I wasn’t planning on posting today, but then I thought that since Rijen is out of town (in Utah for his brother’s wedding) he might like to see how Leif’s birthday went. I didn’t really plan to do that much so that Rijen WOULDN’T miss anything, but then Leif, who is a very popular fellow in the neighborhood, had some fans stop by and make his day very special. We are really lucky to have such awesome neighbors. Leif was a bit confused by all the extra attention he got….but hopefully by next year he’ll get it.
As if on cue, right after I typed that last sentence, I heard Leif crying from his crib- an angry cry for “Mama!!” It was 5 minutes till midnight and I guess he really wanted to make the most of the last of his birthday (in Japan) and bring in his second birthday (in the US). I was going to let him cry it out, but then the way he was screaming made me feel like I could check on him.
Remember the nosebleed last Sunday? He woke up in the middle of the night screaming and I DIDN’T get him, and then when I saw the state of his crib/nose in the morning I felt bad- maybe he had hit his nose on the crib and that is why he was crying, but I made the call to ignore it. So last night (right after typing the intro to this post) I got him and then he sat on my lap while I uploaded the pictures in this post & he enjoyed reviewing his day with me. I also recorded him talking about “daddy” on photo booth so that Rijen could see it. It’s at the end of the video at the end of the post. It took a while to get him back in the crib, so at that point I abandoned the idea of posting this for Rijen to read in his morning, hoping to finish it during his nap today.
Leif woke up bright and early just before 6:30AM. He’s a pretty reliable alarm clock if I’m not already up. Fiona was still sleeping and since I wanted us to all breakfast together we stalled until she stumbled out of her room. I made us banana yogurt with berries and granola. We’ll save the pancake birthday breakfast (although now I am thinking waffles?) for when Rijen gets back.
After breakfast, I got Fiona ready for her school and we dropped her off. I then had a long church meeting at our house. This was probably Leif’s least favorite part of the day. I thought it might be fun for him, there were 3 other little kids over and I had gotten out some favorite toys and the toy bin and had them all out in the living room for them all to play together. The kids loved it and none of the other children were bothersome at all, since they were all so entertained. Leif however perhaps saw this as an intrusion of his domain and was quite taken aback. He sat in my lap almost the whole time which was pretty difficult.
I think that Leif is a bit more reserved and tentative with children he doesn’t know. It does take him a bit longer to “warm up” to strangers and although he is overall very friendly and social, isn’t as fearless or outgoing as other kids. He will often seek out a “mother figure” if I am not around and want to be held by them when I am not around. (During nursery at church, at friend’s houses…..random indoor playspaces in Korea…) Hopefully this is something he will improve upon in his 3rd year.
Luckily, I did have something planned for the afternoon before his nap. We headed over to Fiona R’s house with ingredients for lunch so that Leif could play over there. They live 2 houses down from us, and if I ever lose sight of Leif for a second when he is in the front yard/getting out of the car/he finds our front door open and I am not close enough behind him, I can be sure to find him hightailing it in their direction. He really loves being over there and to my indignation/amusement I discovered this week that he calls Fiona R. “Mommy.” Knowing it would be a rainy day, I thought their house would be the perfect place for us to spend the afternoon, so I promptly invited myself over for lunch.
Either Leif had eaten too many muffins while sitting on my lap during Primary meeting or he was just too antsy to get back to playing with Maeve, but he didn’t eat much of his birthday lunch. The adults enjoyed it though! An hour later than I had planned we went back home for a nap. Another neighbor came over- Rachael who has a son a little younger than Leif- with a really cute “cookie monster” dessert for Leif’s birthday. It was two chocolate chip cookies with frosting in the middle and cute “cookie monster” eyes on top. I was sad that Leif wasn’t awake to “receive” the cookie, but at least it would now be a surprise and something we could save for after dinner. I hadn’t planned to do a cake, but was thrilled to have something especially because Fiona was so excited about it being Leif’s birthday. Well, she was in theory, but not in practice as you can see in the video.
Fiona came home during his nap and we planned our little birthday party. I had a couple gifts (the rest are arriving via Amazon) and I let her choose which one to wrap and give to him today. We wrapped it together and she could barely wait for him to wake up. I also told her that I had given him a new book. (I had read it to him before his nap and then put it in the crib with him). She was really excited to get him out of the crib and read the book together. Little did I know that would prove the downfall of our entire evening.
After an “incident” involving Fiona rolling and whining on the couch and Leif accidentally hitting Fiona in the eye when he purposefully grabbed possession of his book, I realized that we should just have dinner early and just get the day over with. Fiona was sad to have missed the soup and bread, so I made that for our dinner, adding some things I had on hand. Didn’t realize until I plated it that it was a definite green theme.
Fiona enjoyed it all, but Leif must just not have had a big appetite because he wouldn’t eat that or other things I suggested. Except for the grapes. I was sitting with him on my lap doing my best to entice him to eat his plate, feeling a bit forlorn when I heard excited little voices and knocks on our door. It was the Rollins family with a poster, card and gift for Leif.
They may have only planned to drop it all off and go back home, but I strong-armed them into an impromptu party since we hadn’t done our two little fun things yet and I figured it would be more fun for Leif with a bigger audience.
Leif was entranced by his cookie cake, but needs a lot more practice on how to blow out the candles. Luckily they were tall ones so before they burned down he got a little help from his friends.
It wasn’t much to share, but each of the kids got a bite of the cookie. I promise when we have a more formal celebration there will be more to go around! We then opened presents and the kids played for a bit. Without any prompting from me, Leif finally got someone to read his book to him:
After they left, the kids were in a much better mood and the bedtime ritual went well. Here is Leif admiring his new toy and his birthday poster before bedtime.
Every time he has walked down the hallway today he stops and “reads” his poster aloud. (Last night Fiona coached him on it).
If you’d like to see the video taken from his birthday, watch the video below. Rijen make sure you watch through to the end to hear Leif’s message to you. Leif shares his birthday with his cousin Travis, who he really loves. Hopefully one year they can celebrate it together!