Eleanor is not going to win any Gerber baby contests with her buck teeth and orange hair, but everyone at our house agrees that she is the cutest baby anywhere. She is always happy to smile her chubby little cheeks and wave her hands at anyone who catches her eye. Patty cake and peek-a-boo are her favorite games, and if she thinks you haven't played enough rounds with her, she'll grab your hands and clap them for you or hide her face behind your hands.
Eleanor is sadly behind in mobility, only learning to crawl a month and a half ago. She thought briefly about crawling like a normal baby - on hands and knees - before she decided that her method of swimming across the floor works just fine, thank-you-very-much. I know that one day she'll finally learn how to walk, but I'm not holding my breath for the next six months.
Eleanor's birthday is the day after our anniversary and so this year we celebrated a few days late after Brandon and I came back from a short getaway. She doesn't know what birthdays are anyway, so she didn't complain when her birthday came and went without any cake or presents. When Brandon and I sang to her on her birthday morning, she just looked at us quizzically. "What is that strange noise?"she seemed to ask. Then she fish hooked my lip.
We didn't buy her any presents because, as we explained to all of her very disappointed siblings, we don't need any more toys and she's not old enough to know what is supposed to come with birthdays. Children only receive toys on their birthdays when they actually care, and it's only because they care - not because they need them - that presents are part of the celebration.
I made Eleanor strawberry cupcakes because it's strawberry season. Only when she spat out the strawberry on top did I remember that Eleanor doesn't like strawberries. She warily picked at the cupcake we presented her, daintily exploring the slippery texture of the meringue buttercream, but wasn't much interested in eating anything. So, not to waste a perfectly good cupcake, I ate it.
And that's the life of a fifth child: birthday two days late, no presents, and mom eats your cupcake. It's good to have things to tell your therapist in twenty years.