My eldest child turned 5 years old yesterday. I am still in shock, even though I’ve had plenty of time to warm up to the fact that she’d be 5 one day. It seems like she was just born.
She has been looking forward to her birthday for months. Maybe since her last birthday. We planned a casual park party with her friends during the middle of the day on her actual birthday but since it was rainy and completely wet outside, we hosted at our house.
My thoughts on the party
I was a little worried about having 21 or more people in our house, especially on a rainy day because I couldn’t really send all the children outside to play, but it was mostly pretty a smooth event. I didn’t plan anything big, just had the kids hang out while the parents chatted and some of us chopped veggies for the soup and my aunt decorated the cakes that I didn’t have time to do earlier. My husband took most of the children outside in their rainboots at one point and everyone played with sparklers. At one point I saw over a half dozen kids in our chicken’s area watching the chickens. I had a tub of Legos for the kids to build with and a friend brought a pop up tent that the kids crawled in. They were entertained.
I asked that no one bring presents because I didn’t want it to be about that, just about enjoying the day and the company. I did ask that everyone bring a dish of food to share with everyone instead, if they had time. I always enjoy seeing and eating what others brought. Apple and pumpkin butter. Cranberry bread. Mint basil rice noodle salad. Toasted spiced coconut. Blueberry muffins. I made hot veggie soup and two kinds of cake.
Recipes for this flourless chocolate honey cake and an almond/coconut flour vanilla honey cake with whipped cream frosting have been added at the bottom.
The most I decorated was putting tablecloths on my island and table. I made it a point to refuse to look at pinterest before hand to make myself feel bad about not doing decorations. I did feel a little bad that I didn’t have anything that said happy birthday on it but oh well. No one cared. Nor did anyone mention party favor bags so I completely forgot they were a thing until someone brought it up later – that they were happy I didn’t have any. Everyone left with hugs and waves.
My thoughts on my daughter
On her birthday, I wish I had spent a little more time talking to her about the importance of her as a person and in my life, a member of the family, how she’s changed over the years, and how much I love her just as she is right now. We spent the day getting ready for the party, baking cakes and cleaning. And with so many people over, it was just about being there in the moment. But I’ll do that this weekend when we get some quiet time together. I guess we did have some quiet time together at the party when she was feeling overwhelmed at one point but we just snuggled and I listened to her tell me her woes. And she nursed. I cannot believe I have a five year old that still breastfeeds. When I first started out, I thought I’d go until her first birthday. Now I’m years past that because I decided to let her wean when she’s ready. I’ve learned that giving a child my milk is not just about me. It’s about her and her needs too and that’s okay. If I need to put some limits, I do. She’s been night weaned for years. She’s been cutting back on asking, slowly for the last couple of years, maybe nursing once every couple weeks. I know she’ll stop when she’s ready. I just have to remind myself occasionally that in other cultures, breastfeeding to five or more is perfectly natural and accepted and the value of breast milk is revered for it’s health benefits for people of all ages. I also just remembered that she said she’d be done with mama-milk when she was five. I guess we both forgot!
I really could write pages and pages about how much I appreciate my daughter but I’ll just say she’s thoughtful, kind, helpful, adventurous, funny. She’s stubborn when she wants to be but on the flip side, she’s the family motivator when she wants to help get something accomplished. She loves climbing with a passion, is enthusiastic about building with scraps from outside or Legos, proud of her drawings and writing her name. She is now trying to read the words books, still enjoys playing in the sand and mud like it’s going out of style, riding her bike, swinging on a swing all by herself (a new skill), and twirling in fancy dresses. Here she is right before her guests arrived yesterday.
She’s also the best big sister, 99% of the time. Sometimes she needs a little space or squabbles, but who doesn’t? She gets her stubborn little sister to help when she’s refusing, gives her baby brother and little sister kisses and hugs, feeds them, watches over them, keeps them from danger or lets me know if they’re doing something questionable. She feels like the glue to holds us all together sometimes. She can be so calming sometimes.
My thoughts on being a mom for 5 years
My daughter’s birthday seemed like a big milestone for me. Her turning 5 makes me think about where I was, mentally, before I had children, during my first pregnancy, her birth, and all the days in between then and now. I can’t believe I’ve been a mother for five years and I have three kids. It seems like a long time but I know it is just the beginning. Then I also think about what I’m doing, my place in the world, being unemployed for 5 years already. But I suppose I follow other passions. They just pay in hugs and kisses. And this blog and my often ignored art.
I like this Mother Teresa quote: “What can you do to promote world peace? Go home and love your family.”
I know I am doing just that. As many days and years as I am lucky enough to be here.
Well, that’s enough for tonight!
How do your children’s birthdays make you feel? How do you celebrate the day? Do you have an older nursling? Or when did your child wean? Share your story!
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Updated to add recipes:
Paleo Cake with Whipped Cream Frosting
1 1/2 cups milk
6 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/4 cup honey
1 1/4 cup coconut flour
1 1/4 cup almond flour
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 teaspoon baking soda
Preheat oven to 350 degree. Grease two 8″ round pans. Put all wet ingredients and sugar in your mixer (or let the kids stir) and whisk until completely smooth. (You’re welcome to use honey instead of coconut palm sugar and it turns out great as well.) Stir flours, salt, and soda together until mixed and add to wet. Combine. Spoon into greased pan, smooth top, and put in the oven at 350 for 30 minutes, or until cake pulls away from the side a bit and a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool for one hour at least and frost.
Whipped Topping Ingredients:
16 oz heavy whipping cream
2 teaspoons of vanilla
Top with fresh cut strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, & toasted coconut (optional)
Whip heavy whipping cream in a stand mixer or by hand for a few minutes. Add honey, vanilla, and strawberries (I’ve used beets or beet juice in the past if you want pink frosting), and continue until stiff. Spread over completely cooled cake, the middle layer first, then stack and to the top and sides. Decorate with fruit as you wish!
Flourless Honey Chocolate Cake
5 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate
½ cup coconut oil
¾ cup honey
¼ cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 8” springform pan with coconut oil. Melt chocolate & coconut oil in double boiler over boiling water. Let cool slightly, then whisk in honey, cocoa powder, eggs, and vanilla until smooth. Pour batter into pan and smooth the top with a spatula. Bake 25 – 30 minutes until the center is firm. Allow to cool completely until serving. Top with raspberries.
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