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Tuesday, December 17th, 2013
3 years, 1 month.
It was just a month ago that we celebrated your 3rd birthday with your best friend Sophie. I had pointed out the fact that your other friends who showed up to your party were all girls.
And for Sophie’s birthday party this past weekend at Shipwrecked Playhouse, the boys were unable to make it as well.
Here you are again in a situation where you’re the only boy, surrounded by girls.
Not that you minded, or even thought it was out of the ordinary.
In fact, you were quite preoccupied by the fact Sophie had told you earlier in the week at school that she had a surprise for you that you’d receive at her party.
The moment you sat down next to her as the cake was being cut, you politely yet very directly asked her, “What’d you get for me, Sophie?”
She didn’t tell you.
However, you patiently waited for her to open her gifts… knowing afterwards you could see what was in your goodie bag from her.
Sophie and your friend Madison both eagerly watched you open your goodie bag, as if that were just as important as the actual birthday kid opening her gifts.
You were happy: There was Play-Doh in there- which I am finding is like currency among 3 year-olds, as cigarettes are in prison.
Afterwards, I really enjoyed observing the way you played, versus the way your girl friends did.
While Sophie and Madison used the phone to repeatedly announce clean-up on aisle 7…
You drove the Lightning McQueen car around the indoor playground, exploring the ins and outs of the joint. Granted, you visited Sophie and Madison, by parking right in front of them as they played on the phone. You served as the sole, straight-faced audience member.
After a few minutes, you drove away without even the thought of giving them any applause.
You acted like a total boy the whole time. And they acted girls, accordingly.
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Monday, November 18th, 2013
Your 3rd birthday, this past Saturday, marked the first birthday of yours where you’ve been old enough to truly decide for yourself what you wanted to buy with a gift card.
And you instantly knew what you wanted to buy: a remote control truck.
The proud smile on your face in this picture says it all.
As Mommy and I took our time looking for Christmas gifts for your cousin Calla, you so patiently (!) followed us around; never saying a word or begging to leave.
Instead, you toted around that remote control monster truck; the box was as nearly as big as you are.
You were so happy to be getting a “big boy toy.”
Honestly, I was a bit surprised you wanted such a complicated toy.
Or maybe you actually are old enough to want a remote control toy?
Once we got home, we wasted no time whatsoever tearing the box apart.
While you definitely wanted me to teach you right away how to use the remote control to make it go, about ten minutes later you were on the ground, pushing the thing across the carpet.
Sure, it was fun for you getting to drive your new remote control monster truck across your parking lot of Hot Wheels, but I suppose you missed the hands on experience of pushing a toy and making the motor sounds yourself.
The most fun part of it for me was hiding the remote control behind my back while you played with your truck on the carpet, then making it suddenly drive away from you, then having it come back charging at you.
I cracked up at your response the first time I did that:
“Daddy, it moves by itself!”
Your innocent answer made me so happy. Plus, I loved helping you suspend your belief that this toy truck really does have a mind of its own.
The remote control, as far as you’re concerned, is optional.
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Sunday, November 17th, 2013
3 years old.
For your last two birthdays, Mommy and I didn’t keep things simple.
We combined both friends and family to have an official birthday party, each time.
Even though our “family life” is so much more stabilized and easier than it was for the past two years, without giving it much thought, perhaps by default, Mommy and I decided to have a purposesly low key (!) birthday party for you.
So we did things a bit off beat…
First, on Saturday, the morning of your birthday, we had your first and best friend over, with her parents.
As this picture collage that Sophie’s parents made illustrates, you two had plenty of unscripted fun.
My favorite part to witness was when Sophie suggested, “Come on, Jack. Let’s go upstairs!”
So we all trekked up to your boy cave.
I’ve mentioned before, we have the top half of a rockasan in your bedroom that serves as a “boat.” You and Sophie had a great time giving each other rides in it.
And somehow, even though I was only feet away, I missed the moment when Sophie ended up with the toy basket on top of her head.
Of course, after lunch, both of you were in need of a nap, so the celebration came to an end, but not before we all had some of Mommy’s yummy vegan cupcakes!
After Sophie left, we aimed for a nap, which I think ended up turning into us watching part of Monsters, Inc. that Sophie got for you. (You now own your first Disney movie!)
Then later in the afternoon, we had two more of your friends up with their parents, and essentially repeated what happened earlier that day.
It wasn’t until just now, as I put these pictures together, that I realized only girls came to your birthday party.
(Your friend Troy was out of town and couldn’t make it, by the way.)
So it made it that much funnier that in the goody bags we gave to them, each friend received a Hot Wheels pick-up truck.
Yes, and that’s pretty much your 3rd birthday party. Of course, we’re going to spend next weekend with my family to celebrate your birthday with them… and I have a special surprise being shipped in from Atlanta… or I should say, driven in…
You’ll see what I mean in a couple days!
(Plus, I just have a feeling that to be so mellow about your 3rd birthday party, we will end up making up for it with your 4th birthday party.)
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Saturday, November 2nd, 2013
2 years, 11 months.
Two weeks from today, you’ll turn 3 years old. Today Mommy picked up a few Hot Wheels pick-up trucks as party favors for your very small birthday party coming up; the theme is “Trucks.”
The intention was for you to receive one of these party favors yourself, at the time of your actual birthday party.
You convinced Mommy to let you “just hold” your favorite truck out of the bunch, a brown 1987 Toyota.
That’s right, you carried it, in the package, all day, out in public. We went to your school’s Halloween party today, with each member of our family having to hold your in-the-package pick-up truck at some point.
As you were receiving candy and prizes from your teachers along the way, there we were carrying around a packaged toy.
On the drive home tonight, you announced, “Somebody said I can open it.”
You’re unsure of exactly who it was, of course. Being that the only other two people in the car were Mommy and me, it really made the “somebody” a real mystery.
By the time we walked in the front door, Mommy left it up to me. The ridiculous compromise we settled on was that we would let you open your truck, but we had to keep the package in tact and “pretend” to open it in front of your birthday guests so it would seem like a surprise to you too.
Patience is a virtue… that you’re still working on. But hey, so am I. Honestly, who’s not still working on that one?
It’s so hard to hold back sometimes, even though the timing just isn’t right yet.
I know I’ve lived that lesson more times than I wish to count.
The good news for you is, I don’t see a lot of repercussions with you privately opening your own birthday party favor two weeks early.
No one ever has to know, especially since we managed to open the package without tearing it too badly.
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Monday, April 22nd, 2013
2 years, 5 months.
A few weeks ago in “5 Reasons Your Facebook Friends Are Going Vegan,” I mentioned that you and Mommy were practicing recipes for cupcakes for my 32nd birthday.
The outcome: Mommy and I agree that my vegan cupcakes (the Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes With Almond Buttercream ones from the vegan recipe blog, Oh She Glows) were so good, they were actually better than those trendy “$4 cupcakes” that we used to buy.
We were able to enjoy all the physical and psychological thrills of eating chocolate cupcakes, but without the guilt hangover afterwards. (The fat in the cupcakes comes from almond milk and olive oil, not animal products or bi-products.)
They were so perfecto, we’re going to make them again this weekend. Lucky us!
(Yes, I meant to say perfecto.)
As a vegan, it is nearly impossible to find vegan chocolate.
It’s one thing to find chocolate that just so happens to not contain milk or eggs, or even honey, but that’s not good enough for most vegans like me.
I also will not accept high fructose corn syrup (Monsanto much?) nor food dyes derived from bugs (Carmine or Crimson Lake) or petroleum (Red 40, Yellow 5 and 6).
As I’ve mentioned before, 2.5 percent of the country now identifies themselves as “vegan,” up from 1 percent in 2009.
In other words, the public’s demand for vegan chocolate, as well as chocolate treats and snacks, has more than doubled in the past 3 years; in theory, at least.
So even if I sound extreme in my search for vegan chocolate, I’m clearly not alone.
Annie’s Homegrown, an admirable brand that keeps finding its name randomly mentioned by me on a regularly basis, is clever enough they actually have a “Vegan Snacks” tab on their website, featuring my personal favorite: Chocolate Bunny Grahams.
I should point out that Annie’s Homegrown is the only affordable and easily obtainable vegan snack source I have been exposed to so far.
For example, for my birthday Mommy bought me these awesome coconut cocoa ball truffles from some fancy vegan company, but they probably cost as much as a couple of bald eagle heads.
In other words, affordable vegan chocolate is a rare find.
Even if the major food companies ever pick up on this growing demand, I doubt they will be able to make a product in which vegans approve.
It’s probably not worth it to them to market to the 3% of the population who (I assume, if they’re like me) generally distrusts food companies who use petroleum and bugs in their food designed for children to eat.
We’ll stick with the plant-based stuff; even if we have to make it ourselves.
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