I still remember Zuzu’s first birthday and our multiple attempts to make the day memorable for her that no matter how hard we tried still felt forced and fumbling. On the day itself she went to school like any other, but being good working parents we brought tiny cupcakes to her class and gathered the little ones around to sing. She stared at us with her hands raised into their up demand and cried a little when it was met with a cupcake thrust into it. She peered at us even more curiously when we didn’t gather her things and head out to the car but instead sat down at the little round toddler tables and handed out cupcakes. She rose again and again, tugging first at my shirt, and the at her dad’s with growing concern at this break in routine. In the middle of all of the rising, and tugging, and resettling her cupcake was stolen by a neighboring child who had no trouble whatsoever at this change in routine.
Later that weekend we gathered a Publix cake frosted colorfully with the Baby Einstein catepillar and joined some friends at our local zoo and then the Whole Foods eating area to share the cake. Again, a nice outing, but not really “us”. We tried later to tie some balloons to her chair and sing with a lit mini-cake for the perfect photo op. My lens was met with cries for yogurt and to nurse, shreiks from the balloon wafting into her line of sight and further tears over the frosting that landed in her tired eyes as she swiped at them.
The next year w did better with a party at her local park. Nervous glances were still seen though as we sang to her over her Elmo cake. The year after that we even managed to coordinate the party favors with the help of a local friend’s handiwork that crated little felt capes to fly the children around the park before diving into a homemade Wordgirl cake. Her favorite character to date.
The next year we bounced at a local pizza place and after that we went with a gymnastics party which was a good call for the rowdy, multi-aged crowd we tended to include.
But this year, this year the party finally felt like us. We rented a bounce house that luckily for us would remain in our yard for the full weekend. We had a cake decorated by our favorite German Bakery with purple frosting and her beloved Momo’s ( her monkey lovies) decked out in pink hairbows. The party was made to order and Zuzu was tickled. We managed to also dodge the issue of too many presents with such a crowd by instead requesting each child bring a book to exchange for a new book. It was a beautiful fall weekend and by far my favorite of the celebrations of all things Zuzu. Happy Sixth year my dear- you are so very loved!