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"I think we should get a bouncy house for Julia's birthday party," Will announced.
"Are you crazy?" I asked. "That's so over-the-top. She's only three."
"So?! What sort of precedent would that be setting? She'll be expecting pony rides and circus clowns next year. And, besides, it would be expensive. Wouldn't that money be better spent in, say, her college fund or something?" I droned onÂ…
Will looked at me kind of perplexed, shrugged his shoulders, and said: "But, it would be fun."
(Oh. Right. Fun. Whoops.)
Thank god these kids have Will.
A few days later, a giant Will-inspired blow-up cake arrived on our doorstep for Julia's 3rd birthday party.
My Bouncing Baby Girl
Julia has turned three, and I'm still trying to absorb this fact. I should have been jumping for joy at the celebration of her birthday, but instead I found myself feeling really conflicted about the whole thing. About the fact that my baby is no longer a baby, or even a toddler, for that matter. And because I still couldn't shake the niggling feeling that we were doing the wrong thing by Julia. Weren't we spoiling her? I mean, Will and I want to be able to give our kids the world, but this just seemed a little much to me. Weren't we teaching her to be materialistic? Wouldn't she be better off playing with bugs in the yard than jumping around inside a giant blow-up birthday cake? (And, I hate to even bring it up, but...something about that cake just seemed a little icky to me, like it was some close cousin of the giant blow-up doll, maybe, or like a stripper was going to pop out of it at any minute.)
The whole thing just felt heavy. I know I need to lighten up a bit, but I couldn't help but feel that the monstrosity of a cake in our front yard was somehow obscuring the point of the day. The moment I saw it erected, I got a nauseous feeling in the pit of my stomach, sort of like I'd just gorged myself on too much birthday cake.
Julia came to the front door and saw it, just as the last candle was filling with air. She stood silently, almost reverently, behind our screen door as a mixture of wonder and then—pure joy—radiated across her face as it dawned on her that this was her "birthday surprise." I have never seen a more perfect embodiment of the word "awe." She burst through the door, shouting god only knows what. A camera couldn't have done it justice, but I'll never forget the look on her face. It really was the icing on the cake. And in that moment, I knew that I was the only one who had been obscuring the point of the day. Julia and her friends had a complete blast bouncing their little hearts out in that giant bouncy house all day long.
The next day, before the truck came to pick it up, I finally got a chance to get in the cake with Julia, just the two of us. We bounced up and down, as high as we could, falling back down to earth with our arms flailing and our hair standing on end. And it was fun. We could hardly catch our breath from jumping and laughing so hard. As I held hands with my big three-year-old girl and leapt into the air, shrieking and laughing, the weight of the world simply fell away, and I felt lighter than air.
Join FitPregnancy.com's Managing Editor Dana Rousmaniere each week as she chronicles life with a new baby.
Read the next entry: 6.21.07: Summer Solstice