We kicked off the first of several birthday celebrations yesterday. (Friend party still to come.)
“Your homemade pizza” was requested. I was flattered. I thought all the kids preferred bought. Albus and I went shopping for supplies and taste-tested several types of pepperoni. He attempted to keep me focused and on-budget. “I think you’re buying too much cheese, Mom.” Yes, we were at Vincenzo’s, and yes, I bought several small and expensive creamy stinky cheeses that had nothing to do with pizza making.
I topped one pizza with a mixture of onions, grated zucchini, cream, thyme, salt and pepper. That was my favourite. I topped another with seasoned oil, green pepper, mushroom, and ribbons of mild thinly-sliced salami (the meat we’d decided tasted best). That was for my lactose-intolerant brother, and it looked pretty good for a cheeseless pizza. The rest of the pizzas had some combination of salami, green pepper, mushroom, romano, parmesan, mozzarella, on a tomato base. I made five pizzas. There was not a lot leftover.
I also turned the extra onion/zucchini/cream mixture into a base for a salad. Added more grated zucchini, chopped cabbage, salt and pepper. It was pretty oniony, it must be said. But I made a new discovery: cream is an oddly delicious salad dressing. Just cream.
The cake was yesterday’s project for the kids. Their babysitter Emma planned it all out, with input from the birthday girl, and it was pretty spectacular. We had to invite Emma and her family over to help us eat it all! Four layers! Marzipan! A beach scene! Edible letters!
The dogs were introduced to their sweet dog cousin Winston, with predictable results. Frenzied violent barking from Suzi. Some backing-up-my-sis barking from DJ, who quickly mellowed and made friends. Continued frenzy from Suzi. We are trying to reward good behavior with treats, so when she stopped, she got rewards. Within about fifteen minutes all three dogs were loose in the yard, though it still felt like an unpredictable situation. We would love to take the dogs out and about (say, to hang out on the soccer sidelines), but we will need to solve the frenzy before we’re comfortable doing that.
And I’m back to talking about the dogs again, I see. I’m becoming a bore!
But there wasn’t much left to tell re birthday celebrations. Gifts. Happy Birthday singing (CJ has a surprisingly powerful, and in-tune, voice!). Candle blowing. Cake-eating. Sugar-induced bedtime meltdowns. The day was done. And now my baby girl is seven.
taken last night: still six!
six, plus dogs
It’s funny, but Kevin and I have both been experiencing similar feelings of vague anxiety since the arrival of the doggies on Monday. It reminded me of something — but what? And then I realized. It reminded me of having a baby, and everything that gets stirred up in the aftermath of the birth.
Excitement is one of the emotions, of course.
But as new parents, each time, we wondered how we would cope, would we know what to do, how would our routines need to change, would we be able to meet everyone’s demands, and how could we return our family’s life to equilibrium? (Patience, patience, patience is the answer, of course.)
Seven years ago today, right about now in fact (around 2pm), I gave birth to our second daughter, and third child. She was born in hospital due to complications (our only child born at the hospital), but the birth was much like my other births: quick, once it got going.
If she’d been a boy, we would have named her Walter.
We stayed long enough to eat a meal in hospital, then drove home. All of four blocks. Four blocks of me panicking in the backseat beside my precious brand-new baby girl who looked entirely too small to be strapped into a carseat. We hadn’t had to make that hospital-to-home trip before.
The recovery was relatively easy, in retrospect, without medical complications. She was an easy baby; our easiest, it must be said. Loved to eat. Slept well. Unfussy. Happy in her sling. Big toothless grins, and a beautiful bald head. I remember taking the three kids grocery shopping when she would have been no more than a week and a half old. In other words, we coped. We did just fine. And soon, we were well on our way to being comfortable as a family of five.
But there’s no doubt that Kevin and I both felt overwhelmed in the days following her birth.
And I’m feeling that — in much smaller doses — with the arrival of our two dogs. How will this change our routines? Will they fit in? What are their quirks and unexpected behaviors? How do we all fit together?
As I type, both are napping in my office, looking about as content as a pair of dogs could look. I went for a swim this morning, and was surprised by how happy I was to see them when I got home. (They were happy to see me too, and nothing beats being greeted by living creatures thrilled to mark one’s arrival.)
now she is seven
Today is a birthday, a special day for our family, and especially for one little (big) newly seven-year-old girl. She started the morning by opening presents. After opening each one, she gave spontaneous heart-felt hugs to her siblings. She requested that her last-night-of-being-six photo include the dogs. She is a loving soul who sometimes gets squeezed by her position in the middle and has to demand attention. We didn’t time the arrival of the dogs to coincide with her birthday, but I think they’re bringing out good things in her: love, and care, and thoughtfulness.
We’re looking forward to a party tonight to celebrate our girl. On the menu (her request): homemade pizzas, and a cake that is being baked and frosted even now with help from a wonderful babysitter.
Kevin and I will figure this out, again. I’m sure.
Happy birthday, Fooster.
I want nothing more than to write a big fat juicy post about our weekend. But I’m on a tight deadline. So here’s the quick and dirty version.
Soccer girl played six games in a tournament this weekend. Kev took the the first two days, and I went yesterday. That way we could manage to run errands, do some gardening, and not have to drag the other kids along. Her team finished with a bronze medal and a lot of happy faces.
Yesterday our eldest turned eleven. It was a good party, from what I hear. My great regret is that I spent virtually the entire day not with my eleven-year-old. AppleApple and I were off early for the tournament, and home later than expected. The party was already in full swing. I had just enough time to download photos from the various cameras I’m testing out before changing into soccer gear myself.
Off to play in the pouring rain! On a weird field with a wide strip of mulch and grass seed sweeping across it! Against a team of 19-year-old girls who had a coach and a full line of subs! (My team is, well, my age-ish, and had two subs.) I was tentative and terrified for the first ten minutes, but finally got my foot on the ball, and then it got better. There’s nothing like playing a new sport to make you feel out of shape, but I quickly figured out that I would recover from the sprints; thankfully, I have endurance. I badly need better ball-handling skills. And to hold my body differently against the big contact players. (I felt very very small, let me tell you.) But it was really fun.
eleven for real
And then I came home and spent some time snuggling my big eleven-year-old boy, who was feeling kind of sad that I’d missed his whole day. Me too. In fact, that feels like most my days right now — rushed and hurried and squeezed. Am I running on adrenalin? Will I wear myself out? What am I missing???
A poem for this day
I am swept along
I am a still point in a river that will not quit its rushing
I am immersed in the world
I am blessed
I am not to understand everything and not to take anything
I am given to grace and place
I am sure as a branch and broken as a branch
I am breath and brilliance and calm
While I am, I am
With love with fierceness with the selfness of ongoing until
Burn in the water flame in the soil flicker in the darkness of a house at midnight
A happy birthday morning.
How does it feel to be four? (An impossible question that somehow begs to be asked.)