happy first birthday olive.

Calling you delightful, Olive, seems like a drastic understatement or cliche (sadly, words limit us at times to describe the full measure of a person), but you are indeed delightful. You are quiet, except when you squeal/scream from your high chair to get someone’s attention — the downfall of signing, I suppose; someone must be watching you at all moments to respond promptly, an impossible quest in our circus of a home. Still, when you approve or want to say “yes,” you clap fervently with approval. Banana? Silence. Turkey? Silence. Milk? Applause. I love it. You roam our home as freely as the hens in the backyard, swish, swish, swish, gliding the wood floors on your butt, peeking around corners and into crevices, looking silently for a new secret thing or space. Your favorite place still remains your brothers’ room where you’re bound to find some tiny treasure to put into your mouth or dump onto the floor. You love the trash and the toilet in particular, two disgusting pleasures. Fortunately, you never want to eat or taste the trash, only to displace it. Piece by piece. This last month, you started walking and began a new venture in climbing, mostly book shelves and step stools, and in spite of falling off of one bathroom stool thus far, you have yet to stop (a third reason you are banned from bathrooms). Needless to say, I’m grateful for a one-story home and doors.

Each of your siblings adores you as much as we do. In spite of their occasional lab-rat mentality toward you — “But she’s having FUN playing in the toilet water I just peed in! And it’s FUNNY!” or “It’s OK if I hold her feet in the air because she’s STILL holding onto the coffee table with her hands.” or the catchall, “But, Mom. Look! THIS means SHE LIKES IT!” — they adore you, mostly doting on you with kisses and hugs and rides and safe play. You return their affection with plenty of laughter and applause, of course.

In short, we love you. We enjoy you. And we’re all so glad to be in a family together with you, Olive. Today, we celebrate you: happy birthday, Sweet One.

This year, Nina came down to celebrate your birthday with us, but we had to change plans when Liam, Blythe, and I woke up with a stomach bug. Thank God Nina was here. Fortunately, we celebrated you the next weekend; unfortunately, Nina couldn’t come back. Still, she gave you plenty of hugs, kisses, and tickles while she was here. Below are some pictures from your big evening (thank you, Aunt Kristen!): warm spring air, grilled chicken and avocado, clementines and pears, birdhouse painting, billowy tissue pom-poms (you can find out how to make them here), lights, and of course, your favorite part, white coconut cake (although you could have skipped the candle).

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