Originally uploaded by generaltsao.
We celebrated Alex's birthday today. We didn't make a big deal out of it, just inviting over some friends and family members. I did, however, indulge myself by catering the party from Bi-Rite Market. I kept calling it my working mom's "bonus," but it was more of a necessity; there was no way I would have been able to make food for the party without cracking. I also requested that our cleaning lady come on Friday, so that the house would be maximally clean for the event. Other than that, I tried really hard not to overdo preparations and worry. Sure, we took some junk down to the garage and hung some long-neglected pictures on the wall (you wouldn't know we've been in the house almost two years from the largely bare walls). But I really wanted this party to be a fun, relaxed affair and not send me into the tizzy it so easily could have. Paper plates, email invitations, no gifts, minor decorations...it was all pretty low-key.
And thanks to my great team, the party was AWESOME! My dad brought har gow (dim sum shrimp dumplings), chow mein, and champagne to round out the catered menu of chicken satay, mozzarella & tomato skewers, and spinach and pear salad. My mom supplied flowers, mini pumpkins, and a bunch of art supplies that the kids used to decorate the pumpkins. (I had wanted biodegradable party favors but hadn't had time to shop for any--the pumpkins were perfect. The kids each took home their decorated pumpkins...) Nick was on hand to do my general bidding (which is a lot harder than it sounds). And Alex was amazing. He napped from 11:30 to 1pm, waking up just in time for people to arrive. He really, really enjoyed spending time with his cousins, especially Thomas, whom Alex followed around all afternoon with an obvious reverence.
He loved his midnight chocolate cake with cream cheese frosting. The cake was excellent, but incredibly dense, and the sugar kept him going until he had massive bags under his eyes around 4pm, when people were starting to leave. When I put him in his room, I don't think he knew what hit him. He laughed as I took off his socks and shoes and drew the shades. He was cooing and still giggling as I nursed him briefly and set him in his crib. He hopped right up to standing and smiled at me wildly as I closed the door. I expected to hear wailing, but he was silent for the next two and a half hours.