Lilly’s First Birthday

Last weekend we celebrated Lilly’s first birthday. We made cupcakes. The neighbor’s kids came over to help frost and decorate them and to sing happy birthday. Lilly wore her special party dress. Where did the time go? One year old already? You are wondering, no doubt, why has Lilly not been introduced as one of the lovely Snark children before today. Well, because Lilly is an American Girl Doll. Who was roundly ignored and neglected by her mistress for about six months up until this Saturday when Sprite (6) gussied her all up and proclaimed “Today is Lilly’s first birthday!” I’m also pretty sure she had gone by the name “Red” up until that day. Clearly, this was a spontaneously conceived, yet noteworthy milestone.

Sprite really deserves to have her whims addressed every once in a while. In the scheme of life, the third child has to put up with a lot of crap and generally keeps in shape by  jumping to reach the constantly rising bar set by older siblings. For better or worse, she has been more independent since birth. She learned to use the stairs and open the fridge way earlier than MelloYello and Red Bull. She was also out of the bassinet, out of the crib, out of the high chair and out of the stroller  ahead of the sibling curve. She is endlessly asked to put down her toys, put on her shoes and buckle up her seat belt so she can be schlepped along to big kid commitments, sports, parties, lessons, practices, playdates, and performances. Sprite discovered the age-inappropriate thrills of Harry Potter and Phineas and Ferb well before her fourth birthday, while MelloYello and Red Bull were still on a vanilla daily diet of Blue’s Clues and Elmo’s World until they were at least five. She no longer gets juice boxes and pretzels in the car, just lame assurances that “we’ll be home soon and then we’ll have dinner right away”. And dinner is invariably macaroni and cheese and chicken fingers from the grocery store hot bar. But that’s not really a con in the eyes of a six year old, so I’m not losing sleep over that one.

It was apparent that, though ridiculous, it was completely necessary to celebrate Lilly’s birthday. Fortunately, Lilly didn’t want any presents. She didn’t have the nerve to ask. She already owns every shoe, thematic ensemble, furnishing, piece of eyewear and athletic equipment, pet, and personal care item in that idiotic, overpriced store. Just cupcakes and a little singing, thank you very much. So, full disclosure, I totally got caught up in the other 46 things we were supposed to be doing that day, and dissed Lilly completely. She was put to bed with Sprite, cupcake-less and neglected. Sprite cried. Lilly was stoic, yet appeared somewhat stiff, her smile lacking animation (yet she was still lovely in a chic nightgown with matching robe and slippers). I am certain that God signed off on my express ticket to Mom Hell immediately thereafter.

I resolved to rectify the situation the next day. Sunday almost passed with nary a mention of the issue. Was Sprite old enough to harbor a grudge? Was she unwilling to forgive my lack of concern for a major milestone in her doll’s life? Well, it turns out, not really. She just kind of forgot about it. When I asked, “what kind of cupcakes does Lilly want?” Sprite couldn’t have been less interested. “What? We’re making her cupcakes?”

So I made my doll bed and I had to lie in it. I strong armed Sprite into hosting a damn cupcake party for her siblings and neighbors, and of course, for Lilly. At least I feel better. And making cupcakes provided Lilly with a fine opportunity to wear her chef’s outfit (including a fetching hat and apron) and wield her miniature wooden spoon with some authority. I think she had a pretty good time. She told me she wants a pony for her second birthday.

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