How can it be that five years has passed since I welcomed my second baby into the world? I always get very nostalgic in the lead up to my girls’ birthdays, revisiting their arrivals, contractions and all. Miss J conveniently arrived a couple of days past her due date. It was considerate of her on two fronts. First, it allowed us time to settle into our new home (which we did less than a week before she was born), and unpack a household of boxes. Second, she thoughtfully ditched her due date of September 11, a date with such violent and horrific associations, that I had always hoped she wouldn’t arrive on time.
Just as no two children are alike, no two labours are the same, and Miss J’s birth was a vastly different experience to Miss A’s. I was 7cm dilated when I arrived at the hospital and in excruciating pain. I pleaded for an anesthetist but I had a bad response to the epidural and my blood pressure plummeted. I felt so sick and nauseated that when it was time to push I fainted and the arrival of my second daughter passed by in a haze. My obstetrician used the vacuum extraction to deliver her and when she was born I had never felt sicker in my life. My husband said I was as white as the hospital sheets. You can read the extended birth story here.
And that was five year ago today.
Earlier in the week I told Miss J I was excited for her birthday. She seemed surprised that the excitement was not hers alone. And I explained to her that the birthdays of a mum’s children are the most significant days of the year. Today is the day I celebrate when I met my second daughter. It’s the day I remember what it felt like to become a family of four. It is the day I feel connected to Miss J in a raw and powerful way as I enjoy the memories of her as a baby, and then an infant, and then a toddler and now a big girl.
Today is Miss J’s day.
This year I decided not to host her birthday party at home. I have enjoyed having her parties at home before but life has been so unstable and tumultuous lately, I didn’t have it in me. Besides, at the age of five, she knew what she wanted this year. A fairy theme. And so, we held her party at Fairy Fields, in Melbourne. All I had to do was turn up with the cake and party bags. WHY have I not done this sooner? The party was so much fun and Miss J shone. Here’s a snapshot of how we celebrated.
The day began… with presents, of course! I love myself a bit of gift wrapping and this is just plain brown paper with confetti dots and twine.
After poring over all the cakes in the Australian Women’s Weekly Kids’ Birthday Cakes Cookbook, Miss J settled on a Ladybird cake. Ours didn’t quite resemble the one in the cookbook (for a start our ladybird is pink, not red) but we had fun decorating it. I used a basic butter cake recipe, smothered it in raspberry favoured buttercream, and lined a cake board with green fondant to create grass. I’ve never seen a ladybird with green antennae, but hey, it was the only pipe cleaner I could find in our craft tub!
Cupcakes with confetti and fairy toppers completed my catering. Too easy!
And these beautiful daisy party bags were decorated with handmade cards, courtesy of Miss A.
And for a fairy party, party bags must be filled with fairy dust, naturally…
But the piece de resistance was the Party Girl, herself, dressed in a magnificent Tutu de Monde dress.
My darling girl,
Thank you for filling our lives with so much light and laughter. You have grown incredibly this past year, shedding some of your earlier inhibitions and fully embracing your “loud” personality. It is an absolute joy to see you loving life so fiercely. When I look in your smiling eyes, I can’t help but smile back. You radiate love, offering affection so generously. Thank you for being a beautiful daughter. Thank you for being a caring and kind sister. Thank you for simply being YOU. May the next year be filled with great adventures and discoveries.
I love you to distraction, Mama xxx