Edith turned two last week. We had a COVID exposure, so we had to push her little party to another day, but it wasn’t much to move, since like her first birthday, it was just me, her grandparents, and her nanny. A friend recently pointed out to me that I’m nearing the end of the period where Edith won’t have friends and I can get away with not throwing her a party, and it was another one of those “oh” moments where I realized that I’d never thought about the fact that parenting would involve orchestrating and executing birthday gatherings for children. I mean, I’m never going to be an elaborate party thrower, but even a small gathering at the house with activities and goody bags is well outside of my comfort zone and current skillset.
Edith is very into ducks lately, so I got a bunch of duck stuff to decorate with and on the day of her party, her grandpa took her in the backyard to play while we set everything up. I had a duck banner and duck tablecloth and duck plates and napkins and duck hanging thingies and best of all, I had 50 little neon-colored plastic ducks. Initially, I had envisioned a backyard party with the ducks filling Edith’s little wading pool, but it turned cold again here unexpectedly and we couldn’t do water stuff. So instead, I just put them all around the house — I lined them up on the living room carpet and all around the playroom and all over her playroom table and in the hall.
When we let her in, she saw the ducks on the rug right away, and she said, “Oh!” And then she ran over to them and squatted down and said, “Oh!” And then she said, “Ducks!” And then she looked at me and past me, she saw some ducks on a table, and she stood up and she said, “More ducks!” And then she ran around trying to gather up every single duck and hold them all at once, which was of course impossible, so I brought her a bucket, and then she spent probably half an hour taking all the ducks to the bucket and then when they were all in it, emptying the bucket duck-by-duck and lining them all up on her little table, and then putting them all back in the bucket again.
She was so delighted, and so surprised, and why can’t we all just be children? Why can’t we be a world full of children forever? If I had known what perfect pure joy I would derive from watching a two-year-old discover $25 worth of plastic ducks scattered around the living room, I probably would have had a baby directly after high school and done nothing else in life but raise an endless series of toddlers.
But I just have the one, and she’s already two, and tomorrow she’s going to be 20. I didn’t get Edith any presents (other than one giant stuffed duck with five baby stuffed ducks in its zipper pouch) because she already has so many toys and she’s never really been all that interested in toys. I keep shoveling out her playroom and putting the toys she isn’t playing with in the guest room, and then the next day somehow the playroom is absolutely packed with bits and bobs and books and bits of paper and plastic spiders again. I cannot seem to keep on top of it. So I am not buying toys anymore.
We did also have a cake (which said, due to a miscommunication at the bakery, “Happy Birthday, Eden Grandpa”) and Edith was grabby and excited about it, but after she had a few mouthfuls, she ran off to attend to her ducks again, and us adults were able to have a lengthy and uninterrupted conversation at the table.
Oh, it was also my dad’s birthday, but nobody cared (least of all him).
haha the birthday cake – glad to know it was also your dad’s party, (quote unquote) otherwise that cake reads like a text message.
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