Patrick’s Third Birthday

He’s three! Can you believe that? Three!! No one.. NO ONE talking to us about Patrick’s prognosis ever lead us to hope for a third birthday.

Perhaps that is why I felt so much pressure in planning this year’s birthday celebration. Because really, it seems like every year is just one more amazingly huge and miraculous BIG DEAL. I let it psych me out. Thank goodness for a good husband who grounded me a bit and reminded me that we mostly needed to plan this birthday for Patrick.

And so, we did a whole lot of what Patrick liked to celebrate his birthday.

To begin, we started celebrating the Saturday before his birthday. No matter what, it’s still awfully hard to compete with Halloween celebrations, and so since he’s still too young to tell the days apart, we spoiled him rotten a few days early.

Saturday afternoon, we met Brian’s sister and her family and my sister and her family and Brian’s dad at the zoo.  It was trick-or-treating day at the zoo so it was a little crazy with masses of people and lots of costumes. And because of that, we didn’t allow a lot of time. But, we still managed to fit in a ride on the carousel, and we saw the tigers and giraffes and elephants.

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And then we had all the cousins (one in costume) gather for this picture and they were all very cute…

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Until Patrick pushed his littlest cousin off the bench onto the ground, and then we decided it was time to go.

The next stop was Tepanyaki Steakhouse, one of those great Japanese restaurants where the chef cooks your meal right in front of you with all kind of fun and fire.

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All the grandparents met us here, along with some aunts, uncles and cousins. There were enough of us to need them to connect the tables together, which is something I didn’t even know they had a way to do. (Sorry to my mom and dad who got stuck at the little spacer table.)

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We came for the soup, which is still one of Patrick’s very favorite foods. The show and yummy food for us was a bonus.

The waitress was even kind enough help us sing to him, even though he couldn’t have the free dessert to come with it. You should have seen him smile when he heard his name in the song!

It was a good day!

We did Patrick’s birthday cake (for the first time) on Sunday at our family dinner with Brian’s family.

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This year, we chose Bob the Builder as the theme for the “cake.” Notice the quotation marks there? That’s because there was no food in the cake this year, either. Instead, I made foam diggers to match the show and put them all around the sides and then spent far more time than I really want to confess to painting a background scene and bricks to match the show as accurately as possible. Finally, we ordered a set of Bob the Builder diggers on e-bay. I’d meant to buy these in a store or online but we discovered that they are incredibly difficult to find. Bless the e-bay seller who managed to get these toys to us on time for the birthday.

The first time he saw his cake, Patrick pretty much ignored the candle. Instead, he said “gih-goh” (digger) and grabbed Lofty from the top of the cake.

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When he discovered the cake was full of all his favorite Bob the Builder friends, he was one happy kid.

Then, we opened some other presents and played with noisemakers and then took him home to bed.. we had work to do.

Sunday night, Brian put together Patrick’s birthday present so we could have it waiting for him in the living room as soon as he woke up. I wrapped up a couple of other presents and put them there, too.

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His face lit up when he spotted his very own tricycle!

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Even though there was frost on the ground and the sun was just up, he had to take it for a test drive. (Yes, it has a handle on the back to allow a parent to steer… This is great while he’s learning.)

We sent Brian to work. Patrick rode (or I pushed him) for the next hour.

Then, he was finally ready for more presents:  new backpack to take to school, and a tool set to go with his halloween costume.

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I let him play for another hour, and then we had to hurry and get him dressed. Halloween means trick-or-treating at Daddy’s work.

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Of course, Patrick also dressed as Bob the Builder this year. He was really excited about the tool belt. (In fact, wore it every day for the next week.)… And he was very cute trick-or-treating from desk to desk, though he had a bad habit of sticking every candy bar that had peanuts directly into his mouth.

After a nap, we went and visited grandparents where we snapped these very cute pictures of his costume.

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Then, we rushed home to finish trick-or-treating in our neighborhood. Cramming all that halloween into a birthday is tricky stuff!

But Patrick was happy as he got what he’d really wished for all day, another chance to ride his bike. Yup, he trick-or-treated on wheels this year. And he loved it much more than last year!

Then, we came home and while we warmed up, Daddy helped Patrick to decorate his very first pumpkin. (Sorry, Patrick kept blinking at or turning away from the camera.)

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I was so excited to find Mr. Potato Head parts for the pumpkin. He’s not old enough to carve, but he totally got how to do this!

And then we put him to bed.

Because he’s done with early intervention but not yet able to start preschool, I let him keep all the birthday in the living room, including the tricycle, for the whole week. We went for rides and played with diggers and he wore various parts of his costume and played with balloons.

And just as the novelty of that wore off, we got to go celebrate his birthday one more time with HopeKids. The HopeKids birthday party is quickly becoming a favorite tradition for me. Classic Fun Center opens for just HopeKids for the morning. They give families free reign of the inflatables and lift all the rules about shoes and carrying kids and where grownups should and should not be. In other words, they remove all the barriers possible to allow kids a chance to do things they otherwise couldn’t do.

And for Patrick, this is a big deal. Once a year, he can play on inflatables because mom and dad can help.

And so, Brian carried him up the giant slide at least half a dozen times just because he loves the thrill of the big slide. And then he jumped and made him fall over at least 2 dozen times in the bounce area.

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This year, they’d added something even more wonderful, though… toddlerland. An inflatable made just for toddlers that was a little firmer for easier walking… and that had a slide that Patrick could almost do himself!

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Brian climbed up into the top so that he could move the tubes around. Then Patrick would climb up the steps ALMOST without any help. Brian would help position him at the top of the slide and move the tubes over.. Then Patrick would push off and down the slide he’d go. Then shout “MO MO” (more) or ” ‘GIN” (again) and start back up all over again.

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We also visited the blast zone, which was fun but a little bit too loud for Patrick’s taste. Still, he liked the climb to get there.

At last, our time was up and we joined the rest of the group for cake and presents. They sang to the kids and Patrick blew out a candle in a cupcake.

And then, we came home for some well-earned naps.

Sunday was our last birthday celebration. This time with my family.

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This time I remembered to take a picture of the cake, though I changed the top. Why? Because at the time I thought I’d like to tell the parties apart, though in hindsight I wonder why.

In the background you can see the cake for Patrick’s older cousin whose birthday is a few days after his. We sang to them both and he grinned just as big.

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Then he blew out the candle, but his blow wasn’t strong enough and dad had to help.

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And this time the cake was full of replica caterpiller diggers.

And at long last, after over a week of celebrating, we were done with Patrick’s birthday.

That’s a lot of party for a little guy. But, hey, that’s a lot of living and miracles for a little guy.

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