Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Keeping Up With the (Baby) Joneses

This past weekend we attended the 1st birthday party of one of our good friends' little girl, Elle. Elle is about the cutest little blondie you can imagine and always seems to be smiling. Her mom is a lot the same. We love their family and love spending time with them. Elle's mom and I went through our pregnancies, deliveries and first year of babyhood together. So we pretty much know the ropes. We know how all children and all families are different and we're ok with that. Elle's mommy chose to stay home after Elle was born - I chose to go back to work. We both think that is respectively ok. Elle had some hard times early on with a medical condition that required surgery... Cora had hard times with GERD and colic. We leaned on each other for support. So what I'm saying is that we've been through it all together and come out smiling.

Until this weekend.

Ok, so that's a bit dramatic. We still love Elle's family. We just hate them too. Elle's birthday party was something out of kiddie Vogue (if there were such a thing and I'm sure soon there will be). I don't know how they did it, but lets just say multiple cakes, inflatable play equipment, tented gazebos, decorated tables on expansive lawns and homemade food for about 100 guests was in play. All inexplicably done in an amazingly elegant and non-pretentious way.

Ummmmmm we have Cora's b-day planned. It includes about 15 people, a CostCo cake and an outfit for Cora to wear that MeMe is making. That's about it. When I told Elle's mommy (who will be one of the 15 in attendance) not to expect anything close to this for Coco's party, she graciously said "Well Kristi, I'm home all day - what else am I going to do". Ummm chase a 1 year old around, keep her entertained/fed/changed/sleeping and maybe try and get in a load of laundry or some dishes?? I have weekends - I know the drill. But thanks for trying.

To top it off, as Elle was sitting in her high chair in her adorable pink homemade tutu finishing up her cake crumbs, she took her sippy, tipped it up to get the last bit out (this maneuver has so far eluded Coco) and then held it out to her mommy and said, very clearly... "Milk". Wha? Seriously? So I ask ... "Did she just say 'Milk'?" To which her mommy tells me - "Oh yeah - I guess she's up to about 15 or 20 words - at least the ones I can understand". Hubby and I both looked at each other, mouths mentally agape. We were feeling pretty good with Coco's repertoire of 5 words until then.

So, once we hit the car, I knew the first thing that would be out of Hubby's mouth. He immediately voiced his concern that our child is completely inadequate. That paired with me feeling completely inadequate after viewing the shindig Elle's Mommy put on, made for a sorry couple. Hubby is now convinced that he will teach Coco to say "milk"... as if this word is the holy grail to unlock her language skills.

I, on the other hand am cool with it. I know kids develop at different time frames and I also know by age 2 it usually all evens out more or less. I think its totally cool and really cute that Elle is talking up a storm. I wish Coco would - it would make both our lives a lot easier. But it will happen when it happens. I've also let the supreme-all-being-hostess-master thing go. Its just not me. And I'm ok with that. The bottom line is that I love my friends for who they are... the strengths Elle has will serve Cora well someday when they are friends. The strengths her Mommy has are what make me admire her so much as one of my friends. So instead of comparing the differences - and at the risk of sounding all New Age trippy - I hereby choose to celebrate them. So there. But I'm still making Elle's mommy help with party tips in the future.

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