Saturday, February 25, 2012

Birthday, at Last

Keane is almost fourteen months now, and I still haven’t covered his birthday! It was pretty identical to the one the dink had when he turned one—at Maman and Papa’s house with both his grandparents and his favorite cousins there. But if I compare the way that the two boys acted at their first birthday parties, it really shows (at least to me) their differences. I feel bad already for Keane because he is always measured in the way that he compares to his brother, but that is only because it’s the only point of reference I have. And we actually do the same for the dink now, only in hindsight. For example, I now know that the dink has had an inordinate thirst for milk and juice throughout his toddlerhood, and I realize that because his brother drinks half of what he did at the same age!

But back to the party. The dink’s main interest at his first birthday was crawling around chasing balloons. We could have, and probably should have, only gotten him a sack of balloons as presents because he had virtually no interest in each of the age-appropriate toys that were passed in front of him. Until the dink was 18 months old, I held the honest belief that all baby toys are unworthwhile and stupid because babies don’t actually learn how to play with toys until they’re toddlers. But turns out it was just my baby. Because K enjoyed the heck out of all of D’s infant toys that got no use the first time around. He actually shook rattles and held soft animals and even swung his arms at bright objects dangled above his head. And so he took an interest in all of his birthday gifts—just about the only things he can call his own. So that was the first notable thing to me at the party. The second notable thing to me is that my mom and Jon’s mom have a habit of buying the boys the same gifts. For D, it was the exact same little green four-wheeler for Christmas one year. Then at K’s baptism, they both gave him religious-themed nightlights. And for this birthday, a multi-leveled racetrack/garage for cars. Same brand and everything—just in different sizes. I don’t like to have to tell the grandparents what to buy the kids all the time, but I think at some point, I may have to make them at least run it by me for approval first!

The third and most notable thing at Keane’s birthday party was his genuine, enthusiastic, and absolutely precious enjoyment of being the center of attention. He’s doing so well with his talking, and he was actually trying to say “cheese” and giving out grin after grin at each camera that flashed at him. I had so many just perfect snapshots of him cheesing it up with his party hat on, opening presents and trying his cake…but unfortunately my camera freaked out some time after the party and spontaneously deleted all of those photos and others. But it’s a memory I’ll always keep. A really remarkable one to me when I reflect over baby K’s first year, and how unhappy and trying he was as an infant, and how I actually prayed that the first year would fly by so we could get out of the never-ending, fussy-baby period and finally arrive at the days of smiling, walking, playing, sleeping, and mutually enjoying each other and our lives. But I realized as K played nicely for his audience at the party and smiled accordingly, that we actually have finally arrived. (And each week since his party we have been arriving a little bit more.) So while I thank God for the first year of a life that he trusted me with, I also thank him for the possibility of a second, much easier one.