I took the whole day off work on July 27th because (like on the day he was born) I wanted to spend every minute I could with him. It occurred to me that he would probably have fun being with his comrades at day care but I think the first birthday is about the parents as well as being about the baby. I felt thrilled for Emmett that he was experiencing a birthday, but also thrilled that he'd already fared better than my houseplants ever have and that we didn't end up dying of sleep deprivation or anything. We all made it to one year. Woohoo!
It's funny, on Mother's Day and on my birthday, I remember secretly thinking, "Hey kid, if you really want to give me a present, you could sleep for an extended period of time." And on both of those occasions, sleep was pretty terrible, enough so that I didn't even bother wishing for a good night of sleep before his birthday. But lo and behold, Emmett slept over nine hours straight on the night of July 26th! What a great way to start the day.
Before Adam left for work, we had him open presents from Grandma and Grandpa and I read him the Dr. Seuss birthday book. Adam came back from work early but having him go in for some period of time was unavoidable. Here I will admit that there are times when I've been alone with Emmett for a whole weekday and would find myself at a loss for what to do all day, but this time around I did some planning ahead of time to avoid this. In fact, I may have overplanned a bit because I didn't get to everything on my list, but that's OK because we have the weekend to do other things.
The first thing on my list was that I was going to bake him a cake. I thought about buying a cake, or at least using a cake mix, but in the end, I had this weird sense that baking a cake from scratch was this thing that I ought to do. In the days leading up to his birthday, I spent a lot of time pondering cake recipes, but in the end, I just used the recipe on the cake pan. I'd bought a cute cake pan that makes cakes in the shape of animals, figuring that if the cakes were in cute shapes, it would make it easy to avoid going crazy with frosting-making and frosting-eating. As always happens, I had most of the ingredients except one: milk. I've obviously read a few too many pieces of pro-breastfeeding literature because I momentarily looked at the expressed milk in the fridge and thought, "hmm, there's at least half a cup there!" Luckily for mankind, I snapped out of it and used some vanilla yogurt instead.
Next, I took Emmett to a storytime event at The Children's Store in Chapel Hill. This storytime was targeted more towards older kids but Emmett did well: he didn't start wandering away until after the third of four books that they read. Given that the store has a lot of cool toys as distractions, I was impressed. Of course, I ended up buying him another present while we were there. I was going to go around to a few other stores in the general area with him but then had a brief "OMG, I don't think I have wipes in my purse" crisis and felt it best to head home. While we were driving around, I made a point of playing various birthday songs on CDs on the car stereo (including tunes by Justin Roberts and Roger Day).
In the afternoon, we got together with some of his and my friends that we haven't seen much of lately, and the afternoon flew by. Adam came home early and we pondered going out to eat, but decided that it would be better to give him lots of time to play with new toys and we ate at home. We managed not to burn the house down during "cake with candle" time. (He actually had 2 opportunities for candle time--one was at Elaine's house earlier in the day--so I got to blow out one candle for him, and Adam got to blow out another one. It's good to share these important parenting duties.)
It was very funny to watch Emmett eat his cake because he basically just picked the whole thing up, held it in his fist and kind of gnawed at it. It was denser than I planned (not using that recipe again!) but tasted pretty good. Avoiding frosting was a good idea at this stage of lief. I probably could have written a novel in the amount of time it took him to finish "eating" it. Much of it ended up in his bib.
After cake time, we assembled his big present and gave him some time to play with it. We bought him a water table to play with outside. It gets so hot here in NC that it's good to have some sort of water-based toy, and I didn't want to get a baby pool since he's cried the few times we've tried those out. However, he did like the water tables at the Carrboro 4th of July celebration and I also thought that it was an appropriate gift for him since one of his hobbies is sticking his hands in the dog's water dish...the water table is like a really big dog dish in some ways. It was slightly uncertain whether the table would actually arrive on his birthday or at some later point, but it arrived while we were out at storytime that morning. He had fun and got very messy, but if you don't get messy on your birthday as a baby, you probably aren't celebrating hard enough.
He conked out after his bath while I was reading him a Sesame Street book about birthdays (The Case of the Missing Duckie), and I was optimistic about another great night of sleep, and well...let's just say that I'm pretty convinced that he's getting a new tooth. (Hmm, that would explain the all-day drooling...) I really enjoyed spending lots of time together and am so happy that this little guy is in the picture. We just love him so much!