So it’s pretty standard that babies don’t remember their first birthdays so birthday conventions (cake the baby can’t eat, or maybe a party) are for everyone else…. Especially older siblings.
We told Rockstar this was the plus side of being pulled about by an adoring baby sister who just can’t get enough of him – he gets to pick the cake he wants. (And when she outgrows hair and shirt pulling is also roughly when she starts to have her own preference for cake because she can actually eat it, see how nicely everything works out in the end?)
The morning starts off pretty normally, then after breakfast The Mens work on setting up Little Miss’ ball pool birthday treat… We’d ordered a red strawberry-flavored Haagen Dasz ice cream cake and mini chocolate chip cookies because Rockstar’s first choice of cake (lined with biscuit) was sold out and then he wanted to put cookies on the side of the cake… Unfortunately I left them out and half were gone in the morning because Kings was looking for a midnight snack (no he doesn’t have a sweet tooth – when he’s relaxing in front of the tv he will eat the closest thing handy, unfortunately). Ah well <shrugs>…
Also, I decided on a ball pool for Princess because I have a thing against communal ball pools. It’s umpteen snotty kids in a gadzillion balls that can’t possibly be cleaned often enough for me to feel comfortable. I’d still like Little Miss to be able to put stuff in her mouth because I do realize that’s the way babies learn, but the one trip we made to the Club Bel Air indoor ball play area, she ended up with a mild runny nose and diarrhea, which I’m guessing is when she licked the padded pillars (not even the balls in the pool!) before I could stop her. I know two people who rubbed their eyes after touching all the balls in the public pool and had mild eye infections after.
It was ball pool or one of those bike-things with a handle so you can push a baby in (fine, or both) but she doesn’t like sitting on bikes or rocking horses for very long, so we went with ball pool. Maybe a scooter in future. Little Miss’ll be Scooter Girl.
Naturally Her Highness doesn’t want to get out of the ball pool when it’s time for her mid morning nap, and so we cut it really close making it for 11.30am service across town.
(It’s the last day of Kingdom Rock, the 5 week Children’s Ministry program which attracts almost double the regular number of 250-ish kids and truth be told we’re still struggling with our Sunday timing so Rockstar already ended up attending adult service with us at 5pm on two separate occasions (kids’ service only in morning)…)
Because of the massive heat warnings that have been out over the last few days, we leave JD in air-conditioned comfort (though she still gets her regular 2 hours a day in the park nearby with iced water) at home and…. try to figure how to kill the time until Rockstar’s taekwondo grading.
That’s how we end up at the Shangri La near the Pacific Place mall because…….. Little Miss is a budding mall rat. It’s also why the day before we had ordered her cake at Elements shopping mall in Kowloon – one of Her Highness’ favorite thing to do is people watch at the mall (not, say, shop – she retains little interest in being bought little toys and things, she’d rather people watch thank God; I’d rather any penchant for shopping emerge when a person is paying for their own shopping. As I’ve remarked to another reader on email before, I can barely conceive of deriving pleasure from shopping for seriously frivolous luxuries except with one’s own money)
And the Shangri La has the added bonus of live music, late afternoon.
Speaking of which, we have several pairs of beautiful shoes from various girlfriends of mine – some branded, some fiercely impractical – and they shall be framed up instead. Especially the newborn-sized leather thong sandals. They were literally Little Miss’ first pair, and that plaster-of-paris baby foot and handprint set every new parent seems to be gifted at some point or other was a total loss.
I recently also came away with a Stella McCartney Kids lace eyelet dress, cotton sweater with a touch of cashmere (for Rockstar), and said crinkly ribbon-ed cardi above for a grand total of about HKD 800 at a Lane Crawford warehouse. Was 60-70% off; cheaper than Zara or Seed or sale season Jacadi… My absolute shopping of choice is the occasional branded children’s find that I want to keep for the grandkids (got that from my Mum and her keeping of some (not all) of the Most Hideous Things Imaginable that she put me in and which I now have to keep because OMG My Mum Kept It For 35 Years How Can I Possibly Throw It Out At Least Little Miss’ Stuff She Can’t Throw Out Will Be Exquisite. Yes, sez me.)
But I digress (sorry bout that – it’s like I hardly buy new stuff for myself anymore because all the branded stuff I used to wear at work has a double life, but I get so taken by what Little Miss in particular might wear. And there I was more into Transformers than Barbies, as a little girl…)
And after two very messy diaper changes and a large meal for all, because we would have to keep our strength up for the long day, it was time to locate the very local sports center where Rockstar would be having his grading. That’ll be in a separate post.
Meantime, one parking ticket and yellow belt grading later I put Little Miss in the chair and Rockstar still in his gi behind it just for a pic to remember her first birthday and his first grading had been on the same exhausting day and…..
Yep. That’s a totally destroyed formerly ice cream cake. It used to be an almost 3-inch high deep red heart-shaped cake with strawberries. Was a shocker to open the box, realize there was no more dry ice (Kings would later tell me he’d discovered everything had melted and thrown it away, but forgotten it was an ice cream cake; me on the other hand, I thought the dry ice would hold because my frozen breast milk takes forever to thaw in the fridge) and the now round cake box-shaped puddle of strawberry-flavored mush.
The very few comparable cake dummies in the world – READ THIS AND DON’T TRASH YOUR HAAGEN DASZ ICE CREAM CAKE.
I felt really, really lousy about the cake, actually. And so there are traditions, and then there are traditions, and somewhere in between is where the way we say “I love you” and the way our child experiences it meets.
Oh, she had a darn good time. So did her brother. But I still found Strawberry Mush too unacceptable, even if no one else especially not the kids care, even for someone who doesn’t hold that many traditions dear or for that matter, ice cream or cake. Rockstar so does not care about cake that he turned down the Official Kingdom Rock Last Lesson Cupcake, which was probably a little disturbing judging from the faces of some of the volunteers who had roughly the same expressions as when he turned down ice cream at that last birthday party he went to. Everyone just looks from him to me like I must be Insanely Obsessive Compulsive Parent About Sugar when it’s all simply my son’s own fault – he doesn’t always want ice cream or cake.
So anyway we are getting a bloody kickass cake and I don’t care that no one in our household even particularly likes cake, we are going to eat it. All of us. See how irrational parenting makes you?
Because it’s her freaking first birthday, dammit.
ps: Obviously, next up is Rockstar’s grading. ..