It's true, our babies won't remember us rocking them to sleep at night, playing peekaboo, or the first time they saw a real, live duck. But knowing this doesn't stop me from trying my darnedest to make every day Carter has his happiest. Because I believe that while all these experiences are still fleeting from his mind, the love and happiness we smother him with will stick with him and shape the person he grows into. The events may not matter, but the feelings absolutely do. I think a happy demeanor can be taught and instilled long before we have the capacity to hold onto the memories we bring into adulthood.
So, while I took into consideration that the balloons, cakes and presents will be forgotten, I decided I wanted to hold true to my baby raising philosophy and make his birthday more filled with smiles than any of the other days during his first year.
Matt took off work to spend the day with us. When Carter woke up, we both went into his room to say happy birthday. He was stunned to see his Daddy there greeting him. We went downstairs to find three, bright, shiny balloons waiting for us. For breakfast, he slurped milk and picked at piles of scrambled eggs and corned beef hash.
We packed up snacks and drinks and went to the aquarium. Carter got to see colorful jellyfish, smelly hippos, unnourished penguins, scary sharks and friendly sting rays. His fingers clutched his stuffed sea turtle souvenir while he napped on the car ride home.
We made an unplanned stop at our a local pumpkin farm and picked out about 10 pumpkins to decorate his party on Sunday. Driving home, we decided picking out pumpkins is a great idea for a birthday tradition we should carry out every year.
When we got home, we sat with his first birthday presents in the living room and showed him how to rip the paper. He helped his daddy assemble toys while I went to the kitchen and baked yellow cupcakes with chocolate frosting and colored sprinkles. He's such a picky eater, so I wasn't sure how the cupcakes would go over ... but he was inundated in chocolate bliss ten seconds after the candle was blown out and the flavor hit his tongue.
After an extended bath time with his new Yo Gabba Gabba squirt toys, we read him On the Night You Were Born. He occasionally yanked the book from our hands and attempted reading it to himself in his own, personal baby babble.
It wasn't until I was in the dark, nursing him to sleep that I got a little bit emotional and let some tears slip. This
should ideally could be one of the last times I nurse him. I started to doubt myself and the day we gave him, I worried that it could have been better. I mostly just didn't want his birthday to be over, and it made me a little panicky; I wanted to show him more exciting things, I wanted to let him crawl and giggle, I wanted to give him more. I reminded myself that I have tomorrow. I am so, so lucky to have hundreds of tomorrows to share with him; just because today was his birthday didn't mean I had to give out all the love in one single day.
Sunday we're having a party for him, so I'll have more pictures with exciting decorations to post. Here are a few of my favorite shots from Wednesday.