Cutting the cake at sweet little E’s second birthday today

Little man’s calendar has been filling up lately. It started with the daily hang-out with JB from across the street and Sunday morning playground time after church. Then he added weekly Songs, a sing-along time with some other kiddos his age. And recently, he’s been hitting the international party circuit hard.

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Beach party!

I’m not 100% convinced that this many kids around here actually have birthdays this time of year. I suspect some of their parents figured out that their toddler’s real birth dates fall during hot season when it’s way too miserable to party outside, so are birthday partying it up now during the last warm-not-hot days. Or maybe I’m the only one who considered that plan…

In any case, we are no longer working our lives around his nighttime feedings and rounds of teething fussiness, but instead around his party invitations. Much more fun for all of us – and, bonus, the kid has good taste in friends who have cool parents.

Partyin’ boy

One of the truly awesome parts of living in a city like Dakar is that your friends come from around the world, literally. Just in the past couple of weeks, he’s partied it up toddler style with American, Dutch, Senegalese, French, German, Brazilian, Israeli, Beninese and British kids. Today, at a party for the newest love of his life, we sang ‘Happy Birthday’ in four languages.

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I remember going to French birthday parties as a kid. What I remember is that they were largely parties for adults with a bunch of kids running around, punctuated at some point by a cake. Maybe that was just the context where we lived though – nothing much to do for family fun, so any excuse for a party worked. Hmm… sounds a bit familiar.

Group photo at the Kieviets’ last weekend. (He’s not really grumpy. Just chomping on a cookie.)

I do love the relaxed atmosphere of a kid’s birthday party for getting to know people. There’s always something entertaining to watch (“Oh, look. My kid just knocked yours over and then she dumped water on his head.”), always something to talk about (“In our country, for teething we give the baby whiskey / put a beaded necklace on her / let him suck on frozen fruit / give homeopathic tablets.), always good food (had some amazing homemade pesto and cheesy pasta today!) and – in particular if one parent is American – the dress is pretty casual and there’s no need to wear heels.

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A Dutch birthday tradition… or maybe just two boys playing in a box.

So thanks for helping your old, boring parents have a reason to get out of the house and hang out with some really great people. We’ll do our best to throw you a cool party when it’s your turn, kiddo.