Backtrack to when Stella turned 1. We actually started celebrating with Mackenzie in September. Mackenzie’s birthday is early September, so we went to Providence, RI to visit Luc and Roya and witness our first ever zhua zhou.
First, we opened presents. We chose Uncle Goose classic wooden blocks, and pjs for Mackenzie. Luc and Roya chose penguin themed gifts for Stella: a Halloween costume and stuffed penguin toys.
Next we ate cake and took a million pictures of the babies smearing cake all over themselves.
And then, zhua zhou. In this dynastic Chinese tradition, babies are presented with an array of symbolic objects. Without any prompting from adults, the babies survey the objects and the first one they touch supposedly indicates the kind of life they will have-it’s basically a random fortune telling party. There are noodles or spools of thread to represent long life, books for scholarship, money for wealth, seals for government officials, paintbrushes for artistic talent, etc. You can add whatever objects you want. Luc and Roya were in charge of preparing objects and they decided to present the items as flash cards to make the choosing more objective, knowing that Mackenzie favors anything with a keypad or screen.
When we set the tray of cards on the floor Stella made a beeline for it and grabbed….drum roll please… THE ONION! She looked so pleased. She also grabbed a calculator. Onions = intelligence and calculators = financial smarts.
Mackenzie grabbed the violin (for musical talent) and the seal (high-ranking official). The two of them will probably take over the world.
On her actual birthday, I made pancakes for breakfast so Stella didn’t have to eat oatmeal like she does every other day. Stella loves plain pancakes because she doesn’t know any better, but I ate mine with syrup and butter and whipped cream.
Later, Daddy came home for lunch. He never does that. He brought paninis and sunflowers from Nica’s Market. Stella had a dress the color of sunflowers, which she had never worn, hanging in her closet. We dressed her up and thought she would like to have her picture taken with the flowers. We were wrong. She wasn’t in the mood for a photo shoot and didn’t care about the flowers, even when we tried to bribe her with raisins. She just took the raisins and crawled away.
After her nap we met Marcela at Rascal’s Gym in Hamden. Stella loved wandering around the giant playroom and pushing the little shopping carts. She liked unpacking all the cupboards and throwing the plastic food out of the miniature kitchen.
Then we went home and that was the end of her birthday. We had a few weeks of intermission, then continued the celebrations when Granny and Grandpa arrived for their fall visit.
I had been dreaming of perfect cake smash pictures for Stella’s birthday so we waited until Grandparents were here. I made an enormous cake thinking Stella would jump into it head first, since that’s what she does with every other novelty around here. But she was so not impressed. She just stared at it, poked it once, then flicked the frosting onto the floor and walked away. It was kind of boring. Thanks Stella.