My Big Girl Turned Seven

Yup, seven years ago today, Juliette was born at 4:16 PM EST. That night, while trying to figure out how to breastfeed and being so wired and scared that I couldn't sleep--the longest night of my life, it felt like--I watched the clock and waited for daylight. Then at exactly 2am, the minute hand swung backward until the clock read one in the morning. It was the autumn time change! I've never been so disappointed to fall back an hour.

Today we had Juliette's first birthday party. She asked "Why don't we ever have birthday parties with people?" when she attended one for a classmate back in August. So we thought maybe it was time. We chose Alpaca Art Studio in downtown Kenosha, where party goers can paint their own mug, bowl, plate or plaque. After all the invitations went out, we had a total of fifteen girls in attendance, including Ilsa and the birthday girl. Our friends Brad and Josie brought their two daughters and then stayed to help us with the festivities, which was a wonderful relief.

Everything went great. They painted, ate pizza and drank juice, played with some toys in the studio's kid containment area, watched a bit of Madagascar, ate my homemade carrot cake with cream cheese icing--I spelled out "Happy Birthday Juliette" in candy corn, which I thought look a bit goofy but the kids really liked--and then opened presents, played some more, and waited for the parental cavalry to arrive. Two hours on the nose.

Juliette came away with a great huge walloping pile of stuff. Everyone was very generous, which means Juliette now gets to learn the fine art of writing thank you notes. The pottery will be fired and ready next Saturday; I can't wait to see how they all turn out.

I'm finding it harder and harder to get nostalgic about her birthday. I think part of the block is that it's becoming more difficult to really get into the mind and memory of the person I was then and the little tiny baby she was. To kiss the top of her head now, I only have to bend at the neck. She's tall and clever and complex. I knew her when she was born, but I didn't know her like I do today.

Plus I can remember quite vividly being seven myself, which throws a spin on everything from here out. She'll remember these days. She'll remember today, in fact. It makes her growth and push toward self-awareness all the more immediate, and makes the infant I birthed seem like some other creature. But I know she's not. She still makes the same breathless noise after she's done crying, still resists sleep at all costs, still looks so very much like Keven.

Love you, Juliette!

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