Yesterday was Mazzy's fourth birthday. But I think it was the first birthday where Mazzy actually understood what was going on and appreciated her party.
Last year, Mazzy had a great time but she was just excited to eat cake more than anything else. She didn't even care about opening presents. Especially when she realized she couldn't open them herself. Ripping paper and untying ribbons are more advanced motor skills than you would think.
This year, Mazzy was a lot more thoughtful about the whole experience. She was excited to see each friend as they arrived at her party, she opened her presents herself— each with equal amounts of fanfare, and she listened intently when I read her cards.
"Take a picture!" she screamed when Grammy got her a Cars racetrack. "I think I know what this is…" she grinned while unwrapping a pink pair of ice skates— the present she has been asking for since the summer.
The only thing that confused her was the fact that we have been celebrating her birthday for several weeks now. She shared a birthday cake with Harlow at Thanksgiving, we had her birthday party over the weekend and her actual birthday was Monday. For the past three weeks, she's been asking, "Am I four yet?" "Now am I four??" "Can I be four now???"
This was also the first year we threw her party outside of our home. Twelve four-year-olds is about eleven too many four-year-olds to host in a two bedroom apartment. We opted for the Downtown Dance Factory and threw a gender neutral "Creative Movement" party.
Downtown Dance Factory handles everything from activities to party supplies and you just take care of the pizza and cake. You can even have them do your gift bags for an extra fee. I had never been there and had no idea what I was walking into, but IT WAS PERFECT.
Besides the little cake snafu I mentioned yesterday ("Happy Birthday, Mabzy!"), the day went off without a hitch. Well, there was one other thing. There was no heat at the party. But the kids didn't seem to notice and the adults just kept their coats on. It really wasn't a big deal.
When I went to settle up, Downtown Dance Factory gave us 50% off the whole party to make up for the lack of the heat. I didn't even complain!
Honestly, I would take 50% off in lieu of heat ANY DAY.
During the party, I got to see Mazzy show off her dance skills. She's been taking ballet classes this year and watching her, you can really tell. She pranced across the floor in her tutu, paying extra attention to her posture and displaying something similar to (dare I say it?)— GRACE.
Mama was proud.
Not that I care if she's a good dancer or not. But you could see how much pride and joy she was getting from doing one of her favorite activities amongst all her closest friends.
Okay. I'm gonna get sappy for a second. Mazzy was so beautiful at her party. I mean, I know she's insanely adorable on a daily basis, but at the party, she was laughing with her friends, being extra diligent about following the teacher's instructions and being such a good girl.
I guess it's hard to misbehave when everything is designed to be exactly what you want.
Up until Sunday, I felt like whenever we've given Mazzy things, I've been underwhelmed with her response. She doesn't care or she takes things for granted and I end up wondering why we waste our money. I remind myself that she's three and that all kids think the world revolves around themselves.
But Sunday, Mazzy LOVED her party. She knew it was a gift from me and her dad. And I'm pretty sure she felt something close to "gratitude" for the first time.
You're welcome, Mazzy.
That night, after Mazzy went to bed, I decorated her bathroom door with balloons and a handmade sign. The door is directly across from her room, so it's the first thing she sees in the morning when she exits her room to come to ours.
Monday morning, she climbed sleepy-eyed into bed with us. A few minutes after lying between us, she leaned over and whispered in my ear.
"I saw something on the bathroom door, Mommy."
"What did you see?"
"There are balloons and it says Happy Birthday Mazzy."
"Did you do that?"
"That's pretty cool, Mom."
Later that day, Mazzy talked about getting older.
"When am I going to be six?"
"In two years."
"When am I going to be ten?"
"In six years."
"I don't want to ever be ten."
"Because then I'll be a grown up!"
I laughed because obviously ten is far from a grown up. But also because looking at my four-year-old daughter, she already seems a little adult.
Happy Birthday, my growing girl.
Please stay small a little bit longer.