First Published June 29th 2012 by Andy Hinds
We’ve got a lot of big days between the end of May and the end of June. My birthday, Father’s Day,our wedding anniversary, and then, two days after that, our kids’ birthday.
That happened on Monday. The girls turned three. Three!
As momentous as this landmark may seem, and as prematurely as it seems to have arrived, I just can’t muster up a lot of gooey sentimentality for the occasion. I love the girls on their birthday just the same as I did the day before (which is a really really lot.)
They’re growing up, and I’m ambivalent about that. And I’m constantly amazed at the process. I guess that’s why the birthday doesn’t make me all weepy: because part of me is a little weepy every day when the increments of their growth sneak up on me.
Especially now that they’re in school a couple days a week, and they know more things when I pick them up in the afternoon than they did when I dropped them off in the morning. I’ve understood what the word “bittersweet” means for a long time, and I’ve recognized the feeling in books and movies; but I don’t know if I had ever experienced it firsthand before having kids.
The fact that they clicked past the 1,095-day mark didn’t really freak me out or make me reflect any more than usual on how they’ve grown, since I reflect on it pretty much continuously. But it was a great excuse to celebrate with a big adventure.
We decided not to have a birthday party this year, for all the reasons any sane person might be reluctant to do so. Instead, we just spent the day pretending to be tourists in our city. And it was one of the best days ever.
First, we jumped on the trolley, and went downtown to the waterfront. Despite Cobra covering her ears for the duration of her first trolley experience, she claimed that she “loved” it.
We had a little time to kill before the ferry came, so we wandered along the embarcadero. We ended up getting some oysters to tide us over until lunch. Eating raw, snot-textured, unchewable shellfish should be disgusting; but somehow it’s wonderful.
The kids didn’t want anything to do with them.
Then it was time to board the ferry for a ten-minute ride over to Coronado.
Once we got to our destination, we ate way too much seafood at a nice Italian restaurant near the ferry landing.
Cobra started doing this thing where, instead of just saying “Yummy!” she holds her hand up as if it were a puppet yelling “Yummy!” into her face. Now we all do variations of that when something is yummy.
There was some postprandial whining; but playing on the beach fixed it.
We had to sprint on our pedal-powered surrey to catch the ferry back to San Diego in time for dinner. On the way home, we stopped at the fancy-schmancy dessert shop and let the girls pick out their birthday treats. Three of them, since they’re three now. And since their parents are gluttons.
Then it was time to open the presents. Right out of their Amazon boxes. My wife had ordered a bunch of costumes for them: princess, fairy, pirate, fire-fighter, and doctor. I know, I know. I vowed to never let the word “princess” be spoken in our house.
That’s why we call the princess costumes “ball gowns.” Much more on that later. Anyway, the costumes are quite nice. Not homemade, like your more hardcore parent bloggers would insist on, but way better than any costumes I had as a kid.
There was some dinner, I think, and then, of course, the fancy desserts. Also not homemade.
The girls have some inexplicable objection to singing “Happy Birthday.” When we go to other kids’ parties, I try to prep them beforehand, but they tell me flat-out that they won’t sing it. Instead, they sing their ABC’s. So my wife and I sang “Happy Birthday”, and the kids sang their ABC’s.
Written by Andy Hinds , an equal parts carpenter, writer, and stay-at-home dad living in San Diego. He’s a contributor at The Daily Beast, The Atlantic, NYTimes, and Slate, and betadadblog.com.