You know how they say there’s a mean number of times a typical school-aged child gets sick? I feel like it’s kind of the same way for typical adult women using Pinterest for creative endeavors. Much like that karmically unfortunate elementary school classmate who was always oozing fluid and came down with things like Scarlet Fever and Lyme Disease, there are some folks out there who have been infected with enough enthusiasm and creativity to transform every holiday into a magical DIY wonderland. For most of us, however, there’s a limit to how many times a pin equals a real-life execution.
Let’s say that the average number of times a typical parent creates something he or she sees on Pinterest is…6. Some of us hand make a Father’s Day gift one year, learn to knit the next, make a cutesy woodland-themed cake for a baby shower the following year and so on. Others of us blow our entire load on our first child’s 1st birthday party and are thenceforth so Pinterest-immune that we’re forced to cancel the account altogether simply because seeing the little red square on our smartphones gives us flashbacks.
I would be in the sold-my-soul-to-Pinterest-Satan-with-apologies-to-my-second-child category.
I’m not going to take you step-by-step through the rabbit hole that was Sadie’s 1st, as this is not a blog post in which I’m patting myself on the back for a job well done or, God-forbid, recommending that you do it. Suffice it to say that every stationary surface of our home was covered in some sort of glitter, there was a candy bar that would’ve made Dylan Hilfiger jealous, and there’s not only a file-box-sized “memory capsule” awaiting Sadie’s 18th birthday in our attic but also an 80-page scrapbook, crafted at the Scrapbooking Station (next to the homemade Polaroid Photo Booth) by the 75 attendees of this absurd exercise in holy CRAP she’s STILL ALIVE excess.
I look back on that day (which, don’t get me wrong, was complete perfection and I regret none of it) and chuckle, wondering what thoughts surely passed through the brains of the people who witnessed this insanity. “Does she perhaps have a crack-cocaine habit,” is one potential silent musing. “Is she so thrilled that gay marriage has been legalized that she’s made her entire home look as if PRIDE has vomited all over it,” might be another one. I was pregnant with Caleb at the time but wouldn’t find out until three days after the event. I’m grateful for that ignorance, as every fifth person looked at me kind of cock-eyed and breathed “WHAT are you going to do if you ever have any more kids?!”
Sadie’s Second Birthday: Happy birthday, daughter! You’re two!! Enjoy this slice of cake, cut from the top tier (Yep. You read that right) of last year’s cake, which we lovingly froze like we were newly wed to our confidence in our ability to not maim or traumatize you. For memories, we have a single blurry iPhone photo taken by a person I cannot currently recall. Gifts? Pretty sure you got an impulsively purchased Costco craft tub.
Caleb’s First Birthday: Way to survive this first (hell) year, little man! You’re allergic to everything and you’ve screamed at me from the end of Week One until like three days ago. So enjoy this Whole Foods vegan cupcake and the subsequent bath required to remove whatever vegans make frosting out of. For memories, we have a single iPhone photo captured by me of you throwing a purple-faced tantrum. Gifts? HAHAHAHAHAHA. That’s hilarious.
Sadie’s Third Birthday: Way to ditch the absorbent skivvies and speak discernible English, Big Girl! I’ve gotten enough mojo back to have people over, but I’m so inept at entertaining that I send you and all our guests out to play in the driveway while I stand at the kitchen island watching the oven and swearing loudly at the gods of creativity for tricking me into thinking that from-scratch pizza was a good idea. For memories, we have the 3 uneaten pizzas which will remain in the deep freezer until well-past your 4th birthday and a picture of most of the party guests sitting on a wall along the driveway, as we do not own patio furniture. Gifts? Yes. A John Deere tractor riding toy (because apparently I’ve never met you), also impulse-purchased from Costco and viciously fought over until your father sits on and breaks it.
Caleb’s second birthday is this Saturday, which comes two days after his cousin’s first birthday. This is excellent news, as my nephew is my sister’s first child, she recently quit her big away-from-home job, and Emmett was a preemie, which makes every benchmark reached all the more weighty and important. She was there to witness the circus that was Sadie’s 1st and, like so many of my endless and epic mistakes, surely learned some lessons. So there will be a party, but the tongue-in-cheek theme is (Parenting is a) Circus. She held my hand, we took a few deep breaths, and I was able to reengage with Pinterest. And we’re making a lion out of hummus and vegetables, which will obviously make heads explode. But with three children between us, we have the combined energy and fucks to give of one regular person, so expectations must be adjusted. There will not be dueling time-capsules. But there will be circus picture books for guests to sign and matching cake-smash outfits, along with decent dairy-and-egg-free confections.
You’re welcome, Caleb.
See? You don’t get the short end of all sticks. Just most sticks.