This weekend our Lydia turned three.
In recent weeks, I’ve been going around telling people what an absolutely delightful age this is. Lydia is utterly hilarious, imaginative, talkative, and smart. She’s been going to the potty all by herself, dressing herself, napping predictably, eating well, playing quietly and independently for hours on end . . . it’s been heaven with her. I couldn’t believe we finally hit our Golden Age.
And then this last week she decided to show us that three isn’t all cute conversations and walks to the park and pretty sundresses.
It’s also climbing onto the roof of the van in busy parking lots; refusing to nap and being miserable for the rest of the day; refusing to eat beloved meals and then complaining about being hungry all day; stealing snacks from friends at the park (and maybe hitting them a little bit when they don’t want to share); and wanting to sit on my lap every second of the day.
So just like every other age before it, three is full of delight and wonder and frustration and exhaustion. And I still wish she slept more.
Anyway, here’s how we decided to celebrate this snuggly, infuriating, energetic, independent, creative little girl.
I wanted to keep it simple, surrounding her with the people who love her most, and making her feel special with carefully-chosen items made with love.
Because it was the weekend and summer, we had our families over for a barbecue, as well as another young family. So grandparents, aunties and uncles, one little cousin and one little friend were all there to enjoy grilled kabobs, salad, and watermelon from my parents’ garden.
About a month ago, I started putting together some reusable, handmade birthday items in order to begin some birthday traditions which I hope we’ll carry out for years to come. Among these items were a personalized felt crown and a fabric birthday banner.
I’m really drawn to many elements of Waldorf education, including the traditions and overall aesthetic. I’ve been inspired by a lot of the felt birthday crowns I’ve seen from families with similar inclinations.
For the crown, I ordered a wool felt bundle online (I’d never used wool felt before, and it was HARD to find it in dimensions large enough for this project) and did some searching on Pinterest for ideas. I used the template found in Amanda Blake Soule’s The Creative Family.
I wanted something that wasn’t too childish or girlie, so she’d still like it in future years despite inevitable changes in taste. I also wanted the size to be adjustable, to be used (hopefully) for years. I liked the idea of using elastic in the back. Here’s what I came up with:
I wanted to include the letter L to personalize it. I added yellow flowers with black button centers after the black-eyed susans that are always blooming around her birthday. It’s not NEARLY as charming as many that I’ve seen, but I’m new at this. It made her feel special, so that’s the important thing.
Next on the list: I wanted to make a reusable fabric birthday banner. I was inspired by a friend’s Instagram picture of one such banner, and immediately set out to create one just like it.
After I’d made it, I discovered the original designer was Marissa, an online friend who is a thousand times more talented than I am. She gave her blessing for me to offer a tutorial on how I made it, which I’m hoping to put together later this week (if folks are interested!)
And then for the gift.
I’d been planning on buying Lydia some art supplies from Hobby Lobby when we were in the U.S. a few days prior (I wanted to get liquid watercolours and some big watercolour paper), but it didn’t work out. So when my mom offered to watch her for an afternoon, I decided to sew a new dress for her Waldorf doll, Etta. I picked out some cute fabric from my pile of quilting scraps. I didn’t have a pattern to go by, so I had to make up my own. Because I am slow, meticulous, and inexperienced, it took me five hours to put this together:
I also threw in a couple of thrift store dresses I’d recently bought. So I spent a total of $3 on her birthday present this year. But she was thrilled, especially about the doll dress, and immediately got up to go put it on her.
And then came the cake!
If there is one thing that is overrated these days, it’s professional cakes. TOTALLY NOT INTERESTED.
Instead, I wanted something reasonably healthy and not too sugary. No artificial food dyes, either. These are little kids we’re talking about. Their behaviour gives us enough trouble when they’re functioning perfectly.
I went with a grain-free chocolate cake that I love (made with chick peas and sweetened with honey!) and a low-sugar cream cheese icing . . . dyed with beets!
I loved the beautiful magenta colour I got.
Again, I’m hoping to share the recipe later this week. You can find the recipe here! It was a big hit. No one could tell there was anything unusual about it — in fact, they raved about how moist and dense and chocolatey it was. I will definitely make it again.
Another blessed year with this beautiful and maddening little girl. I am blessed beyond measure.