When Eleanor turned one we were in Africa and threw a party for the only people we knew: the two women from whom we rented our apartment, their house staff, and the couple – on their honeymoon – who were staying in the guest house below our apartment. When Oliver turned one I made special low-sugar pumpkin muffins, bought him a small gift, and sang happy birthday after “helping” him blow out the candle. Just one week before Alice’s first birthday I, luckily, remembered that it was almost her first  birthday.

If you’re the third child – or really any birth order except the first – you’ll sympathize with Alice: you sometimes feel like an after thought. Hundreds (if not thousands) of photos of your eldest sibling and a handful of you. And they all have your older brother/sister in them. As a parent of three, let me reassure of something. It has nothing to do with you. It’s your parent’s fault.

I was determined not to let Alice’s first birthday pass without ANY celebration – or at least acknowledgment – so I planned for a special cake, including a little “smash” cupcake just for Alice, and made her a felt banner and birthday crown in the Waldorf tradition. We ate cake before dinner and sang happy birthday to a smiling baby – er – toddler.

Although if you had asked me on any given Saturday this winter how fast time was moving my answer would have been “unbearably slowly”, when I look back on the year I can hardly believe how fast time has actually gone. And it’s hard to think back to our lives before Alice; it’s like she has always been a part of our family, and it feels like our family wasn’t really complete without her.

Happy Birthday, dear Alice.




(Despite what Tim might say to the contrary, I did not plan to dress like the cake. [Or did I?])

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