the giving

Damn, that last post was long. Sorry y’all. I probably wouldn’t have read it either. Someone asked me what the book Lifegivers was about, and I said I was going to write about it. So I did. It was more a book report than review, with a few Q&As thrown in for the book tour. Check out other posts on the tour from perspectives across the triad — definitely worth a read!


So we survived the season of birthdays — mine, Baby J’s, my mom’s. In addition to the most amazing carrot cake ever (gift to self), I had a wonderful day and was given some fabulous gifts. It was nearly a month ago, yes, but I never got to write about it. First, we took the day off and we spent it together as a family. That was the greatest gift of all. Our plans to go to lunch and the beach were sidelined by Baby J’s schedule and cold weather, but it didn’t matter. We spent part of the day preparing for her birthday party. A magnificent gift in itself.

That night, we brought in Indian food from a great new place nearby and decided to share some with Baby J. As my friends on twitter already know, we gave her saag paneer and she absolutely loved it. Like begged for more loved it. Which is cool on so many levels. So happy that she will eat food that Mama and Papa like and that it includes spinach! Another gift. Mama loves her tikka masala and naan.

Not that I was hoping for any, but I did get some pretty cool other gifts too.

When my old watch battery kept dying, I got tired of shelling out money to replace it and just stopped wearing it. Since everything has a clock anyway, I didn’t really miss it, once I got past looking down at my wrist. But I sort of did. So M ordered me the most awesome ecologically friendly watch that will never need a battery! It’s light powered (sun or other), sleek, lightweight and durable. I love it. He knew I would. It is pretty awesome. As is he.

Then when K and her mom came to Baby J’s birthday party, they brought a gift for me too. K’s mom is Baby J’s closest grandparent, and she is her first and only grandchild. Women in their family have a very strong bond, especially the first born. So it’s something pretty special when she affirms us as Baby J’s parents. She gave me the most lovely handwritten card and gift: a sterling silver Loving Family necklace and pendant:

She chose the one with two loving parents and child. The description says “Loving Family is a portrait of the many unique groupings that form the modern family.” On the back is a “Certificate of Family,” certifying that “the person herein mentioned is a loving inspiration to family life; through strength, encouragement, and faith in the family circle.” And she signed it from my “kin” because that’s what we’ve agreed we are.

I know. Yes, I totally cried.

Baby J’s party was wonderful too. You’ve already heard about it and seen the awesome cake photo. One of the most wonderful gifts was the presence of her family by birth. Not only was K there, but both of her parents (Baby J’s grandparents) and her young uncle were there too. It meant a lot to us that they came, and some day I imagine it will mean a lot to our daughter.

Besides the wonderful celebration, she got some pretty cool gifts too. We’re not big on lots of “things,” especially big toxic plastic ones that we don’t need, don’t fit in our home and will end up in a landfill someday, nor am I fan of really gender specific toys (though I am happy to dress her in pink and purple, I admit). But a few people have asked what I thought were cool gifts for a one year old. So I’ll just share some of her/our favorites…

First, the wheely bug. I love this thing. It was a gift from one of our nieces, who has waited a very long time for her first cousin. Baby J is a little too small to sit on it just yet, but she pushes it around, and her favorite new stuffed puppy (below) frequently takes rides.

Her favorite new puppy puppet just so happens to look a lot like our old pup. She loves this thing so much that she smiles and laughs when she sees him, leans in to hug and kiss and lay her head down on him, and he lives in her favorite chair (see below). I love this company. Every puppet they make is fabulous. Some day, maybe soon, we’re going to have to get this girl a real one…

She loves this grasping dinosaur toy. It’s light and flexible, the parts twist, and it’s purple!Pull toys are also a terrific gift for a new crawler or walker. This  pull-along snail has super cool movement like an inchworm, or er, a snail. I love this company too. They use all eco-sustainable woods (this is organic rubber wood) and non-toxic paints. We have a few of their toys and I like them all. Speaking of recycled, a colleague of mine and fellow adoptive parent brought his daughter with some of her old toys as gifts to teach her about recycling. So now we have this awesome wagon, which we’ve been using to ride Baby J around the backyard. It is super sturdy and can fit a friend and her sippy cup (an exception to the general rule about big plastic things; plus, eventually it will be recycled again…).

This wooden walker was a gift from one set of Baby J’s grandparents. Same company that makes the pull toys. I love watching her work it out, holding on and pushing it down the hall, walking, while she tries to watch the birds in front. But the woodpeckers are quite loud…

I should note that another set of Baby J’s grandparents generously contributed to her college fund. They rock that way. Always a great gift, always the right color.

(ETA: And how could I forget? Books, books, books! Also always a perfect gift. Fun lyrical board books for babies or other favorites and classics for when she’s older. Everyone loves books!)

Finally, her gift from us. Yes, we sang to her all day. We poured our hearts into planning her party and special day. I made her a delicious cake. But I wanted to give her something too. I looked everywhere for a special chair. Not a cute yet crappy foam one, not a hard wooden chair, but a sweet comfy rocker that she would enjoy. I thought it would signify her growing into herself as a member of our family, sharing a seat with the rest of us. It was really hard to find and I ended up ordering from a catalog at a local shop. I do love my internet shopping, but I was able to get tips from the owner who knew the line, and I was so happy when it arrived. As you can see, Baby J loves it too.

Really the occasion had little to do with all of these “things” and everything to do with the community of friends and loved ones who joined together to help us celebrate this wonderful occasion. That was really the greatest gift of all.


~ by luna on June 16, 2010.

8 Responses to “the giving”

  1. wow it all sounds like an amazing time! I cannot believe how big she looks in her chair! lots of special memories are being made.

  2. Doesn’t she look comfortable!! lol

  3. Oh my gosh, that wheely bug is super cool. She looks adorable in her armchair!

  4. A belated happy birthday!

  5. (I was very behind in reading but just caught up!)
    Happy belated birthday to you and Baby J! I love the pic of her with her hands in the cake. And I loved your idea of making the cake with fresh whipped cream frosting – something I may steal if I ever have the privilege of making a 1 year old bday cake 🙂 I’m so happy that the party went so well and that K and her family were able to come. Baby J is sure one loved little girl!

    Wow, that necklace that you received is so touching. I totally cried when I read your description.

    Those toys that Baby J received are awesome! I have never really considered baby toys before but I can imagine that the plastic stuff can become overwhelming (not to even mention objections of some people out of environmental concerns).

    I can’t believe she is a year old already 🙂

  6. love the chair!!

    and i see she’s reading barnyard dance which is one of tee’s favorites. D and i know it off by heart:)

  7. […] some toys. More tears, tempered only occasionally by mild but cautious amusement with a ball and her purple dinosaur, followed by more […]

  8. […] very affirming, from the time K made her initial decision to the present. She continues to affirm our loving family and especially me as Baby J’s mother in so many ways. Sometimes she calls just to tell us that […]

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