Today was Hazel’s fourth birthday. Four years ago this evening I’d had her on my chest for the first time, she was in the NICU, and I was recovering from an unplanned C-section. I didn’t feel so great, but I was enchanted. Ted and I both were. We couldn’t believe we had a newborn, and that she was so stunningly beautiful, so focused, so present as such a tiny little person. She was a gift to us.
This morning started off with a birthday snuggle in bed together. When our morning nanny arrived, she’d brought Hazel a birthday present with a very high excitement quotient, a rainbow-colored kite. They took it off to the park while I fed the babies, and flew it. Hazel got to run with it up in the sky. The excitement quotient rose exponentially. There are marvelous pictures of her enormous smile. I’m looking forward to more flying of the kite this weekend. Then, Ted came home, and we all went to Hazel’s swim lesson. We’d gotten permission to bring the babies, too, since it’s a Tots’ class. For whatever reason, there were only two other kids there in a class that’s usually at least 6 kids, so it was a pretty relaxed session. It was great fun to have all three of them in the water together. I’m going to sign the twins up for a class soon, and I’ll take them with our nanny, who loves the water as much as I do and is therefore fun to be in the pool with. Hazel got to try a noodle floatation device, and actually asked Ted multiple times to let go so she could float on her own. She was very excited, lots of big smiles. After class, our nanny and I got the twins and ourselves ready, and Hazel went out to play in the little playground with another girl in the class. Then we had birthday lunch. Our other nanny came to join us, bringing with her a birthday present book to share. I think each of us read it to her during the meal.
We also got some food for the babies. Note to self: bring bibs! We hardly go out to restaurants anymore, for a variety of reasons, but bibs would make the whole thing go more smoothly. Babies coated with food tend to spread it around all over the place. Our waitress came over to admire our kids and stayed for a while talking. The twins make people happy. They tend to inspire conversation, interaction, and general positivity when we’re out and about.
Our server brought Ted’s toast with a candle stuck in for Hazel to blow out, and we sang Happy Birthday for the first time of the day.
When we got home, it was most definitely, positively, and without a shred of doubt, NAPTIME! Everyone was very ready. I got myself set up with a laptop to work on photos, but after a bit I found my eyes closing, and I scooched down to snooze too. Having two very warm babies lying on me, I eventually woke up boiling, but it was lovely to sleep. Shortly after I woke up, Emily did too, so we went downstairs and played for a bit, before skyping with my parents for a while. When Hazel came down during our conversation, she was in a bad mood, as she said, not ready to talk. She wouldn’t come around and say hi. And when her aunt and cousin called to tell her happy birthday, she wouldn’t get on the phone. This was quite unusual; as a rule she loves to talk to her cousin. I think she’d already just had quite a lot of input. So, we let her take her time and chill, and eventually she warmed up when our friends came over to share birthday dinner, which was gf mac & cheese (but I couldn’t resist improving upon the packaged cheese sauce with more of my own) and carrots & bell peppers. Simple, but plenty tasty. After dinner we walked down to a desert place in our neighborhood and brought back birthday spoils, including an amazing earl grey flavored custard. And then, after desert, it was time to open presents. My brother and sister-in-law had sent some wonderful things, and we had a few things for her, as well as our friends. Hazel opened a couple, and then passed out more to each of us so we could take turns opening gifts. “There’s plenty to go around!” she said.
After our friends left, a student and his mother showed up to pick up his cello (they’d left with me for a day or so). He is one of Hazel’s absolute favorite people in the world. She was happy to draw with him while we chatted with his mom. At one point during that conversation while I had the babies in my lap, we had another first: Joanna reached over and pulled Emily’s hair! She cried. Portents of things to come, I am sure. We had a lovely time talking. They live in our neighborhood, and we run into them occasionally. We’re thinking we should get together some afternoon and go the park, and my student can teach Hazel the basics of soccer. By the time they left this evening, it was two hours past Hazel’s regular bedtime. What a day! I love, love, love my community. I am glad to have such wonderful people with whom my kids will grow up. They are all so loved.