. Mostly because there are stupid, pesky things like birthdays to remind me that she even has it. 99% of the time she is just Layna. Perfectly herself, some what ageless and always super cute. But then a birthday (or obnoxious person at the store, or therapy eval, or, or, or) comes along and reminds me that, to the rest of the world, she is kind of behind. A bit slow. On a kid’s first birthday you expect them to not know what is going on at all. Mom chooses the cake and the party is for the pictures. By two, though, most kids have an opinion and they are starting to get that all the hoopla is for them. Not so much for her. She loved it but didn’t get it was for her. She loved the cake but doesn’t like anything enough for me to easily do a themed cake. Garyn had Curious George and Naomi had this. It was a hard reminder that she is different and that while someday she will be a Party Queen, right now she is behind and slow and all the other crap that goes with Down Syndrome. I didn’t want my baby to be broken. People say, “But she’s not, she’s perfect just the way she is, She’s so [fill in trite sugary platitude].” Nope, she is broken. Her body didn’t form correctly. Doesn’t mean it wasn’t supposed to be this way or that she won’t do amazing things or be perfectly who she was meant to be on this earth. But no one chooses this. And that’s ok. She doesn’t need to be sugar coated. She is awesome and has her own inborn supply of sassy glittery sugar, thank you very much.
Speaking of Sassy Glitter Sugar, right about when I was really starting to cry and be sad about all of the above…she started taking steps on her own. Totally made me cry for different reasons. And as if taking steps wasn’t showing off enough, she is saying “more.” Her own variation, but it’s consistent and it’s spoken words. It reminds me that someday she’ll call me “Mommy”. I know it will be worth the wait and there is nothing like a two year old showing off to snap you out of a pity party.
Back to cake. After a preliminary poke, she promptly double-fisted it into her mouth. It was a cheesecake with ground nut crust and only sweetened with honey, so we could both eat it (I think gluten and her tummy don’t do so well together). Crust here. Rest of cake here. It was a hit with everyone, including my sisters who usually ask (with arched, concerned eyebrows), if I make anything, “is this…healthy?”
It’s always a good night when you get pictures of goofy siblings , and a gruff old man reading fairytales to his great-grand daughter.
More to come from her actual birthday on Monday.