Dear Baby Princesses,

Happy 6th Birthday, BP1!

Okay, so I’m a couple of weeks late in writing this. But in true BP1 form, you have been celebrating your birthday for a good portion of that, so I think it’s okay.

First, just the recap. As this is the first year we have had a child in public school, it is also the first year we have been faced with a week-long fall break in late September. While this is the most idiotic school schedule known to humankind, there was no reason not to at least enjoy the time off. So we celebrated your actual birthday in Gatlinburg, where we rented a cabin for a few days with S, B, L and D. We love hanging out with their family because the boys, L and D, are the same ages as you baby princesses.

Well, we had an absolutely fantastic time. While you certainly love visiting your grandparents and other family, it was a wonderfully unique experience for you to visit somewhere that was purely a vacation destination, and all we had on the docket was picking which fun thing to do every day (or very deliberately doing nothing). Fun attractions we visited included the Island in Pigeon Forge, downtown Gatlinburg, mini golf, Ober Gatlinburg (where it was Oktoberfest, so you were able to dance to the oompah band while Mommy enjoyed a boot full of beer) and possibly the highlight of the trip for me, Pancake Pantry. While I did not quite know what to expect when visiting that area of the country (one person, not inaccurately, described it as the “Panama City Beach of the mountains”) it was certainly an ideal vacation for kids. We easily could have stayed a full week and had plenty to do, but we rounded up our newly airbrushed t-shirts and headed back home on Tuesday.

Wednesday of that week, BP1, you and I had a really nice day of doing some errands to get ready for your party and also some fun stuff (e.g. mani-pedis). As Daddy sternly reminded me, even if I didn’t work, that’s not what life would be like all of the time. He’s absolutely right, and I suppose the rarity of days like that is what makes me appreciate them so much. And then on Thursday, I headed back to the office and B was nice enough to watch you since she had L home anyway. As always, she did the supermom thing and somehow in a single day managed to take the two of you to the zoo, organize a picnic lunch, help you to bake brownies and assemble puzzles, and let you watch a movie. And then that night, Grandma and Grandpa D arrived, so you had a special (and thankfully quiet) day at home with them on Friday.

All week, even in Gatlinburg, BP2 was asking when we were going to BP1’s party. “Is today BP1’s party?” she would ask as she awoke each morning. “Are we going to BP1’s party?” she wondered aloud every time she climbed into the car. The concept of the whole weekend being a celebration was somewhat lost on you, sweet smallest baby, but you were thrilled when the following Saturday, it was finally time for BP1’s party! We had a sellout crowd for the celebration at Main Event, which involved bowling, the requisite pizza and cake, and then time in the arcade. BP1, while it’s not especially convenient or economical, I love that you embrace your Mommy and Daddy’s general attitude toward gatherings which is essentially “include everyone.” Since you have a September birthday I did not really anticipate that you would want to invite your whole kindergarten class, which of course you did. Because it was fall break it turned out okay. But like I said, a pretty big group, all there to celebrate you. I truly hope you had a wonderful birthday, baby girl.

This year fall break was immediately followed by Rosh Hashanah, so even after all of that wound down we were home from school and work for 2 more days, which both kind of added to the vacation and extended the chaos (but in a good way). Sunday night M and G came over for dinner, which was a lovely, quieter way to celebrate. As always it was wonderful to catch up with them and hear all about G’s various travels, which recently have taken her to both Kiev and Las Vegas. The next night we went over to A’s house with lots of the parents and kids from temple and a few others. Most of them are older than you but you still, of course, managed to enjoy yourself greatly.

So here we are, now a week in to what will be a somewhat normal and also very busy month. I am a bit surprised by how much more time kindergarten and its assorted activities seems to take up in our lives – after all, it’s just school for 5-year-olds, right? But somehow keeping up with the paperwork for field trips and the “hey, pajama day is tomorrow and I want to wear the butterfly nightgown is in the hamper” and oh yeah, no one told you that there’s a fall festival in October so whatever you were planning on doing that weekend, your kid will be devastated if they don’t get to go . . . that stuff is more than I expected. But we’re figuring it all out, BP1 is thriving in kindergarten (I hope – I guess we’ll find out at conferences soon, which P.S. involves early dismissal every day for a week) and the rest of us are just along for the ride.

Within all of this, I continue to try to enjoy all of the small moments, sometimes on special occasions but mostly in everyday life. BP2, last night you gleefully clasped your hands to the side of my face while sitting in my lap before bed. When I looked startled by that, you laughed uncontrollably and did it again and again. I squeezed you so tightly. Even in the insanity of the week, I love eating dinner with my princesses every night. I love listening to “We Are Tonight” every Friday night on the way home from school. I love that right now you both constantly say “Guess what I’m going to say?” and then launch into your chanting of “Mamas and papas and uncles and aunts . . .” I love that you hug each other every night after book and then say “Everybody pick a parent” and hug each of us. I love that you can play together so nicely most of the time and bicker some of the time and every day strengthen your relationship as sisters, which I can promise you will be one of the most formative and significant of your life.

I suppose that’s enough rambling for now. Again, I hope to be better about recording the little stuff here and not waiting so long that the post needs to be equally long. But no promises, because spending time in person with you, not writing about it, needs to be the first priority. I love you so much, baby princesses. And one more time, BP1, Happy Birthday! I can’t believe it’s been 6 years and I am so proud of the sweet, open, bright, loving girl you grow to become more and more every day.


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