This was the boy’s pre-birthday weekend, also known as The Third Birthday! Family Edition.
It would have been a lot more enjoyable if the boy hadn’t been recovering from the gastro and fighting the humidity (hello high summer, you were not invited to this party). He wasn’t at his best. We don’t see my parents very often, so there were things scheduled pretty much every moment the boy was awake: a picnic, home for nap, visiting with friends, bedtime, brunch, nap, the family party with both sets of grandparents. His naptimes and bedtimes were all over the place, and so many people around him all the time was a stress too. He’s also still feeling stressed from last week’s final resolution of potty training and the end of the sippy cups. The poor kid couldn’t focus on everything, and there were one or two meltdowns. On top of that, the kid is only three! We tried to keep him calm and give him the reassurance and comfort he needed when he asked for it, despite remarks about it.
There’s a reason I don’t hype up parties or Christmas: it’s not fair to either the child who can’t understand the need for things to happen in a certain order or the requisite passage of time, or to the adults having to deal with a hyped-up child. So I directed presents into my office and didn’t mention the cake, otherwise dinner (my father-in-law’s excellent ribs!) would have been completely miserable for everyone. I only told the boy that there would be a surprise after dinner. Well, the surprise of dessert got ruined, but fortunately near enough to serving the cake that we didn’t have to field a hellion of a child. He was thrilled with it, especially the Smarties spelling out his name, and didn’t wait for us to finish singing Happy Birthday before he started blowing out his candles. The surprise of presents was also ruined but by Liam himself who ran into my office after his nap and saw the gifts (not completely out of sight around the corner, alas), then gleefully sank his fingers into one and started ripping the paper off. He cried with frustration when I made him stop and told him to wait until everyone was sitting down with a cool drink. He was very enthusiastic about all the presents when he was allowed to open them, though, and wanted to sleep with most of them: clothes from both sets of grandparents, an easel and art supplies from my parents, and Thomas the Tank Engine pieces from HRH’s parents.
We also enjoyed a quick visit from Ceri and Scott in the late afternoon, as they were borrowing our cat carrier, and so Liam got to open his gift from them while they were there. I am so glad, because they got to see Liam’s joy when he took off the paper and found handmade Totoros and soot sprites!
So Ceri continues her streak of awesome handmade gifts! In the end he agreed to sleep with only all the Totoros and soot sprites, some of his new train cars, and a book. This morning, right after his cereal, he insisted on painting at the easel that HRH had finished setting up after the boy was in bed last night. It was half an hour before I could tidy it all up and get him out the door.
Thank you, everyone! Overall it was a good weekend, through the ups and downs. There was lots of laughter, walking in the sand on a tiny beach at Windmill Point where I used to play when I was small, bubbles, swinging, playing, watering the plants, many cuddles, and stories.
ETA: How could I forget dancing in the thunderstorm last night, after such a hot, hot day? HRH deliberately stood out on the balcony in the heavy rain while the rest of us stood in the shelter or the kitchen and watched the lightning. Liam jumped out and back in again while laughing, and even splashed and danced in his bare feet for a bit before seeking shelter again. There was much giggling and shrieking. The kids next door were doing it, too, and counting between the lightning and thunderclaps to see how close the storm was. It was a fabulous way to end the weekend, and the birthday celebration.