Today was Ella’s first birthday! I feel like the first birthday is more for the rest of the family than the baby, and I was so excited and overwhelmed. I cannot believe it was one year ago that Ella was born at my Dad’s house by the lake, with my loving, experienced midwives by our side. Mo and Ben stayed home from school and we wanted to share the day with all of our loved ones. We also had a dentist appointment for the kids so we had quite a marathon day- we left the house at about 8am and didn’t walk back through the door until 5pm! Today was truly full of gifts and love so I want to share with you some of the beautiful things that I am thankful for:
Today’s visit at a holistic dentist was the first time ever that Ben didn’t cry at the dentist. We are talking about many traumatic dentist visits, so it was very impressive that the staff at the office and the dentist were able to overcome his anxiety and scary feelings about what he has already been through. Most pediatric dentists use distraction with toys and TV’s to lessen kids’ discomfort. They also constantly praise kids and say things like “Good job!” “Don’t cry.” “It’s okay!” “Do ___, okay?” These phrases may seem innocent enough, but in a situation where a child is completely powerless and experiencing, fear, pain, and uncertainty, they are actually quite manipulative. I have watched my little peanut mumble, “Okay..” through a mouthful of equipment, when he was clearly not okay. I say, he is allowed to cry when he is in pain, and he is allowed to not be okay when someone is drilling his teeth. Today, the hygienist who cleaned his teeth did not present it as something to distract himself from and just “get through” while half watching a junky TV show. She showed him each piece of equipment she would use, she let him touch it and put it in his own mouth to see what it felt like. She allowed him to become empowered and part of the experience instead of just having something done to him. I am obviously more than thrilled about this! I feel so blessed that after our long difficult journey with Ben’s dental care, we have finally found someone we can all feel comfortable with and trust. B”H!! (an abbreviation for Baruch Hashem which basically means thank God!)
We went to Bunnie Cakes, a vegan Kosher bakery, to get some special treat cupcakes to celebrate Ella’s big day. We brought a dozen to our favorite Thursday playdate at the urban garden where I got to sit and talk with my lovely lady friends, Ben ran around with the boys, Ella played with her baby pals, and Mo took the bigger kids to the nearby playground to get their ya-yas out. We sang happy birthday, passed around the scrumptious little sweets, and hugged our girl. We bought a veggie share and Blair collected a bunch of fresh greens and herbs for us to take home (yay!). We even made it back to the car before the usual Miami afternoon thunderstorm rolled in.
Next, we headed to our friend’s house with more cupcakes to share. She had done us the awesome favor of picking up a Vitamix for us at Costco since we don’t have a membership. I have wanted one for about ten years now, since my first raw food days, and I am so thankful that we finally made the big purchase. Thank you Zinta for getting it for us at the Costco discounted price! Stay tuned for some new recipes 🙂
We finally headed home and my brother and sister in law came over with my sweet niece Siona. This seemed to be Ella’s favorite part of the day, since she loves Siona so much that she wants to eat her. Ella gets so excited when she sees her, squealing, clapping, giving Siona kisses. It’s the best!
When I laid down to nurse Ella before bed I felt her soft hair that has grown curls at the ends, her strong legs that are walking most of the time now, and her inquisitive, skillful hands she uses to explore the world all day. I tried to remember what it was like to lay next to her the first night we spent separate, but together. I remember her tiny face and hands peeking out from her fleece pajamas. I remember feeling so lost, but so found. I am truly grateful for everything I have learned from both of my children this year. I have learned that I am a superhero yet I can’t “do it all.” I am strong and my greatest strength is found when I can hold back. I am loving and my greatest love realized is watching my children love each other.
Happy Birthday Ella!