It was my baby girl’s first birthday- truly a bittersweet day. In the weeks approaching this monumental event I had been rather emotional and nostalgic;a few days before her birthday I cleaned out her dresser while weeping over the impossibly tiny newborn hats and booties. I tearfully informed my husband that I had found her umbilical cord stump in the drawer. He proclaimed this news disgusting, but clearly, he was mistaken. However when September 29th actually rolled around, I felt mostly excited to celebrate her introduction into toddlerhood. In the past month she had experienced a developmental surge- she was walking, eating more food, drinking from a cup (occasionally), using more words, and making animal sounds. I had almost forgotten how much I love the animal sound stage. Is there anything cuter than a chubby toddler responding, “Baa-baa!” when you ask what a chicken says? (Hey, it’s pretty close to “bawk, bawk!”) Also, instead of saying “Woof!” she pants like a dog, and instead of saying “Neigh!” she blows “pfftttt” with her lips like a horse. Also, she began actually rocking her babies and stuffed animals. So cute. But I digress.

The ebullient birthday girl
All day long I felt festive and animated in honor of this milestone.  She was enthusiastic when presented with her gifts, and she actually played with them, a turn of events I had not expected. Before her party began, it was essential we feed her a good lunch and get her down for a nap to make sure she was in fine spirits for her guests. I set her up in her highchair with some fruit and ham, and prepared her big sister’s lunch as well. Six year old Izzy has been demonstrating her disturbingly comprehensive knowledge of pop music since entering first grade. As a testament of his love for her, my heavy metal-loving husband frequently indulges her with the Katy Perry Pandora station. As we sat down for lunch, Izzy requested that I play her “Kidz Bop” CD- an unasked-for gift bestowed upon us from another parent, likely presented with a smirk and the unspoken understanding that misery loves company. As parents whose ears had thus far been unsullied by these kid-friendly pop tunes, we were naively grateful for this endowment. How little we knew. 

Kidz Bop Dance Party

Izzy was trying to convey to me which song was her favorite. All she could come up with was that it was about Colorado, which triggered my lyric memory. “Oh, Good Life,” I told her. “By One Republic.” Or the child equivalent Kidz Bop cover of One Republic, to be clear. I started the song, which begins fairly similarly to the authentic version, of which I admit I am quite fond. My daughter began to sing along fervently, clapping her hands rhythmically and precisely on the beat as she danced passionately in front of her baby sister’s high chair. Sophie, looking on in delight, began to clap her hands as well and giggle.

Perhaps it was the fact that my daughter was singing and clapping so earnestly, with such breathtaking ingenuousness, or that the two sisters were connecting so joyfully in that moment, but I felt my heart swell. I sang along with my daughter with gusto, hoping she wouldn’t notice the tears welling in my eyes. Which, of course, she did. “This could really be a good life,” we sang together, our hearts and voices full. She has become a person, I realized.

Mommy has become quite a sap, it is true.

My spunky big girl
The overpriced, but not overrated cupcake

Hours later, as we presented Sophie with her special (and outrageously expensive) birthday cupcake, I watched her face light up. Her guests, our close friends and family members, serenaded her with the Happy Birthday song, and she appeared to be genuinely elated. She smiled so sweetly, as though the gracious recipient of an unexpected surprise. Having previously not been a big fan of food, I was uncertain if Sophie would actually show any interest in her cupcake. But, swept away in the magic of her day, she was thrilled with her treat and devoured a good portion of it. We celebrated her life, surrounded by loved ones, and together we greeted with eagerness the stage that was to follow, complete with the accompanying joys and challenges. She is becoming a person, too.

Bring on the sugar crash

Click to access the login or register cheese