Last Saturday Sam had her third birthday celebration with friends and some family. This was a plan that was long in the making, as from the first set of birthdays of the kids in her playgroup, she made it a point to tell her dad and myself that she wanted a birthday party on her birthday. I was fairly happy to comply (seeing as how I would really only be doing the planning and not the paying, heehee), but the big problem I always encounter is the weather. Sam is a winter baby, and so outdoor playgrounds are always out of the question — even if the kids can bundle up, it’s just too cold a time to socialize for over two hours!
Thankfully, Helene (my trusted source and friend for all things great in Chapel Hill) introduced us to Bull City Crafts, a quaint Art Store and Crafts Boutique in Durham that does indoor craft birthday parties. We tested it out for one of our playdates and Sam (and Elie too!) loved the activities. The birthday package costs weren’t so bad either, considering all that was included. Essentially, we just had to show up.
From the moment that I mentioned to Sam that we were having her birthday party there, she was immediately involved in all of the party planning elements. It was kind of funny and amusing, because she knew exactly what she wanted from the get-go: A princess and dinosaur theme (Who would have thought that combination could exist right?), in red (her favorite color), with red velvet cake. Not chocolate, not vanilla, as most kids would pick — Red Velvet. The shop owner Jessica was taking all of these details down on the day we made the reservation and was quite surprised at Sam’s sophisticated palette (I will have you know, that she does not eat much of a variety of foods, but she will eat the likes of Kare-kare, a Filipino peanut-soup like dish, and Pesto on her noodles — so yes maybe her palette is a little bit sophisticated for a three-year old!). She also knew who she would invite to her special day, and so she made her own guest list. My mother-in-law says she is the youngest party planner in the family.
Of course, we needed to put some personal “touch” to the party. Sam sat with me as we picked out the princess and dinosaur icons that we would use on the invitations. My mom took it a few steps further, and brought with her from Manila, sugar cookies, a birthday signage, name tags, loot bag stickers and cake toppers — all with the princess and dinosaur theme.
Of course, it is not a “typical” Filipino birthday without the abundance of food! Well, traditionally at birthday parties we serve noodles for long life, but I had already made Sam her noodles on her actual birthday and it may have been hard to bring it over for the kids to eat without making much of a mess. Besides, they were all too busy making their wands and crowns to really sit and eat anyway.
All in all, it was a fun morning for both the kids and the adults, and most especially for the birthday girl! Most of us who know how shy and self-conscious Sam is when put in front of an audience could see that while she was still reserved around the adults, she smiled demurely and was quite kilig (It’s our version of “tickled pink” I think) about her big day. She also happily sat and opened all the presents she received and I have to say, she loved every one of them (seriously!). We played with a lot of them the minute she got up from her nap. It was as if she knew that day was dedicated to whatever she wanted and she totally lived it up.
I’ve been thinking back to Sam’s past two birthdays and it constantly amazes me at how much she’s grown each year. So much changes in just a span of 12 months. The fact that she is planning her own birthday party makes me feel so nostalgic and emotional because it’s just the living and walking proof at how my little baby is turning out to be such a little big girl already, and I can’t get over it! It all goes by with just a blink of an eye; and while the challenges are different and I learn a little bit more on a daily basis, there’s no denying that it is still a whole lot of fun. I am glad I saw and participated in every single day of Sam’s last three years (Yes, I have not left her for longer than 5 hours at one point in time!), and I can’t imagine what I would have done had I missed out on something. Everyday just seems to be full of milestones to remember!
Ahhh, what fun. So, until next year’s “birthday”… Now I wonder what that will be like? 😉