This past weekend, we had the joy of celebrating Emma's eighth birthday. Technically, her second birthday with us, but in my eyes the first. Last year when we celebrated Emma's first birthday in Canada, it was more of a gong show than anything. She had only been here for two months and everything was so new to her. Attachment was still a huge issue, and any overstimulation of anykind seemed to regress any progress that had been made. Prior to Emma's birthday last year, our outings were extremely limited and guests in our house were limited as well. We were really working hard on getting her to settle in and find her place in our family. But when birthday time rolled around we thought (as I'm sure many of you would agree) how can we not celebrate this little girl's first birthday in Canada? Well, it seemed like a good idea at the time.
But did we ever pay for it. I just went back and re-read last year's post after Emma's birthdsy. Boy, did I ever sugarcoat things. I guess the birthday itself was not so bad, aside from a few meltdowns on little Emma's part. It was the aftermath when everybody left. Any progress we had made in attachment and behaviour was completely gone. I know it's probably difficult for people reading this to understand, unless you've been through this adoption process yourself. In fact, our family found it very strange when we once again sequestered ourselves in our house for a few more months, limiting guests.
I don't know how many times Terry would tell me, "Just wait a year, and everything will be fine!" I hated hearing that because first of all, I thought a year was way too long to be dealing with these issues, and second of all, I didn't believe him.
Fast forward a year........it's not very often that I say it, but you were right honey! :):)
Not only did Emma have a birthday party, she had THREE birthday parties! And one great thing about this year compared to last year is that she's now seen enough birthdays that she knows what they are. We were able to countdown on the calendar and build up the anticipation and excitement in her. The first thing Emma said to me when I walked in to her room the morning of her birthday was, "Mommy, are you going to say happy birthday to me?" I did, and then proceeded to torment her with presents scattered all over the house. She'd squeal with delight every time she found one and beg to know what each one was when I told her she couldn't open them till daddy got home. Before she left for school in the morning, she had a pile of gifts all stacked on the kitchen counter ready to be opened later.
So party number one was just us. Terry and I took Emma out for a nice dinner (adding a little more torture as she had to wait even longer to open presents!) When we got to the restaurant she asked, "Are they gonna sing happy birthday to me?" We pretended like we had no clue what she was talking about. I wish I would had taken the camera, because the look on her face when the servers came out singing happy birthday was absolutely priceless!
Then it was a rush to get home to open presents.......
Translation: Oh my gosh!It's a Tinkerbell...and wings!
On Saturday, Emma had her "kiddie" birthday party. She had some family members and friends from school come with us to a huge play place in Edmonton. The party was three and a half hours long and seemed to go by in about five minutes! It's alot of work managing all those little kids. Thank goodness we had help. My brother and sister-in-law were along for the ride. Little did they know I'd be putting them to work! I'm so glad they were there. If it weren't for them, I wouldn't have any pictures of the party:
Needless to say, she had the time of her life!
Next day, it was off to grandpa's house for thanksgiving dinner (the coldest thanksgiving we've seen in 50 years....ewwww!) But we had a wonderful time, and of course, had another birthday celebration for Emma with the family.
Last, but not least, was Emma's final present that came from Grandpa. I wish I could post the video, but it's far too long. All the jumping and squealing was quite a site to see as Emma laid eyes on her new bike.
Emma just had to take it out for a test drive. Did I mention that it was the coldest thanksgiving in 50 years? Oh, what we do for our kids!
So that was Emma's birthday weekend, and she handled it like a pro. There is absolutely NO way she would have handled this much excitement last year. This year, her behaviour was great, she was grateful for the gifts she received and most importantly of all, she still loves her mommy and daddy!
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