Sunday, September 10, 2006

Birthday Party

Last night, we had Gabriel's birthday party with Tim's college friends. Gabe had a great time - he got to have PIZZA, and CHIPS, and POP, and STRAWBERRIES, and CAKE, with CANDLES to blow out (twice) and ICECREAM, and then there were presents just for him (he got two books from us, and we had already given him a football, and some bubbles that were really pretty nifty, he thought; and Tim's friends got him a remote-controlled little John Deer combine and some cute little Levi's), and there were boys to horse around with and swing him all around, and BALLOONS!!!!! The balloons, the combine, and the guests seemed to be his favorite experiences of the evening.

This was actually Gabriel's second birthday party; we went to VA for a few days over Labor Day for the first time this summer!! and had a little party for him with just us and Mom and Dad and his Uncle Quentin. He got to eat some rib-eye steaks and have some birthday cupcake. "Cuppa-Cake?", he says. And have wide-eyed delight at the sight of his new tricycle.

Then, Tim drove home to KY to start school, and I took Gabe up to Ohio for a chiropractic appointment by myself. I was kind of looking forward to spending the alone time with him - I have been working so much recently and I feel like I hardly get to see him anymore. I was looking forward to it being just Mommy and Gabriel having some bonding time. We had a good time...although I tell you what, I am so glad not to be a single parent!! Gabe is going through these stages of "now I am holding Mommy's hand and now I am letting my knees bend and am sagging to the floor to be dragged along the ground just because I think it would be fun". Or "now I am at Walmart and feel I must lay down on the tile floor". Or "this floor needs a good lick". We were in a public bathroom on the way home when Gabe decided, after getting his hands washed, that due to the lack of paper towels, the nice dry floor would be a good alternative drying method. Yes. Lovely. It's just hard to be 8 months pregnant, lugging a purse and a variety of baby items, and to be diving around after a curious child that is a whole lot closer to the floor than I. Makes me grateful that he has an agile, very non-pregnant Daddy. :)

While we were in Ohio we went to the Belmont County Fair, just for something fun to do. Gabe squeaked in under the admission price cutoff - you had to pay $7 for any child over 24 months, and he was 2 days shy of that! :) Whoo-hoo! That also meant that I got to go on rides with him for free - after buying a $5 ticket for him, of course. They like taking your money at a fair. But he had a GREAT time. He wanted to ride the little cars that go around in a circle, while the child wildly spins the steering wheel, and so I let him; I wasn't sure if he would get scared or not being by himself as the cars whizzed around, but every time he whirled past, he gave me this huge delighted grin. It was precious.

After that we went on the merry-go-round, and he thought that was pretty special, and then he wanted to go jump in one of those big inflatable jumpy things, and had a great time. He was so little in there with all these slightly larger kids that it made me cringe a little bit as everyone careened around, but he paid it no mind. Then we staggered off (the staggerer being myself carrying him and his stroller and my purse, as he associated going into the stroller with going home and wept desperate tears at the thought) to the livestock part to view the chickens (fascinating), the cows (absorbing), the "piggies" (which he had never seen before), the goats (pretty nifty), and best of all - the BUNNIES. Oh, the bunnies. Wonderful bunnies. He had to get out of the stroller that I had finally coaxed him into and walk all around and check out the cages again for himself, and talk about the empty cages, and pet the angora bunny that someone was holding. I mean, it was great to enter Bunny World. He would have gladly stayed at the fair for much longer than Mommy physically could. I was so TIRED after lugging him around and manuvering the stroller...but I was really glad we went! It made his evening.

One of his other trip highlights was the purchase of a football at Walmart. We had went in to get some necessities and he caught sight of a two big, inflatable footballs used for some promotional thing, and became mildly obsessed over them. Gabriel LOVES football. He loves to watch Tim's X-Box football game demo and hurl himself around the living room with any available ball. So, I couldn't resist - I bought him an early birthday present of a football. We went back to the toy section to get it, and once he had hold of it, he was NOT letting go. When we got up to the front of the store, and I tried to give it to the cashier to pay for it, he cried and cried and cried (after a one hour nap that day - that always makes things quite devastating), and so she came around to scan it. Poor boy!! :) So guess what we watched for three days in the hotel room - and it wouldn't be anything of my choosing. That's right. Football. Or tennis. Anything with a ball. It makes me curious if he will always like sports like he does now. He is a very physical little boy; he loves to crash into things, and bounce off your legs, and fall on the floor, and physically experience life.

So, anyways, that's a catch-up on Gabriel's life recently. Even though our little trip together was a mite arduous, it really helped me feel reconnected with him. Doing all the little, mundane tasks it takes to take care of him; changing diapers, baths, getting his meals and snacks - add up to an intimacy that makes me sad to have to miss again when I jump back into madly working to pay to afford to take time off of work when this next baby is born. I often come home too beat to muster up much of the energy it takes to chase him around doing the nighttime caretaking. Bath to bedtime is one of the most energetic times of the day, as he is not at all into the idea, generally. Tim has really appreciated getting to experience that part of life with him this summer though - there probably won't be another child that he is able to spend several months on end with like he has with Gabriel this summer. That day to day intimacy is a precious part of raising a child.

The last night we were in Ohio, he didn't want to go to sleep, so I lifted him into bed beside me, much to his delight, and he trilled away as he lay happily on the pillows next to his mommy, talking about the light on the smoke-detector, and wanting to sing "Mommy Loves Her Baby", and reminiscing on bunnies, chickens, and the like. He lay all tucked up against me, watching my face while I sang to him, and singing along...I'm serious, it was absolutely adorable. I finally lifted a limp, drowsy little boy back into his crib. That's the reward of all the other menial tasks it takes to keep a boy in action. What a sweetheart.

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