Ambrose turning 2 was hard. Really, it was. He was my first baby, and admittedly potentially my only baby. We'd love another, or even a few others, but life gives no guarantees so I chose to wholeheartedly indulge in his babiness while I still could.
Even so, while Ambrose turning 2 was hard, Ambrose being 2 is just fine. Perfect, in fact. I've had a two year old, I'm on familiar ground, and this time I'm doing it with a highly verbal, healthy, and firmly attached child which makes it so much more fun. I'm loving my little guy being two years old!
So I thought I could handle the growing up thing... and THEN, Paxton turned six.
Six years old.
That's, like, 72 months.
Okay, so three was hard (how could I have a three year old when I'd only been a mom for a year?) , and four was hard because that was so less babyish, and then five was hard because that's the year you start school and he was so big and it's just such a kid year, not a little kid year, but at least five is at the precipice of kid years.
Six years old is firmly into kid territory.
School aged, reading, writing, knowing too much of the world already territory.
And man "six" does not roll off my tongue the way "five" did!
Maybe it's my own "big" birthday coming up (OMG the big 3-0 next summer!) but having a six year old makes me feel like I'm getting older, and not in that cool "wiser" way but in that totally uncool "mom, you're so old!" kinda way.
I'm sure I'll get used to it. In a few weeks, I probably won't have to correct myself when saying his age and it'll just seem normal to me.
And then next year he'll be seven...
So I should note that his birthday went off without a hitch. Not drama, no tears, no melt downs, no fights, nothing!
The days leading up to his birthday I tried to make super fun. I had to take him out of school early on Tuesday for a dentist appointment, and he was just so, so sad about missing math and PE and being with his friends. I decided to make it up to him by taking him to a huge bouncy castle place, the same spot he'd wanted to have his birthday party before we nixed the idea (too crowded by far, as well as pricey!). It was just my two guys and two other kids for the whole two hours we were there! 6 huuuuge bouncy castles between 4 children. Um, yes, I like those numbers!
Wednesday afternoon was Chuck E Cheese, and then birthday morning we were all up early enough that I let him pick a breakfast location (Waffle House of all places!) and we all dropped him off at school as a family. Gotta make my boy feel special :)
We brought in cupcakes to his class during snack time and everyone sang happy birthday for him. He was super excited! When everyone started to sing he sort of had this plastered smile on his face, totally awkward, not accustomed to being on the receiving end even though he'd been anticipating it for weeks. He locked his eyes with mine and didn't look away until the song was over. I guess even as a big six year old mommy is still his safe harbor :-)
That was Thursday, and that night we did our normal birthday dinner at a local Mexican restaurant. We all ate way too much, including appetizers, and then we had them do their birthday thing where they come out with a flan and put a huge colorful Sombrero on his his while singing loudly, then dip his nose in whipped cream and clap. He had been looking forward to this and asking about it since Ambrose's birthday dinner.
So he was super psyched to get his own public humiliation!
Friday I picked him up from school and we went out and bought his cake, and a balloon, and ate about a million free samples of food at the grocery store. Seriously, I don't know how they expect you to buy any food when they practically give you a full meal just from walking in the door! P picked an ice cream cake, since he doesn't like regular cake or any bready sweets really.
Saturday was party day, and as we had 5 kids coming over with seriously nothing planned, I rushed out to buy some party games. Nik, P and I set up the house, with an adult seating circle upstairs (let's face it, the grown ups come to chat!), a pinata filled with good candy hanging from the pergola, the table pulled out and set up with an array of snacks and drinks, and several little "game" stations downstairs with things like the game Go Fishing on one and a craft on another and "make your own candy necklaces" on another. We taped streamers over the snacks and balloons around the house, and also blew up punching balloons for the kids to casually play with.
So it was my first "kid" party (not baby or toddler) at my house and you know what?
It. Was. Awesome.
I would totally do it again in a heartbeat. The whole party was nothing but laughter and squealing in fun, the cost was low, the set up and clean up was pretty fast (I had the kids find and pop all the balloons for me!), and even the adults seemed to have a great time. The only thing that surprised me was how much the kids loved the chickens! They all gathered the eggs for me, just because, and I had to make them all wash their hands haha! I got this close to setting up Mario Kart on the Wii for the kids to play together in a little Wii tournament, but I figured I'd save that as my secret weapon if the party went South. Never had to touch the TV! And given that we're talking kids in the 5-8 range, they were all kind and respectful and well behaved and, well, it was just a perfect number of kids and a perfect party. I think my favorite part is split between the pinata, which took just the right number of hits to break and was a huge hit, and the end of the party after all the presents were opened when P took his new playdough toy out onto the deck (that stuff's not allowed anywhere near my carpets!) with all of the children and even though they were sugared up and excited they all sat quietly and played together wonderfully with the new toy. All the adults, including us, were in awe!
So his birthday is officially over, and he wasn't immediately bumped up to first grade so I won that argument, and he's a little mopey about the fact that it's over with but not depressed. Instead he's just psyched to fly his RC helicopter for its 5 minutes of battery charge and read his many new books and eat the leftover snacks.
So last year? I arranged 4 parties for my kids in 6 weeks time. This year just two. Last year I swore I'd never do something that that again. This year, I had a blast and I'd totally do the low-key at home party again. Guess I've learned my lesson :-) See? You can teach and "old mom" new tricks!
Lily in a loafing barn
6 months ago