Note: This entry has taken me waaaay too long to complete but hey, it was a very exciting week!
Walker used to say he was “fourah” when asked how old he is. Now he says “TWO PARTY” — probably because we had be preparing him for the string of events that would celebrate his birthday.
We began on Tuesday morning, the day before his birthday. It was what I consider to be a typical chaotic “working mom” day. I wanted to bake the cake and cupcakes so I had time to decorate them later in the evening. After much deliberation between Duncan Heins and cake/icing from scratch, I concluded it was overachieving enough to ice the yummies with an Elmo face so everyone was going to have to choke down very cute looking deserts from a box. So, the easy preparations began at 6:30 am and Walker was the very capable assistant — pouring the water and oil in the bowl and holding the mixer. He was thrilled to help but even happier to lick the spoon (and he made quite a mess of it). I then fed Walker, got him ready for school, dropped him off at Sofiya’s and raced to work in time to give a presentation to the worldwide marketing organization. (It was well-received with over 100 attendees between the two sessions — more than any previous presentation in the series!) After work I carved out a few moments to go to the gym and then home to feed Walker and put him to bed. At 8:30 pm, I started the Elmo challenge — turning white icing, food coloring, ice-cream cone cupcakes and a 6″ round cake, into a legion of Elmos for Toddlers to scarf down without a second thought. (I think they turned out quite well.)
On what he calls his “happy day,” Walker went to his swimming lesson with Grammy Jane and then to Sofiya’s. At 11:30 Larry and I went over to Sofiya’s with Elmo cupcakes and many memory cataloging devices (e.g. cameras) in hand. Walker was exhausted and overwhelmed. Poor kid lept into Daddy’s arms and just said “home?” the entire time his friends sang to him. He was able to get into the dancing and drum playing but there were some tears when we left. Elmo cupcakes were stashed away to be distributed after lunch and nap but we heard they were a hit. Walker had TWO and Sofiya gave him a third on his way out the door to go home. Luckily he only is able to eat a fraction of these things before he gets tired/distracted.
He was greeted by his Pop Pop, Grammy Jane and Uncle Thayer for his family Two Party. Daddy blew up helium balloons to mark the birthday boy’s house so Walker was very excited to come home. We ordered some pizza and started on the present opening. This was a long process due to the tentative way he tears open the packages and the need to play with each item after opening. The first present was his helium balloon adored tricycle. He was THRILLED and immediately hopped on. He figured out the pedals and pushed himself around. However, we noticed he only seemed to go backwards and there was a clicking sound as he moved. “Are there gears on that thing?” inquired Grammy J. “No, I think Larry put the wheel on backwards,” replies Uncle Thayer in a bemused manner. Well, it was true. The little Dude could only back up until the bike was reassembled with the wheel facing the right direction. (Of course, it had taken Larry hours to put the darn thing together because he had to go out and get critical pieces that were not included in the box and the instructions were as clear as if they were translated from English to Sanskrit and back.) We figure this will be the first in a long line of toy assembly mishaps over the coming years. He continued to open many wonderful presents including a set of musical instruments (he loves to wake us up with a loud blow from a recorder or a few heavy-handed bangs on a drum), a few whale-adorned outfits and stuffed toys, books, a growth chart, a letter set, and a variety of Elmo toys. After present opening, we had another baked good in the shape of Elmo — a big cake! Walker blew out his candles and had even more sugar. Unsurprisingly, Walker had some difficulty going to bed despite being exhausted.
The next few days were uneventful but Walker did talk a lot about wanting more Elmo cupcakes.
Saturday was a special event at the Zoo. In celebration of their 80th birthday, Fisher-Price was sponsoring a birthday party show featuring they’re Little People toy line. We went to the member’s only event at 9am and it was fun to go to the zoo before it officially opened. We all gathered under the big tent and all the kids were wearing the special crowns they distributed. Walker was of course, the cutest child wearing his crown and the “Junior Zookeeper” vest his Daddy gave him for his birthday. The rest of the morning was spent playing on the playground, watching the bears feeding, checking out the baby Gorilla, having 80 cent hot dogs (Walker had one and a half), and buying a history of the SF Zoo written by a 16 year old. Walker was exhausted and was fast asleep in his stroller before we left the zoo grounds.
Daddy decided to let Walker sleep in the stroller for his nap so he walked him home. It was a beautiful day and they both enjoyed the fresh air. I sped home in the car and quickly made a second batch of cake and cupcakes and popped it in the oven. Of course, I went through the whole Elmo decorating dance on Saturday night after Walker went to bed.
After nap Walker wanted to take a ride on his new bike. Walker and I ventured out to the beach with his bike and his wagon filled with sand toys. It was very warm and the tide was high. There were many, many fishermen on the beach and Walker started playing in the sand. He sent me to get water in his bucket a few times but then decided to go with me. We walked up toward the water and he wanted me to pick him up. He’s never even liked to have the waves come over my feet while I hold him so it was notable when he encouraged me to walk forward into the waves. A wave came up and swept past my ankles. Walker smiled. He wanted to stand in the water. I let him down and he stood in the water as a wave receded. A wave came up and he stood his ground. He squealed and giggled. We spent the next thirty minutes playing in the waves. It appears he has overcome his fear of the ocean and I can honestly say that was one of the very, very best times of my entire life.
Sunday was Walker’s friend party and it was lots of fun. He had two little friends come — Malcolm who is also 2 and Lucas who is 15 months. They weren’t sure how to play together but they were all brought together through the tight bonds of Elmo cupcakes. By the end of the party, Walker was running to each of the kids pretending to be a lion. Sofiya came by as well and Walker was a bit perplexed. When she arrived, he knit his little brow and you could see the thought bubble, “How can she be HERE? This is my house. Shouldn’t she be at school?”
Mommy and Daddy had fun as well. We had a few close friends come and even some of our neighbors stopped by. The day couldn’t have been more beautiful — it was sunny and warm so we all hung out on the patio which is a luxury in the Sunset during June. I think Walker really enjoyed his birthday and I know we’ll have great memories of a fun and stress-free second birthday. I’m hoping we are beginning a trend for future years.
Adobe was shut down the week following Walker’s birthday and once again, I had a long list of things to accomplish. Of course, I didn’t get everything done but I can say, I got a bunch of paperwork and errands done. I was also able to get in a bike ride — the first in over a decade. I had a fantastic ride around Lake Merced along the ocean and all the way through Golden Gate Park and back. According to mapmyride.com, it appears the ride was 20.26 miles! And other than having a bit of a sore tush — bike seats are just not comfortable — I never even got sore.
One of the BIG objectives for the week was to clean out the garage. In my mind, that meant going through a bunch of boxes and get donate/sell/toss stuff. While that didn’t happen, we were able to make significant headway. I was able to find a buyer for a new 3′ x 4′ window we never used in our construction project and we rented a U-Haul van and took 500lbs of old junk to the dump (unusable ladders, car seats, file cabinets, etc. Thank goodness 70% of SF garbage gets recycled)!
One highlight was on Independence Day, we took one of many of our on demand bike “rides” (which is not exactly the case as Walker rides for a bit but spends more time walking or being carried). We passed a neighbor’s house and she stopped us to chat about Walker. She invited us to sit in her garden and then proceeded to fill us with wine (mango juice for Walker), cookies, and stories about the 32 years she’s lived on our street. She’s 75 and has seen many kids grow up here. Her own son married a girl who lived across the street. We are finally getting to know our neighbors and feel an even deeper attachment to our wonderful home.
One errand we completed was to purchase an iPhone for Larry. It’s been quite a lot of fun for both the big and little boy as evidenced by the video below. (For the uninitiated, Walker and Larry are playing with the Star Wars Lightsaber applications on the iPhone so they can have a laser sword duel.) You’ll notice that Walker chose this last weekend to begin saying his name which he does with confidence. “What is your name?” “Wa KER!”
Back to work and hopefully shorter, more frequent posts.
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