A birthday between two cities.

WELL.

My body has finally secured its battle over its foreign invaders (well, practically… the flu has been unpleasantly prolonged this winter), so I’m back.

The August Photo a Day challenge – I let that go. I’ve been lethargic and the prompts weren’t inspiring me. But, I do have plenty of pictures from Devin’s birthday, for which we drove to Orange to play at the super awesome adventure playground…

… And if you think it’s weird that we drove to another regional city just to play at a playground, well, you’ve obviously never lived in Dubbo.

Three

Yesterday was Devin’s 3rd birthday. Celebration continued today. We’ve had fun, but I have been sick and I’m not feeling up for much posting. I’ve fallen behind the Photo a Day challenge…
I’ll leave with a photo of the cake, blatantly copied from this one.

Jene: “You are one, two, three.”
Devin: “I’m getting old.”
Jene: “Well… you’re getting older.”
Devin: “I’m getting very, VERY old.”

Two at the zoo

Devin’s second birthday (I have two-year-old, holy moly) was a fairly peaceful and relaxed occasion, much the same as last year. And, actually, much the same as his birth day the year before that – three and half quiet hours of labour alone on the couch, a somewhat more frantic half hour of waking Jene up and getting to hospital, a fast but controlled half hour in the delivery room, no screaming (I don’t think?) – bam! There was Devin.

When Devin awoke a little after 6:30 in the morning, he opened his gifts from us in our bed. First, a set of Micador early stART Washable Oil Pastels. Then, the Uncle Goose Classic ABC blocks that I’ve been wanting for a long time. We stacked them, spelled words with them, made the noises of the animals on them, and sniffed them. (What? They have a nice woody smell.)

After breakfast, Devin opened presents from his aunties Erinn and Amanda (a swing from Swingz n Thingz) and from Grandma and Poppy (a Hot Wheels Big Air Jump and racing track). Then Jene and I took him off to the zoo. After a week of unseasonably warm and sunny weather, the clouds and cold had returned right on cue and we froze our little hands off in the 9am chill, especially since I had optimistically declared we were walking. (The zoo is a 6km circuit – you can drive, cycle, hire an electric cart, or walk. I spent a few of my teenage years volunteering there, and I walked around it a lot.)

It was soon apparent that walking wasn’t going to work out. Devin was approaching his usual nap time and Jene was hungry, so the morning wasn’t terribly exciting.

Devin was a little wary of the statues at first – he thought they were real.

These ones are real.

Devin confirming what we all suspected – he is not the world’s tallest baby.

There is a fence there – the edge of the dirt drops off down to a deep, fenced ditch. Much of the zoo is like that, and yes, we were very cautious of Devin’s proximity to it.

Have you ever seen a giraffe fight a giraffe? No? It’s not very nice. It’s quite shocking, actually.
I thought they were such gentle giants. I thought, ‘long necks for eating leaves’.
… Not so much.
(We didn’t see a giraffe fight at the zoo, by the way.)

After a few more animals, we all needed to head back to the car.

I used to be able to walk all over the zoo mainly because I knew lots of short cuts. Unfortunately, it had been a long time since I’d been there, and it had undergone a bit of an overhaul, so the best I could do was point us in the right direction and say, ‘I’m pretty sure this should get us back.’ It did. Phew.

We took Devin home for a nap, except, he didn’t nap. He spent the hour chatting and making noises in his room. Too excited? No – we’ve just figured out that his nap needed to be pushed back an hour.
After a quick lunch (and secret purchase of a cupcake) at the bakery, we headed back to the zoo – our pass allowed all-day access – and drove to the point where we’d turned around earlier.

I’m not sure how many second birthday celebrations the cheetahs had witnessed before this day. Definitely at least one, now.

He was so close to blowing out the candle on his own, but couldn’t quite get it. Jene blew it out, and Devin didn’t seem to mind. He was more interested in this…

I’ll be honest – I think that after the cupcake, the zoo was neither here nor there to Devin. The animals were understandably cold and not doing much, and he’s not overly interested in them as it is.

This elephant was all alone, and I felt sad for it. There were other elephants in another enclosure to the left, so I guess they were separate for a reason. Still. I really like elephants.

He was a slightly more interested in the siamang apes, especially when they were right at the edge of their island – there was only a narrow stretch of water separating us, and I think their human-like characteristics intrigued Devin. Then they grew bored with looking at us and pretty much turned their backs, so that was that.

The very last animals we stopped at were the otters.

Otters… are just fun to watch. That boundless energy. Oh man. One of them had a little running and flipping routine down, so predictable that Jene could make a running commentary of it.

By that time we were all tired and hadn’t even made it halfway around. A visit to the souvenir shop wrapped it up, and we went home. Chinese takeaway for dinner and a later bed time for Devy, and that was the first day into our third year as three.

Deux

Yesterday was Devin’s second birthday.

I’m sure I have plenty more to write, but I’ve just been completely exhausted lately – evident in the lack of posts here.

It’s extremely clich├ęd, but I honestly don’t feel like it was that long ago that I wrote about Devin’s first birthday. His first 12 months didn’t go terribly quickly, but time is just screaming by now. He’s becoming such a little boy now. Fancy that, a child growing.

It’s not necessarily a bad exhausted… just a culmination of the facets of life right now.

I really wish adding photos to posts was simpler… I take my hat off to bloggers who post daily. Or I would, if anyone actually made hats big enough to fit my massive head.

I should stop this here before I go too far off track, I’m really quite tired.

Happy birthday, Devin, my lovely.

Others.

Reading parenting blogs and keeping up with my Baby Center birth club is starting to become a little detrimental to my confidence, I think.

Devin, surprise, surprise, still doesn’t have any words down pat. I suppose the important thing is that he is always trying, but it’s easy to forget that when you read about all the kids the same age who have a large vocabulary and are starting to string words together. The first thing that goes through my mind is, ‘what am I doing wrong?’

The answer is, it’s not what I’m doing ‘wrong’, it’s just what our situation is. And that is, very isolated, no day care, no interaction with anyone but his parents, and no need to talk because they’ll figure out what he wants eventually, anyway.

One thing I’ve noticed, though, is that a lot of kids Devin’s age are really into The Wiggles, Hi-5, Yo Gabba Gabba, The Night Garden… And Devin wouldn’t have the slightest clue what they are. He never watches TV, ever. One, neither of us are very keen on television, especially Jene. Two, even when it is on, he’s off in about a minute doing something else. I’ve tried watching Yo Gabba Gabba with him in the morning, but he’s just not interested. I really wouldn’t mind if there was a show he enjoyed watching. It might help with his vocabulary. But, nope.

And it’s not just the talking. There are a lot of things that make me droop just a little when I read about them from others. Though I do know that the key word there is ‘others’. It’s just something I’ve been thinking about lately.

 

 

The cakiest number.

Devin turned one on Tuesday.

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He played with streamers.

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He opened his presents. (With help.) (He was very tired from a bad night.)

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He played with his presents. (Especially the Mega Bloks.)

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Well, mostly he handed the blocks to Dad, who was the builder.

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There was mess.

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We ate pancakes for breakfast. (It looks like apple, but I swear it’s a pancake… Shouldn’t I be saying that the other way around?)

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He had one candle on his little owl cake.

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He proceeded delicately at first, carefully taking off the jam drop eyes.

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And then hesitantly touching and tasting the icing. (It was a strange, sticky texture for him.)

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Apparently, initial taste tests were favourable.

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The blue shirt is now stained with chocolate icing, in addition to being sun-faded and too short. I didn’t put him in a special birthday outfit. We didn’t have a huge party. We didn’t cater for guests, or buy special decorations (well, $1 for streamers), or give him an expensive gift. It rained all day, so we stayed inside. We ate sandwiches for lunch and leftover lasagne for dinner.

There wasn’t anything particularly special or extravagant about it. But Devin liked the streamers, the pancakes, the gifts and the cake. And at the end of the day, he had still turned one at 4:59 that morning.

Everywhere is walking distance if you have the time.

Devin can walk.

Almost.

Well, he can. He stands up unaided, takes many unaided steps, and sometimes reaches his destination without falling over. He is still mainly a crawler, though.

I am admittedly not as excited about this development as I was about crawling, for two reasons.

1, we were waiting for him to crawl for a long time. He seemed to be *thisclose* for months. When he finally figured it out, his little world was opened up. He wasn’t stuck in one place, whinging because he couldn’t do anything. He could finally go. Walking is, for all intents and purposes, upright crawling.

2, he actually took his first solo steps a while ago. Walking has been a steadily improving skill for the past couple of weeks. It’s been a gradual learning curve, not a sudden, single event.

I am still, of course, very happy. I love looking up and seeing him standing in front of me. I love the way he puts his bottom in the air, steadies himself with his hands on the ground, gets up, and then just stands in the one spot with his arms by his side. I love his funny, drunk steps. I love the walking.

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