A Whole Hand

Hayley is five now. I’ve been a mother for five whole years. We’ve been a family for half a decade. Something about all that just gets to me, you know?

Five feels so big. The age she’ll begin kindergarten. The age she’ll likely start reading. The age she’ll learn to swim. The age she’ll show me she’s been paying attention these past five years, and “it’s ok, mom, I can do this myself.” Five is still plenty little, I know that. But it just feels like the start of something. Something big.

Hayley had school on her birthday so I’d planned to be the parent helper that day. The night before I made some cupcakes and hung up a happy birthday banner we have because even though her party wouldn’t be until the weekend I wanted it to still be festive for the actual day.

Since we were having an under the sea themed party her class got these totally naturally blue cupcakes with fish sprinkles.

Since we were having an under the sea themed party her class got these totally naturally blue cupcakes with fish sprinkles.

On a whim I decided to use some of her sidewalk chalk outside the front door to write her a little happy birthday note and this ended up being a BIG hit. So simple! Cost nothing!

Raise your hand if you are surprised to learn this is STILL outside our door.

Raise your hand if you are surprised to learn this is STILL outside our door.

The morning of her birthday she bounced out of bed and cheerfully got ready for school. Hayley loves school; there aren’t usually battles to get up in the morning on school days, but she seemed especially excited this day. She wore the new shirt she picked out at Disney on Ice which she’d gone to a couple days before with Geoff. She asked for Anna hair that day so I dutifully gave her two braids before we headed downstairs. She had requested blueberry coffee cake for her birthday breakfast, so I’d baked that the night before since I wouldn’t have time the morning of.

The first of many candle-blowing opportunities.

The first of many candle-blowing opportunities.

After breakfast she opened a couple of gifts and we headed to school. I’d noticed by then that she didn’t seem to be her usual self- and Damien had been sick all week. Since neither had a fever at any point I crossed my fingers and kept an eye on her at school. She loved all the attention that goes along with a school-day birthday and enjoyed sharing the cupcakes with her classmates. During recess she ran up to me holding out a little yellow flower she’d picked for me. Something about her little hands holding out this cheerful flower to give me, on her birthday, made me tear up.

Sometimes I'm convinced she's made of pure sweetness.

Sometimes I’m convinced she’s made of pure sweetness.

After school we were all supposed to go out to lunch but Geoff and I decided neither kid seemed up to it. Instead, we stopped at Toys R Us for our traditional birthday trip, which was very brief and hurried this time around but Hayley picked out a cute My Little Pony Spike doll and we headed out. She asked if we could pick up Subway to take home for lunch, and who am I to say no to the birthday girl? Though I maybe wish I had because THE CHATTIEST lady was behind me in line.

Anyway, after lunch we made the decision to postpone Hayley’s party to the following weekend. We just really didn’t want to get anyone sick, and we wanted her to be well enough to really enjoy the day. She took the news well, thankfully. We gave her another gift, a Razor scooter, which is just what you need when you’re sick.

At least it was a beautiful day.

At least it was a beautiful day.

She requested breakfast for dinner, so after nap I made up some pancakes, eggs, and bacon and let her have some chocolate milk to go with it. Instead of a cake, Hayley wanted fondue for her birthday dessert. Well, you don’t have to ask me twice!

Good call, birthday girl.

Good call, birthday girl.

Then it was time for her final gift. She hated it, obviously.

She has quite the poker face.

She has quite the poker face.

Geoff hunted down a Princess Peach game she could play on her own, which is just what she did for pretty much the remainder of the night.

Geoff maybe enjoyed it as much as she.

Geoff maybe enjoyed it as much as she.

Though the party was postponed, some of my family didn’t want to wait to see the birthday girl and give her some gifts so they came over the next day. One of the things my mom gave her is this little table cover that fits over a card table to make a play house. The kids spent all weekend in there. It was the cutest thing I’ve ever seen.

No, really. Cutest.

No, really. Cutest.

So, that following week we’d scheduled well checks for both kids and while they both seem super healthy, Hayley spectacularly failed the eye exam. I tried to explain that while I don’t doubt one or both of our kid(s) will need glasses at some point, I wasn’t convinced that Hayley was having trouble seeing the chart. You see, Hayley hates doing the wrong thing. That means she doesn’t like breaking rules, and she doesn’t like being incorrect. She’d rather just do nothing or not try. Which is what I suspected was going on during the exam. We’ll take her in for another appointment to see what’s going on, but in the meantime Hayley made up her own eye chart to practice.

Because that's just the kind of kid she is.

Because she’s just that kind of kid.

Finally it was the weekend of the party and time for me to start putting all my plans into motion. On Saturday I made some fishbowls

Maybe my favorite.

Maybe my favorite.

and baking sand dollar cookies

Ok, no, these were.

Ok, no, these were.

and then once the kids went to sleep Geoff and I finished up the decorating.

I need to remember to only use my nice words when it is midnight and I'm asking for help...

I need to remember to only use my nice words when it is midnight and I’m asking for help…

At bedtime the night before the party Hayley was stalling and I finally just said, ” I need you to go to bed. I have a lot to do to get ready for your party.” She asked why and I told her that I love her and want her to have a special day to celebrate how special I think she is. So she agreed and went to bed. The next morning she came downstairs and looked at everything, then said to Geoff, “This is all for me? Mommy did this for me??” And I couldn’t jump over the stupid baby gate in the kitchen fast enough to swoop her up in my arms and say, “YES. It’s all for you, baby girl.”

However, back in the kitchen I was prepping some components for the cupcakes and I started to really re-evaluate some of my life choices.

I mean, really. Can you BE anymore of a pain in the ass?

I mean, really. Can you BE anymore of a pain in the ass?

But I pushed on and made some really cute under the sea cupcakes.

Sea turtles!

Sea turtles!

Octopi!

Octopi!

Teddy Grahams rafting! And sun-bathing!

Teddy Grahams tubing! And sun-bathing!

The rest of the menu was pretty normal kid party food, but with silly themed names. Seaweed (spinach) Dip, Octopus’s garden veggies and dip, sea cucumber sandwiches, peanut butter and jellyfish sandwiches, and baked cheesy shells.

And sea life cheese crackers, of course. And Swedish fish. Stuff like that.

And sea life shaped cheese crackers, of course. And Swedish fish. Stuff like that.

Hayley wanted to do a pinata this year, which was exciting because I know I really loved them as a kid and it felt like such a Grown Up thing to do, filling the pinata the night before. However. She wouldn’t budge on what she wanted for the shape of the pinata. I offered a dozen alternatives. She refused them all. Which is how we came to the dolphin beat down portion of the party.

Poor little guy. I tried, I swear.

Poor little guy. I tried, I swear.

Then we all sang her happy birthday one more time and she got to make her final wish on that “5″ candle. It was a great party, we all had such a good time. Hayley loves getting all her people together so she was thrilled so many were able to make it.

Sigh. Five.

Sigh. Five.

***

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m excited to see what all is still in store for our family. Like I said, 5 really feels like the start of something. The next something.

The last something brought me my girl.

My girl who writes me love notes.

I love you, too, sweetheart.

I love you, too, sweetheart.

My girl who takes care of me when I don’t feel well.

You can't see the stuffed animals she brought for me to snuggle.

You can’t see the stuffed animals she brought for me to snuggle.

My girl, who is now five.

My girl

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6 thoughts on “A Whole Hand

  1. Whoa you really ARE the best person on the internet at doing parties! I can’t decide what I like best but I think it’s the sand dollar cookies or maybe the goldfish bowl. SO cute.

    Also I love your chalk idea! So simple! So special! My kids would love that too! Totally stealing that.

  2. You really just throw the BEST parties. That goldfish bowl! Five is so big. They just … come into their own that year. Enjoy!

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