Happy Birthday, Little Pookie

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This post is a part of my “Board Book Beauty – Savoring the small as I read to my toddler” series. To see all of the posts in the series, go here.

As I was writing yesterday’s post, I had a nagging feeling I was forgetting something, a sense something was missing. I realized what it was this morning: the Pookie books! How could I have neglected them? Katie was given Little Pookie and Happy Birthday, Little Pookie about a month after Abby was born, and she loves them.

She doesn’t remember her own birthday – after all, one fifth of her life has passed since she turned two, an eternity at this age – but we’ve read Happy Birthday, Little Pookie enough times now that she knows such days are special. They merit waking up early (though all days have merited that lately, a fact not celebrated by her parents). They include cake and presents and balloons. There will be yummy treats and singing.

And so, when we told her we were going to a birthday party for two of her friends (sisters age 2 and age 4), she knew she was in for a treat. Initial excitement was quickly replaced by introverted reticence when we walked in the door to find noise and laughter and lots of people, but she eventually warmed up. There was good food and friends and fun things to do. And there were beautifully wrapped packages – the most confusing part of the day by far, for the bright bags just begged to be opened, the fun new toys just asked to be played with. It’s a hard thing, when you’re two, to see such an array of shiny new things and be told they aren’t yours. (Who am I fooling? It’s a hard thing at thirty-two, too.)

At one point, as I gently pulled her back from pulling tissue paper out of a gift bag, the kind grandmother sitting next to me leaned over and said, warmly, “She’s still so little.”

And she is. So little. With only two birthdays behind her and (hopefully) many, many more to come, she has lots of time to learn how to celebrate with others, how to share, how to encourage her kind and loving nature to come to the forefront. We’ll work with her to develop such things, for they can be hard things to figure out.

What I hope isn’t hard for her to figure out, though, is that birthdays are worth celebrating, that she is worth celebrating. That when we gather together with gifts and cards and cake on our friends’ and families’ special days, we’re saying they matter. They’re valuable. They’re loved. We’re saying that the day they came into the world was a good day, that our lives are the better for it. And that, that is worth celebrating.

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Family and Parenting, Loving Others

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