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February 2, 2002
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Jet's Birthday, Observed Again!

6:24 pm: Today is Jet's first birthday.

It was a good day. Last night was only rough because John and I stayed up late. Jet, himself, only got up a few times and went back to sleep really quickly. We just went to sleep a bit too late and had to get some things done before Jet's party so we got up pretty early.

Jet was up at 7:30, and John got up to take care of him. I made it up at 8 and nursed Jet before showering. We then packed everything up and went to Swanky Frank Jr.'s for breakfast.

It wasn't quite as crowded as I was expecting for 9 on a Saturday, but then maybe Sunday is really the busy morning. We ordered pretty quickly after sitting down and the waitress was actually a waitress we'd had in Longmont. John likened it to a startup, bring in the people you know can perform when starting a restaurant and then let the restaurant sink or swim on its own merit, not just the experience or inexperience of the new staff.

The food was adequate. The over medium eggs were actually over medium, but they and the corned beef hash were both just warm, not hot. John's breakfast looked great, with a bit of bacon, ham and sausage with scrambled eggs, nicely crisped hash browns and toast. He enjoyed it a lot, and offered Jet a little of everything. Jet ate everything. He also ate big chunks of toast, hash from both of us, and enjoyed it all greatly. He is definitely getting to be more into table solids and getting better at eating them pretty nearly for a one-year-old.

He also drank a large amount of orange juice watered down with ice water, only occasionally spitting some of it out onto his bib. I was very glad of the bib, it was soaked by the end of the meal, but his clothes were relatively clean afterwards and okay to go out in the 'warm' weather.

It's no longer freezing! After a few weeks of sub freezing and even sub-zero weather, having the temperature be above freezing was really nice.

The waitress loved laying with Jet and congratulated him on his birthday. When we started getting ready to leave, the woman in the booth behind me said to Jet, "You were so quiet I forgot you were there!" and she got a huge smile from him for the attention. They were going to pick up their grandchildren and noted that they were much louder than Jet had ever gotten. That was pretty funny.

We headed into Lafayette and the Wal-Mart there for some birthday presents for Jet. We also got a few other things. I'll admit that a lot of random stuff really caught my eye here and there. One of the big things were some photo albums that were just plastic sleeves with some paper backings and a thin strip of paper in a sleeve between the pictures for writing notations for the pictures. They were two for the price of one and we have an entire drawer full of loose photographs that would be really nice to finally organize into some semblance of order so we could actually look at them. I bought six binders and knew that I'll probably need far more to make any headway with the drawer. One binder just barely took care of the loose photos on our desk, there are quite a few envelopes of prints still on the desk to do, too.

From there we headed to Safeway and got Jet's cake, stuff for artichoke heart dip for an appetizer thing before the cake, and all the vegetables I needed to make the simple cassoulet in the February issue of "Real Simple". The great Northern beans were on sale, too. From there we headed home and John mixed up the dip while I put away and protected the loose photos, including some really nice ones Joan had given us of Jet and Haley.

Jet fell asleep on the way home. He napped for a good hour and a half and woke up with plenty of time to nurse before everyone got there. So he got in a good feeding and a good nap and was in an excellent mood when everyone arrived.

We'd only invited the Goodells and Debbie and Matt and their dogs. The three samoyeds stayed outside and rampaged about, running in all directions, around and around the house, the garage and enjoyed the huge yard and the snow. They loved eating the snow. The moment the dogs arrived and Debbie opened the car door, they leaped out with their harnesses and leashes still on. It took Matt a little while to get the leashes off.

It was so cool to see the dogs again, and Jet got to go outside for a little while and touch them. He liked it when they licked his hands, and he giggled and tried pulling their fur or grabbing their noses. They didn't mind at all, and Forden was really gentle with Jet. The dogs love kids and they're really good around them.

Alex and Haley happily pulled every toy Jet has out of their bin and the wagon. Haley liked pushing the wagon around. Alex pulled everything out of the box just to see what was there. The livingroom was filled with toys in a very short period of time. I was very impressed. They were having a great time. John even got out the hammering bench so that Alex could show Jet what to do with it. All of the kids had fun pretty quickly and we got to just sit around and talk for a while.

We did Jet's gifts, first. Alex had gotten Jet something specific from a whole store full of toys. He got Jet three fire trucks in a mesh bag, and even when Joan offered a lot of other possibilities Alex just shook his head and said, "I already found my gift for Jet." Jet loved the trucks. He chewed happily on the tires and pushed them around going, "Rrrrr..."

The Goodells also gave Jet a roller with a handle, but it was a gently musical roller with bells in it. He also got a box that can take a bunch of shapes through the walls. He keeps taking the roller and making it ting. I think that the shape matching is still not that interesting to him, yet, but it probably will be with his attention to details.

Debbie and Matt made Jet a teddy bear. It's name is Fezzy and it's black and soft and cuddly and it has a super bear outfit with red long johns and a satin blue cloak and mask. The first thing Jet pulled from the box was the mask! That was pretty funny. Jet did like hauling the bear out of the box and he hugged it thoroughly.

Cathie and Walt sent a huge box with two presents for him in it along with some books for me and a bottle of sunscreen they'd accidentally taken with them on their last visit. One present was a super soft moose printed fleece outfit. The other was a set of nicely chunky animal books. Jet happily turned pages for a while and snuggled the fleece outfits.

John and I got him the airplane bath toy in San Diego and a small rubber ball with Bob the Builder on it at Wal-Mart. The ball is small enough for Jet to actually play with and hold and roll and catch. So he really seems to enjoy it. I'll admit John and I seem to tend towards the really simple toys. Jet has so many other toys. I think he'll be set for the next year, at least.

When we were done with presents, we got the cake out. It had Mickey Mouse in a metal plane on one corner, and the top of the cake was air brushed with blue sky and ground and a bit of fencing to show the start of a field Mickey was flying over. The white frosting had a blue border all around it and 'Happy First Birthday, Jet' written in red. Jet got the first piece after John had put the huge plastic bib on him and rolled his sleeves up completely.

Jet peered at the perfect square in front of him and then leaned forward and picked off a few of the tiny Mickey Mouse head candies, sprinkled like confetti about the edges. He ate those first, with great concentration and then reached into the corner of the cake and squished some of the frosting in one hand. He eventually got to cake, and he ate that with gusto. He especially liked the lemon filling, starting to eat it with both hands at that point.

He was very methodical about eating all the cake he could find. He'd smash it between his fists and when he felt resistance that was more than just icing, he'd eat the lump. The dark blue border made everything blue, and Jet managed to only get the entire tray, his hands, and everything around his mouth blue. That was all. Debbie was very impressed. I was pretty impressed myself. Jet's very neat and it's not like we enforced that at all, we pretty much just let him go with the piece of cake. It just seems to be part of his personality.

Everyone else liked the cake too. The buttercream was enough to make it look good, but it wasn't the thick plaster that it can be with some cakes. The white cake was very plain and simple. The lemon filling was pretty zingy, actually, and tasted really good with the rest. People liked it. I was glad.

After cake poor Haley got sick, and the party pretty much broke up there. Joan and Ray were very good about cleaning up, and they took Haley home before Alex could get a chance with the train downstairs. Debbie and Matt had to go to Home Depot, so they left then as well. The dogs looked really happy with their run around the yard. So it was a short party but that was actually really good as Jet was still really happy and going strong by the time folks left.

I went upstairs and looked one thing up and then came back down and Jet crawled right to me and got to nurse himself to sleep. I made the cassoulet while he slept and when he woke up, John fed him solids while we watched From Russia With Love and I wrote. Dinner was done when Jet was, and he played happily while we ate.

He was just a really happy boy today. I'm glad.

I still can't believe that it was an entire year ago that we headed for the hospital. After the first three months it's gone a whole lot faster. I am pretty amazed. We watched videos that Dad had taken when they visited the week after Jet was born and we can't believe he used to be *that* small, *that* helpless, and *that* unable to express anything. He's now really good at communicating, and really good at doing what he wants to do.

He did a lot of standing up today, while playing with the other kids and while playing afterwards. He just seems to like it.

We also gave him a bath before he went to sleep. We got him unsticky and got all the blue out of his hair and hands and nose. He seemed far more comfortable afterwards and he enjoyed playing in the tub. He didn't like the plane moving on its own in the water any more than he liked the hippo moving on its own, but was glad to play with them when they just floated.

I'm eating another piece of his cake for dessert, and enjoying the quiet. I'm going to bed soon to make up for the last couple of nights. Life has changed, and it's pretty much been for the better. More time for the things that are important.

I realized that a lot of the things at work that have allowed all this are a result of one senior manager losing two kids and another finding out his six-year-old daughter had kidney cancer. The daughter is now in complete remission and doing well, but all the old assumptions about how much more important work is than being home for family were all shattered by those incidents. I'm thankful that things are the way they are now, but I don't think they could have been without those terrible things. So it seems right to remember what made possible how happy today really was for Jet.

Mom and Dad called to say Happy Birthday. Jet even seemed to recognize their voices and he made a few sounds for the phone. Keen.

So, all in all, it's been a very good day and Jet went to sleep very quietly when it was time. Yay! A good ending to a good day

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Copyright 2002 Liralen Li. All Rights Reserved.