Second Birthday!

Today Claire doubled her age! I doubt she will ever do this again.

Claire’s second birthday started off with an omelet, which I managed to cook in our torn up kitchen, which is in the middle of being remodeled by Claire’s favorite handyman, Arvydas. I had to work my way through some construction rubbage just to get to the refrigerator and prepare the omelet with paper plates and a plastic spoon, finally cooking it on our one available pan. Among the construction rubbage, I discovered a 3-foot-long section of quarterround with several old nails sticking out at bent angles, laying in the corner. That probably qualifies as a child hazard, and arguably as a regulated weapon.

The first order of business today was, not coincidentally, Claire’s two-year checkup at the doctor. Claire was somewhat scared and suspicious from her previous experiences with ear infection and shots. During the ear prodding, she did some pretty good resisting and crying, and I had to hold her arms and head still. Then afterwards Claire collected herself and declared, “I’m okay” with a sheepish smile. Claire’s height and weight are both now very close to 50% percentile, down from her earlier slightly above normal numbers. Claire was again pretty freaked out, understandably, about being held down and poked with needles for her flu and hep-a vaccinations. She did her best to collect herself again, but it was the lolipop at the checkout line that really calmed her down and kept her quiet in the car all the way to see Grace and Reese.

Grace and Reese greeted her at the door singing “Happy Birthday”, which was a really nice surprise, and very sweet, especially considering that Grace does not speak much English. Reese had a present ready for Claire which he was really dying to “help” her open. Claire was still fully absorbed in her lolipop at that point and was not very interested in the present. So Reese ran off and did Claire the favor of opening the present for her. It turned out to be a new Thomas train; this one was girly and named Rosie, like Calliou’s sister. How nice! (Reese also thought so, and he “helped” Claire play with the new train all day.)

Apparently Claire and Reese each had another lolipop later in the day, and on the drive home Claire suggsted, “I want a lolipop for dinner. Lolipops are gooooood!” Coldly disregarding Claire’s dinner suggestion, we all went to out dinner at Moe’s for Claire’s favorite real food, quesadillas. She got a sticker and a little plastic guy there from Happy, the very friendly Moe’s guy, and she played a fun peekaboo game with a little girl about 5 years old.

Arriving at home, along with cards and phone messages from the grandparents who we had just seen a couple of days before, two new packages were waiting. They were from the Popes next door. They always remember Claire’s birthday because she was born exactly the day old Aubry Pope died, and they seem to be big fans of Claire. One present was a great big Winnie the Pooh “find it” book from Faye. The other was a beautiful doll in a glass display case. We went next door to thank them and have a nice visit. Well, Kit had a nice visit anyways. Claire spent most of the time wandering around their huge, smoky, maze-like house, and I spent most the time shadowing her to make sure she did not break something or fall down the stairs or just get lost. Claire really liked playing with the cat toys. It turns out the Popes hand-made the display case, and they explained that while Claire may be a little too young for the gifts, she could enjoy them in the years to come.

Finally we all split a birthday cupcake and put Claire to bed a little late. It seemed like a pretty nice day for Claire, even if she didn’t really understand what all the lolipops and cupcakes and presents were about. We actually ran out of time to give Claire the presents from us and some of the ones still waiting from her grandparents. So much fun, so little time!

First Haircut

Today Claire had her hair really cut — not just a little trim — for the first time. This did not happen in a hair studio or a barber shop. Claire had her hair cut by Ms. Janet, one of her teachers, out on the street in front of her school

You may be wondering… Does Ms. Janet make a habit of cutting her students’ hair out in the street in front of the school? Well, I should hope not. This was a special occasion, the school’s annual street fair and fundraiser. The word on the street (so to speak) was that Ms. Janet was a licensed beautician, and very good with little kids. So she took the opportunity to set up a little outdoor barber shop for the fair. She had set up a big tall chair and a full-length mirror in the street, almost in someone’s driveway.

Claire was looking pretty shaggy, so we decided to give the $10 cut-and-style a try. When we sat her up in the stool, Claire seemed a little worried. But she knew Ms. Janet was cool, so she stayed with it. Once Ms. Janet started spraying Claire with the water bottle to sort of prime her hair, Claire got more worried. After all, Claire must have been thinking, why the heck was she sitting here in someone’s driveway getting sprayed with cold water in the face by her teacher, and on a non-school day? I bet it just didn’t make any sense; then again, many things probably don’t make sense to a two year old.
One she got going, and despite some mild resistance, Ms. Janet got Claire’s hair trimmed pretty quickly. The cut looked good overall, but Ms. Janet did cut Claire’s bangs a little bit straight and short, so she looked sort of boyish. Still, it was an improvement from the old mess of her hair. Ms. Janet invited us to come by any Saturday for another haircut at her shop, Cleopatra’s Hair Salon, in the nearby mall.

During the cut, Claire’s classmate Abby and her mom had shown up to watch and wait for the next cut. When it was her turn, Abby’s mom plopped Abby down on the big chair and asked Ms. Janet to go easy on the bangs. Abby was a funny sight up there, holding perfectly still with a worried look on her face, turning a little red, and grasping the sides of the chair like her life depended on it. But she powered through and ended up with a better hair style than Claire, thanks to the more girlish bangs.

After the haircut, we explored the fair some more. Claire had a real live pony ride (another first), got a ribbon for her hair, and got to look at lots of neat toys. Then it was off to home to have lunch and wait for her hair to grow out.

Before and after photos: