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Molehills or Milestones?

February 23, 2012 1 comment

As we finished opening presents this evening for my daughter’s 3rd birthday I asked, “Who’s ready for cupcakes?!”

“Meeeee!” squealed my younger two.

“I don’t want to sing, I just want to eat cupcakes,” James said, making his best effort to sound casual. Remember from past posts that the Birthday Song is one of James’s original phobias and has plagued him for over a decade now.

“What do you think, Margaret?” I asked. “Do you want us to sing?”

“Yes,” she replied immediately.

“It’s not a big deal, right?” I asked James. “It’s just you and me tonight.”

Though James looked like it was very much a big deal, he reluctantly agreed and sat down at the table (my cupcakes are worth a little torture, I think).

I couldn’t find a candle and the crowd was growing restless. In desperation I lit a match and stuck it vertically into the cupcake. “Happy Birthday to you,” I sang hurriedly as I rushed the barely burning flame into the dining room. James watched me sing but didn’t join in.

Margaret didn’t blink. She eagerly “blew out” the smoking match at which point my 16 month old became hysterical laughing. I headed back into the kitchen to get 2 more cupcakes and he shouted, “more birthday!” I lit another match and headed back into the dining room.

By our fourth time through the birthday song, James started singing too. At this point I couldn’t tell if it was the lighting of the matches or Adam laughing that had him so engaged, but each and every time Margaret blew out the “candle,” Adam would burst into fits of laughter and James would echo his cries of “more birthday candle!”

After the twelfth chorus, I “ran out” of match nubs to light on fire and we had to call it quits.

Margaret turned 3 and James sang the birthday song to her 8 times this evening. As I watched three very happy faces around the table I couldn’t help but feel a bit smug as I tossed a few more milestones, for each of my children, into the growing mountain we like to call progress.