Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Spencer's Big First Birthday Extravaganza (And Our Third Anniversary)

Holly and I celebrated our third wedding anniversary yesterday. "Celebrated" may be the wrong word, though. There was no date night and no romantic dinner; not even cards. In fact, Holly went to work in the afternoon. (We did take ourselves out for lunch with Spencer, though.) The lack of anniversary sentiment is fine with both of us. We haven't had time for it.

Spencer's birthday is this time of year. So, Holly and I (especially Holly) spent the last few weeks getting reading for his Big First Birthday Extravaganza. The three-day birthday-palooza was this past weekend.

On Friday, we had a photo shoot with the three of us and some of Spencer's grandparents. Saturday, a member of Holly's mommy-baby group put together a first birthday party for all the kids in the group.. all 18 of them. That's right, 18 one-year-olds (give or take a few weeks) and their parents in one backyard! It was awesome!

My Instagram remix of Spencer and 17 of his friends.

Then on Sunday, Holly and I threw a party at my aunt's house in New York. About two dozen family members and close friends came to see Spencer's blessing and celebrate his first year.

The birthday boy!
Between coordinating, planning and going to all the events, our anniversary wasn't our top priority. I actually listed it on the refrigerator to-do list so we wouldn't forget.

That seems unromantic, but it's not without precedent. Last year, Holly was very pregnant with Spencer - his due date was the day before our anniversary - so we already knew were weren't going to do much. And after Hurricane Irene swept through town, we didn't have power. Our anniversary dinner was lukewarm food on paper plates. (At least it was by candlelight!)

This year, Holly and I are going to have a nice day out with Spencer later in the week. We'll go to the Norwalk Aquarium and have a nice lunch out. Then we'll leave the Young Man with Grandma and Grandpa to have a date night and meet up with some friends.

Every anniversary may not be a romantic night out, and that's ok. Because it's so close to Spencer's birthday, late August will forever be a momentous - and probably busy - time for our family. We'll surely find creative ways to celebrate both.

Having said all that, Holly and I agreed the Young Man won't have a three-day birthday extravaganza next year. Not because of our anniversary, but because it's a ton of work.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Bath Time

No matter what travels, event or outings we have, the day starts to come together at 6pm: Dinner for Spencer, dinner for us (if there was some planning), a few minutes of play, Spencer's bath, then he's off to bed.

The bath and bed routine begins at 7:00. Spencer is usually playing with Holly and me on the floor. Holly and I look at each other, and one of us asks, "Is it time?" The other nods and says, "It's time."

Then we yell, "Bath Time!"

Spencer looks at us, smiles wide, then takes off crawling for the bathroom. He crawls through the kitchen and pushes open the door to his room. (He sometimes takes a detour and we have to guide him to the bathroom.) With a smile on his face, he looks back to see if we're behind him. We're right there with him on our hands and knees.

Spencer approaches the bathroom and pushes that door open, too. Pushing doors is clearly part of the routine. A few weeks ago, he approached the bathroom door that was open, pulled it closed as much as he could, and then pushed it open again. The final stop on the Bath March is the sink. He crawls up to the cabinet under sink and stands up. Holly undresses him. I get his bath water ready. It's bath time!

This isn't anything extraordinary, and I don't want to turn this blog into a series of firsts ("Spencer took his shirt off! Spencer stacked three blocks!"), but Bath Time is the first time he responded to Holly and me in this way. We had been saying "Bath Time" for a while, and one day he just took off to the bathroom. Holly and I were a little stunned. "He understands us?!" Not only does he understand us, but he knows where to go (barring any detours) on his own, too. It's amazing to watch him grow up.

And it's very cute!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

In The End, A Perfect Sunday

The things I loved about New York as a non-parent make me nervous as a parent: Lots of people and activity with little predictability, space and control. If Holly and I lived there with Spencer, none of that would be a big deal. It would be "normal." But we don't. So, I get a little apprehensive when taking Spencer to Manhattan.

Naturally, when I drove Spencer in for an appointment on Sunday, I was a bit tense. We've taken Spencer to the city before, but I was dropping Holly off at work straight away. Except for ride in, I was flying solo.

It turns out, I didn't have much to worry about.

There was surprisingly little traffic on our drive in (always a good way to start the day!). I dropped Holly off at work, then Spencer and I drove to Midtown. Finding a parking spot was easy. We had some time before our appointment, and since Spencer was asleep, we hung out in the car. After the appointment, we took a walk to visit some of my old work colleagues. Spencer got a little cranky, so I took him up to Rockefeller Center, down to Grand Central then over to Bryant Park. Avoiding the crowds on Fifth Avenue made it was a nice leisurely stroll.

Satisfaction after lunch in Bryant Park.

Spencer had fun looking at all the people and things in Bryant Park while eating his lunch. We hung out there for a bit, went back for another visit with my work friends (no crying that time), then we hopped in the car and drove home.

The day wasn't anything exciting, and that was perfect. New York feels very relaxed on summer weekends. Residents go out of town and Midtown isn't packed with workers. The heat and humidity didn't bother us too much either. Taking a nice stroll with my son reminded me of how much I miss New York City and how much I hope to move back some day.. as a parent.