May’s 2nd Birthday – Part II

As I said in the introduction to this birthday series, May’s birthday was a jam-packed day for us, as Wednesdays always are.

We started the day with special birthday cereal. When I was a kid, we weren’t allowed sugary cereals. If I remember correctly, any box had to have less than 7 grams of sugar per serving. Even Raisin Bran is more than double that (actually, Raisin Bran has 18 grams of sugar, whereas Fruity Pebbles only has 9. That’s cray cray!). For our birthday week, however, we got to go hog wild in the cereal aisle and pick out whatever we wished. My mom always urged us to pick Corn Pops, because that was her favorite…but, no. I think I usually chose Lucky Charms. I wanted to do the same thing for Adele and May, because it’s simple and fun and a nice, cheap way to make the birthday girl feel like the whole week is special. Granted she’s only two, so she really didn’t have much cereal expertise to draw upon, but May picked out the box that had a big, smiling bear on it, which ended up being some sort of Arabian chocolate flake cereal.


May is still getting the hang of eating cereal with milk, but she’s actually much better at it than she used to be. Most of it ends up in her mouth! Speaking of her mouth, this is classic May face. She loves to make this face. I love it when she makes this face.

After breakfast, we brought Adele to school and then came back to play in the apartment for a little bit before Zoo Train, which is a Kindermusik class from kids in the 1 1/2 – 3 year age range. To go along with the zoo theme, I made lion cookies:


Those are sugar cookies with lemon frosting encircled by a mane of orange-dyed coconut with M&Ms, mini M&Ms and pretzels. Not very easy for toddlers to eat, it turns out, but cute, damn it. I also gave all the kids little jungle animal temporary tattoos and Adele is still proudly sporting a snake on her forearm a full week later. And now you know that I never bathe my children.

That day’s Zoo Train was especially fun, because the kids got to play with a parachute and tons of balls.


Prima donna May decided to stand in the middle of the parachute and let all the moms and kids dance around her:



Then she decided she was done having fun:


Perhaps she was not getting the attention she believed she deserved? Perhaps someone dared to take one of her balls? Haha, I just ADORE this face. My balls. Mine. Don’t you know who I am?


Anna came to cheer May up. Anna is the daughter of Beth, a librarian, and Vic, who works in Student Activities, and she juuuuust became a big sister to baby Adelaide.

Let me introduce you to some of the other kids from Zoo Train:


This is Élan, son of our right-across-the-hall neighbors Lisé and Ian. They moved here from Seattle, though both come from Northern California, and I cannot tell you how awesome it is to have that NW connection! When Facebook was abuzz with the news of Paseo closing suddenly, I mentioned it to Lisé, and she’s like, I KNOW! It’s a small world, folks.


This is Jojo (Josephine), eldest daughter of Jeff, my Jeff’s colleague in the Political Science department, and Christina, who teaches Economics over at Zayed University, also in Abu Dhabi. Christina hails from just outside of Zurich, so I get to listen to her speak Schweizerdeutsch to her kids and it’s my very favorite German dialect. Half of the time I can understand everything that she is saying, and the other half it’s like she’s speaking utter sing-songy gibberish – in a good way!

I didn’t get pictures of all the kids, but there are also a set of 1 1/2-year old triplets in class. TRIPLET TODDLERS. Can you even imagine?! They usually come with one parent + one nanny, but even they can’t hold them all. Most of the time, two of them are crying, but one is perfectly behaved, and it rotates which is which!


There’s most of the gang. We have the class in Lisé’s apartment (she organized the whole thing), so our commute in the morning is all of two steps. I suppose I never mentioned what a Kindermusik class is, but it’s basically just very simple songs and movements that the kids are supposed to participate in, but really just sorta get swung around by their parents. But they get to experiment with instruments and learn rhythm and have fun.

Okay, it’s getting late and I’m only on the morning of her birthday. Sheesh. I’m going to end Part II here and do another installment tomorrow. Stay tuned for more of this face:



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