Things change a lot from baby #1 to baby #6.
I think wistfully at times of parenting my first baby.
Most days though I really like the comfortableness of getting to be mom for the 6th time.
What I really wish for is the opportunity to go back and raise baby#1 again with the experience that I've gained in the last 12+ years but without the demands of an 8 person household. Yeah. I'm an idealist.
I think Jesus was so kind in the way he planned this whole parenting game.
It can be truly overwhelming when suddenly you wake up and find yourself 100% responsible for a very tiny human being who is 100% dependent on you for everything. In the middle of all the changes and challenges that come with baby #1 you wonder how in the world you could possibly care for more than one child. I think it is merciful of Jesus to allow us to make the hard adjustments to parenthood with just one little person on whom we get to focus all our time, energy and affection.
By the time baby #6 comes along things like sleep deprivation and being responsible 24/7 for small dependent humans are part of life. New challenges come, like getting kids off to school even after a sleepless night with the baby and learning how to juggle the needs of children in 6 different developmental/emotional stages. I think it very kind of Jesus to allow us to become familiar and at least semi comfortable with our role as a parent before giving us a house full.
I find both stages- the new parenting and the experienced parenting- to be full of changes and challenges that are both demanding and thrilling.
How did I get off the subject of my baby's birthday??
Wait! Was I ever even on the subject of my baby's birthday?
Well. Yes. We celebrated our Sweet Elliana's birthday last week.
And yes, the way we celebrated Elliana's birthday was different than how we celebrated Angeline's birthday 12 years ago.
Both celebrations were merry and festive.
But for now I want to talk about celebrating my 6th baby.
In the early hours of the morning I gave her some extra snuggles as I remember the details of her coming to us one year ago.
I stroked her silky hair and marveled at the way she has grown and developed physically in the last 12 months. I thought about the way her personality has been emerging in little bits and pieces over the last 12 months.
Even though I absolutely ADORE infants I decided that I certainly prefer the curly- haired-sweet-snuggly-gentle-mild-mannered-charming-toothy- Little Elliana over the precious-quiet-little-bundle that was put into my arms early on the morning of November 4.
The magic of a growing and developing child has not lost its wonder. In fact, I am even more enamored with the wonder of this child and less focused on her developmental milestones. It's probably just me getting older, but every few days I am convinced that I want to freeze my little girl and keep her my toddling 12 month old whose favorite word is 'mamaaaa'.
Her birthday was mentioned often and lovingly throughout the day by her siblings. Elliana was more than delighted with the extra attention which helped to distract her from her snotty nose and teething woes.
Later in the day, when the house was quieter I sat her down with her present and shot some photos. I love the way these pictures capture some of the little details about Elliana. Her pudgy toes. Her curly hair. Her ability to manipulate small things. The way she sits quietly and concentrates on a task. Her goofy silliness. Her toothy little grin. Her smooth, fair skin. Those brown eyes.
For the first time ever I made a tiny little smash cake just for the birthday girl. She loved it.
For the first time ever I felt like this birthday cake was really designed for a one year old. The frosting was cream cheese whipped with cool whip. She loved it and I didn't have to cringe about the amount she consumed since it wasn't loaded with sugar. Truth be told, we all RAVED over the cake and the frosting and the fruit. I think the cake will likely be repeated in the future. Angeline created the number one and her name with melted chocolate.
The other truth is that I took these pictures a few hours before her birthday party. I truly let her poke her finger into the frosting and have some bites. Because. Well. She was just so cute and I really didn't care. That's just one of the awesome parts about being Baby #6.
We gathered around her after dinner and had fun lighting the candles and singing to her. I felt like we all got to enjoy Elliana MORE by not having a big party for her. Lord willing, we will have many more years with Elliana in which we can celebrate with bigger parties. Party guests are fun, but it's hard to really dote on a one year old and be a good hostess and take pictures all at the same time.
I have come to understand that children grow up quickly and have serious expectations about birthday cakes and birthday guests. For this reason, I decided to keep Elliana's first birthday low pressure and fun for all of us. Besides, we really do have a nice sized party with just our immediate family these days.
Here is some raw footage from the real deal:
And this was how we celebrated the first birthday of our 6th sweet baby.