Happy Birthday, Alden!! Somehow, two years have gone by since this little person came into our lives. Alden's birthday capped off Spring Break this year. My parents came and spent the week with us, which also meant that Eric and I got a few nights away on our own. This was the first time we'd gone away together in the last two years (and, actually, it had been closer to four years!) We got home on Friday evening and had a busy weekend of birthday celebrating planned.
Saturday we started the day with Music Together, which Alden really enjoys. He tries to follow along with the clapping and has fun playing the instruments. And, he loves listening to the songs in the car and trying to sing along -- especially the parts that require listening and repeating a rhythm or sound pattern. And, he clearly has favorite songs. There are some -- like Paw Paw Patch -- that he wants to hear over and over. Others - like Merry Go Round (which is in an odd key) -- he shouts, "NOOOOOO" when it comes on, insisting that we skip the song.
After Music Together, we tried to get in on our neighborhood egg hunt. But, by the time we got there, we'd missed the hunting. So, Alden and Will just ran around together and then Kailey arrived (she had been off grocery shopping with Eric) and they both shouted, "La La!" in absolute delight and all three ran around after one another.
We headed home for a quick nap and lunch and then were off to a Ellie's birthday party. Alden and Eric came a bit later, to let Alden sleep a bit longer, but once he arrived he had a good time playing with all the other kids and, especially, pretending to be a chef with their play kitchen. He spent a good 45 minutes stirring and baking and measuring. That's definitely one of my favorite parts of TWO year olds -- the ever expanding imagination.
After the party, we went back to our neighborhood and headed over to Cathy and Aaron's house for egg decorating and pizza. Alden, Will and Kailey all got SUPER into the egg decorating. Cathy had hard boiled 36 eggs. I figured they'd do a couple and get bored but they went through all 36 eggs in no time flat. It was remarkable.
After the egg dying, Alden seemed to go into a bit of a daze. It had been a full day of activities, so I didn't think much of it at first. But, then I noticed his eyes. What is it about sick children and their eyes? You can just read illness on their face. I could tell from across the room that he had a fever. I was talking to a colleague today about toddlers and fevers and he said, "the weird thing about kids that age is how FAST and HIGH the fevers come. One minute they are fine. The next they are burning up." So, I guess it isn't unique to Alden! But, that's EXACTLY what happened. He had been fine all day. And then, bam, fever. I think Cathy and Aaron's dog sensed that he wasn't feeling well, and she was sitting close by and watching him. When I moved to try to pick him up, the dog freaked and bit my leg. It was through my jeans - thank goodness - because otherwise he would have done real damage. As it is, my leg is not pretty at the moment.
What I'm trying to say is that following a perfectly good beginning of the weekend of celebrating, we took a bit of a left turn on Saturday night.
We got Alden home and took his temp and, sure enough, he had a fever of 104.5. Ugh. Sunday we were supposed to be going to brunch and then having a mini-party for Alden at our house with his favorite foods, a bubble machine and an Elmo cake.
Sunday morning, Alden woke up with his fever still raging. I still made a carrot cake that morning, with Kailey's help. And, we decided to still go to brunch (mostly because I didn't want Cathy and Aaron to think we were upset about the bite). Alden didn't eat a thing at brunch and was pretty miserable by the time we left. We went home and got him to bed for a long nap (which I took with him). When we got up, we found that Nonnie and Kai had decorated the Elmo cake.
We had called off the party for the evening. Alden clearly wasn't into celebrating and we didn't want to expose everyone else to whatever he had. But, after a dose of medicine, Alden felt a bit perkier and was up for opening gifts. He LOVED all his presents. Eric and I got him a trike, which he rode around the living room before finally wheeling it to the front door and signing that he wanted to go outside. He also got an Elmo bubble blower from Kailey, a t-ball set and fire engine set (it's a fire engine that comes apart and then you can rebuild it or make it into other things), a toy violin, a stuffed dinosaur and new pajamas. He really did love all of the presents. He played with the fire truck, wheeling it around and saying 'beep beep". He hugged the dinosaur. He walked around trying to tuck the violin under his chin the way Kailey does.
I love how he claps for himself and high-fives Eric at the end of the song. After we sang, he requested that we sing again. We repeated the birthday song and candle many more times. Many, many more times. He could have blown out birthday candles for the rest of the day. We ate a little cake, and then went outside to try out the trike. After a bit, the medicine started wearing off and it was time to sit out the last two hours before we could re-dose him with cuddles and back rubs.
It was my hope that on Monday - his actual birthday - Alden would feel better and we could do a bit more celebrating. But, the fever persisted all night and into Monday. We still tried to go out and get his haircut and go to a birthday lunch -- but, it was just a day when everything I tried to do didn't work. The haircut was a waste of money because his bangs are still in his eyes. He cried the whole way through it, too. Not celebratory at all. And, by lunch time his fever was very much on the rise again and all he wanted to do was go back home. He perked up a bit when they presented him with a sundae and a lit candle, taking the time to blow it out before resuming his "nooooo, noooo, noooo" to every question I asked him. He was sick through Tuesday and, finally, today seems to be getting back to his usual self.
So, in the end, Alden's birthday weekend was a little rough. Certainly, not exactly what we had planned. But, we tried our best to salvage it and we definitely got in lots of the activities that Alden loves best. It's a good reminder - especially as we turn towards the over-the-top party that we are planning for Kailey's upcoming birthday -- that mostly the details don't matter. For a two year old, what matters is the simplest things that bring so much joy -- bubbles, candles, songs, sisters, grandparents, togetherness. And, of course, when you're not feeling well, what matters is cuddles and hugs and naps. He got all of that stuff and more in and we had fun taking advantage of the moments when he was feeling better to celebrate the last year with him and look forward to the year to come.
He's TWO!! Happy, happy birthday to our sweet, cuddly, elmo-loving, musical boy!