FOR Fiona’s birthday we did not have a cake or a party, and she didn’t even open or get any gifts. I know, I’m a little sad about it too, but I did try and give Fiona a very special day. She did get birthday bread—yes, not a tradition I think she would appreciate when she turns sixteen, but for this birthday at least, she loved it.
Instead of all the traditional birthday stuff, for the whole day, I tried to give Fiona my undivided attention- the whole day. Rijen came home from work a bit early as well, so that made it even better. Since I was trying to focus all my energy on the things Fiona wanted to do, and not get too distracted, I didn’t take that many pictures, but I did make sure I got some so that we could have some good memories of some things we did today.
We plan to do the traditional birthday celebration later- we know there is a fun package on the way from her amazing aunts and grandma in Utah, and I ordered some blocks and a few books online which haven’t arrived yet…also her highchair is still en route, which is kind of an important element in the whole traditional one year old eats cake and gets really messy schematic. For these reasons and the main reason that a birthday party is better with family, Sara and I have decided that we will have a joint birthday for her and Fiona in Italy, which we plan to do Presidents Day weekend. So we will do cake, presents and tons of pictures then.
But for now, our day went a little like this:
After a comforting morning feeding, Fiona and I took a very long bubble bath, which she absolutely loves. When I tell her “Do you want to take a bath/Willst du baden gehen?” she smiles really huge, scrunches up her nose and makes really excited squeals, and sometimes, she even shivers with excitement and not because I just took her pajamas off.
In the bath, she played with her little bath toys and tried to brush her teeth with a toothbrush. Then I dressed her in a very pretty purple outfit which she got from Sara and aunt Cara. We then ate my favorite brand of German yogurt for breakfast.
I did want to get the bread started, so I held her while I got the yeast proofing with one hand so she could feel like she was part of the process, but kneading with one hand doesn’t work so well, so she was gracious enough to play on her own for the duration of the bread prep.
While the bread rose, I did try and take some time out to blow dry my hair because I didn’t want it to dry funny. To make up for the fact that I was putting my hair before her, I let her go through the complete bathroom shelves and pretty much take everything out. That only lasted through half of the blow dry though, and was interrupted SEVEN TIMES when she crawled over to the staircase.
So her love for climbing stairs needs to be its own blog post, which I will do at some point. However, suffice it to say, that when I decided that I would let her do whatever she wants (within reason) on her birthday, I pictured spending 70% of the day climbing stairs on my hands and knees behind her. We do not have a baby gate yet due to a long story thinking the architect of our flat was going to lend us one, but his cleaning lady hasn’t “located it yet” so I just recently gave up on that and ordered one.
So, to prevent Fiona from climbing the stairs, we have done all sorts of interesting barricades, which in essence only provides me with an eyesore in the room and her with an even more exciting obstacle course. I have decided that she is a girl who loves adventure and a challenge. The picture below was taken a month ago.
The bathroom I was using when blowdrying is positioned such that when she started crawling towards the staircase, I could see her reflected in the mirror, so when she got to the first step, she would turn around to see if I was following. Usually it is barricaded (and we have finally found out a failproof barricade) however since it was her special day today, I removed it. So when she started climbing I would put the blowdryer down and go climb stairs with her.
This was drawn out for over an hour, which was fun for Fiona, but not so good for my hair. About the fourth time up the stairs I noticed a lot of dust mice (dust mice or bunnies??) in the corners, so I tried to multitask and grabbed a rag and was cleaning while climbing. Then, during her nap I swept and cleaned the stairs really well, however strangely enough she must have gotten her fix that morning because she didn’t go over to the staircase any more after that.
Also during her nap I baked the bread, cleaned the kitchen, did a bit of laundry and Rijen came home. Before she woke up I practiced taking pictures of the bread with the new camera. I find it challenging to take good pictures of food. Sometimes the light makes it look not so tasty. Like the pictures on the outside of all of the Doner Ladens and Asian Imbisses (Imbissai?) around town.
The food tastes better than it looks, I promise.
So I finally found the right setting where the bread looks as good as it tasted. My favorite part is that you can actually see the steam rising off the bread if you look closely. It was good timing too, because right after I took the pictures, I heard Fiona waking up, so after I did her hair of course, (at least one of us had to have pretty hair today) she got to eat some birthday bread!
After the initial bread tasting, we actually made sandwiches so Fiona also got to eat her first sandwich. Speaking of firsts, did you notice Fiona’s first ponytail?
After all of the eating, we played some more and then Fiona took her second nap. When Fiona woke up of course I had to redo her hair. I really don’t know what I’m doing and I don’t have any baby hair things, so I am amazed it turned out cute both times today! Rijen taking pictures was a nice distraction to keep her from batting my hands away (as she has done before in my earlier failed attempts to do her hair). It may not ever happen as smoothly again, so it is documented here as proof:
We then played with the soccer ball, talked to Sara and Sam, had dinner and then put Fiona to bed.
This has been a very strange year with all of the different transitions, however having Fiona as part of our family now has made it a very wonderful year. She endured a lot this year- a lot of plane trips, hotel rooms and putting up with not having the usual baby comforts. (Luckily for me she doesn’t know any different and didn’t realize that most babies have the crib, stroller and high chair combo even before they are born). She has had a happy disposition through it all and we love her so much. We are grateful that we feel connected to family and friends even though we are so far away and feel that that support has really helped us throughout Fiona’s first year.
Happy First Birthday Fiona!