Pity the last child.
Kieran turned 2 last Monday. We had no party for the birthday boy. A frozen custard from Culver's stood in for candles and a cake.
Thanks to a last-minute business trip, Corey wasn't even home. That was a decision we made together, because Corey was either going to miss Kieran's birthday or Connor's field trip which he had already agreed to chaperone. We sided with the experts who recommend you give more weight to the older child in Solomonic situations like this, since the older child will remember it and the younger child won't be aware.
Still. It perfectly illustrates the pitiful plight of the last child has, doesn't it?
Of course, Kieran had no birthday expectations, him being two and all. But I was a little sad. I'm always painfully aware of Natalie's first birthday at times like this. Since she was the first (and at the time, only) grandchild on both sides, we threw a three-day birthday extravaganza for her. We had a barbecue for our friends, accessorized by a balloon artist and piñata. Both sets of grandparents and my sister flew to San Diego for the occasion. We decorated the house in pink and yellow "1st Birthday Girl" steamers and plates and glitter, and we went to the beach and ate al fresco in Coronado and spread out the present opening, because the sweet 12-month-old didn't have the stamina required to get through them all in one sitting.
So when my last baby turns two and his own father isn't here to celebrate, I feel a little melancholy. Kieran is just as special as Natalie, Connor and Teyla. It's just that these days, our cup of life runneth over. Or maybe we're more sane. Take your pick.
So this past weekend, we had a make-up party. It was just our immediate family, and we didn't decorate with streamers or buy balloons. (Mostly because it was too nice to be indoors and because balloons scare the pants off Connor. He hates that they spontaneously pop. You would think he has PTSD the way he reacts.) I didn't even cook a birthday dinner, because there are few things that Kieran loves more than pizza delivered right to the door. (A few weeks ago, the mailman brought a box up to the house. "Pizza!" Kieran shouted, throwing his arms in the air.) So it seemed only fitting that we order "Pizza!"
I did make cupcakes.
And we did have candles. We've taken to singing the Sprouts Happy Birthday song, which includes the line: "You're good to grow, so count your candles and blow." So Kieran was pretty ecstatic that he had real flame in front of him to blow out. We had to relight the candles and blow them out for many an encore.
Here, again, the last child gets short changed. The older kids have already amassed so many toys, we often can't think of anything to get Kieran. Literally. Every toy out there is just an iteration of something we already have in our basement.
So this year, when I found not just one but two gifts that are unique and perfect for Kieran, well. I was beside myself. May I share what we got our two-year-old?
First was the Anniversary Edition of Little Tikes Cozy Coupe. These things are so popular, I've seen toddlers open a can of whoop a** on their best friend just so they can have a few more minutes behind the wheel.
Up to now, the only outdoor toy Kieran's had to ride is an ancient Big Wheel that is more size-appropriate for Teyla - which means she's usually the one sitting on it. So present one: success. Huge success.
Present two was given to him post cupcake to encourage him to want to take a bath. And make no doubt: This bad boy did the trick.
Here's what's inside the bag.
B. Fish and Splish Bath Boat is one of the most brilliant bath toys we've ever owned. (Second only to the Baby Einstein ABC wall clings and soap crayons.) It has 13 separate water toys, including a captain, a life preserver (to save him from huge waves), a fishing pole and four fish to catch, a combination whale-nail brush, an octo-comb and a set of three nesting cups. But maybe the best part: the boat actually floats. So many bath boats I researched are reported to barely stay upright, much less above water. And all the toys can be stored below desk in the boat itself when bath time is done.
And the birthday celebration ended happily, even if a few days late. And the birthday boy couldn't stop smiling.