My niece joined the family on July 12th, 2010. This special young lady's mother is my younger sister, which in classic Chinese culture makes me her Jiu Jiu (舅舅) -- thus the title of this blog. Here I intend to semi-regularly post reflections, thoughts, stories, and assorted whathaveyous pertaining to our trip to China, adoption in general, and (mostly) watching my niece grow up. Since the web is a very public place, I will attempt to maintain my family's privacy while telling the story... but I invite you to follow the blog and come along for the adventure!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Catching Up on June: The Pipsqueak Turns Three!

Miri's 2nd birthday party was her first here with us -- so it was A Big Deal (and each & every person there had a blast). AJ decided, not long after the cleanup was done, that Miri's 3rd birthday celebration would be a little more low-key. In her usual methodical & careful manner, she researched the possibilities months ahead of time, eventually deciding on having the party at the Little Gym she & the Pipsqueak go to on weekends. A date was chosen that was as close to the Pipsqueak's actual (official) birthday without interfering with other brithdays, invitations were sent out with plenty of time for RSVPs, plans & timetables were arranged with family... and AJ waited until just one week ahead of time to tell her daughter she was going to have a birthday party.

This may sound strange, or disorganized, or perhaps even cruel, but it was actually a stroke of brilliance. Y'see, my sister knows her daughter well; the kid loves loves loves parties and cake and birthday candles and singing "Happy Birthday" (literally her favorite song!) like no one else I've known. I'll explain it with a quote directly from my sister: "I just didn't want to hear about the party every minute of every day for longer than I really had to!"

The Pipsqueak only had about a week to tell us, and any-and-everyone she could corral, about the upcoming party -- but tell she did. The idea that the people arranging the party might already know about it either didn't occur to her or (more likely) didn't matter to her; she was having a birthday party, and lemme tell ya, even in its scaled-down, semi-structured, much smaller format it was A Big Deal to this tiny little dynamo.  (Okay, so maybe it did take her a while to decide if she was turning four, or six, but she eventually agreed with us that three was the correct number.)

Ironically, the morning of the party was the "graduation" for the latest Little Gym session, so we were all there to watch Miri & the other kids strut their stuff and get medals & certificates at the end of the session. (And once again realize that my niece is far more coordinated, has far better balance, and is far braver & more adventurous than yours truly.) There was a cute/poignant moment when Miri marched up to the front counter by herself and asked Miss Kim (the young gal who ran her sessions) if she could come to her party later that day; Kim seemed genuinely touched, and found an acceptably vague promise to keep Miri happy (she was supposed to be off the rest of the day, and by the time the party started Miri was too excited & distracted to miss her).

Then began the insanity craziness lunacy carefully coordinated & choreographed set of dashes up & down the county to prepare for our return to the place we'd just been. I left the Beast parked in front of Little Gym & our folks drove me upcounty to Costco, where we'd ordered too many two cakes a couple of days earlier. There were other items to get, then the crazy-long checkout lines to get through... a quick break for a snack... a mad dash back downcounty & some more shopping, then on to AJ's house... the final assembly of goody bags... and then right back to Little Gym, amazingly on time and on schedule.

We re-engineered some of the cake decorations (doesn't everyone plunk a big plastic castle & a bunch of Disney princess figurines onto the spot where the bakery wrote "Happy Birthday"?!?), did a little set-up (two young girls in matching "uniforms" of black tees did most of the work), and the guests began arriving. I won't go into all the details of the party, but it was most definitely a success. There was some structured play, a big indoor inflatable bouncy thing, some unstructured play, and the near-total demolishing of several pizzas and a surprisingly high percentage of both cakes. One added bonus was that we got to meet, for the first time, the newly-adopted daughter of friends in our our adoption group; she was a little older than many of the kids and fairly shy, but after a while even she kinda-sorta let her hair down and had fun. I even got a shy smile & wave as her proud Daddy carried her out the door later on.

Afterwards, my niece spent the entire afternoon & evening literally bouncing up and down in excitement over all the birthdaying. We also had a smaller and (slightly) quieter mini-party at Mom & Dad's the next day with some family members who couldn't make the first party, and that suited the Pipsqueak just fine -- the more parties, the merrier the birthday girl!  AJ had planned to stay home the following Wednesday (the Pipsqueak's actual birthday) for some quality mother-daughter birthday time together, but the State surveyors came through the door at work bright & early Monday morning so that plan had to be abandoned... But all in all, the Pipsqueak had a great birthday.

Of course, we all spent some time during the week leading up to the party & several days afterwards marveling at how the Pipsqueak has changed & grown since her last birthday. It's amazing to see how fast she's growing, and how much more independent she's become in the last year... and how much more talkative she's become as well! (On more than one occasion, I've heard her Grandma refer to her as "The Chatterbox" -- it's a pretty accurate description.)

The postscript to all the birthday celebrating came about a week after all the partying, after a couple of other events we had to convince the Pipsqueak were in honor of other people's birthdays or graduations (we were running about an 85% success rate with that task). Miri seemed to have finally accepted the fact that her birthday was really, finally over for the year and was trying to find someone else's birthday we could celebrate instead. (Dude, any excuse for more cake, right...?) She was trying to move mine from March to the end of June so I had to explain that my birthday had already passed, didn't she remember helping me blow out my candles and eat the ginormous chocolate cake her Grandpa had picked out...? Miri seemed a little downcast, so I made what in retrospect might have been something of a tactical error: I told her not to worry, that people have birthdays every year, and that we'd have another party for her next year.

Her face lit up like a thousand-watt bulb, and she immediately announced, "Mommy, I have another birthday next year, I have another party!"


Let the planning begin...!  ;-)

No comments:

Post a Comment