jen groeber: mama art

4 kids in 3 years: reflections on motherhood, art and life.

Who Doesn’t Love Dessert (Happy Birthday, Baby Girl)

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Bathing beauty
June 2014

Today on the beach I was having a moment with my newly 4 year-old daughter, Cabot. She was calling me Binky and saying, “I love you, Binky,”and then kissing me. Then I would return the favor. Back and forth. After a whole bunch of Binky-ing I hugged her and told her she was special, and that I’m glad I have her in my life.

And while this is true, it’s not something I often have the bandwidth or peace of mind (piece of mind?) to express. Our days are so busy, she whines so much, my lap is occupied with someone else or I’m distracted by schedules or dishes or imminent time outs. Who knows which distraction to choose?! But today, there was time.

So then she said something along the lines of, “Did you know you wanted baby me, Mama?” Which was a bit of a conversation stopper after our Binky love fest.

I often describe our surprising 4th child as “the dessert I did not order” because she came into our life like that, just when we were ready to say, “Check, please!” So I asked if she’d want apple pie right now on the beach and she expressed consternation. I then asked if she would like gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free apple pie and, of courses, she immediately nodded.

Then I pointed out that if I’d asked her what she’d wanted a minute ago she probably would not have even thought of apple pie. But here she was on the beach, craving apple pie.  I’m not certain she was ready for the metaphor.

It’s how we got here, though. We’d worked so hard for years and years thinking we’d never have children, but then we finally had Jasper. We tried so hard again and had Mica and Reid right away. Then we spent the year worrying about how little they were, whether they could thrive, if Mica would walk, when the next diaper shipment would arrive.  We couldn’t  even imagine the possibility that Cabot was an option.

I told Cabot that once we knew we were having her we couldn’t have imagined not having her.

She said she knew. That daddy had said that he’d kissed me too hard and then we’d had her… Which I’m not sure directly related and was an understatement to say the least.

And so this week was the 4th birthday, the Hello Kitty party with her friends, where she took each guest by the hand and led them through the house to see the Hello Kitty cake I’d made, then led them outside to build nutritious temporary sculptures out of mini-marshmallows and toothpicks and then over to the table where they could dress or color Hello Kitty.

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Shameless opportunity to post Hello Kitty cake
June 2014

Four years ago we kept the early days of our pregnancy a secret. I was allowed one lifeline so I called my childhood besty. And although for a number of genetically baffling reasons we like to discern pregnancy from pregnant with child in the early days, my besty said, “Jen, I know you’re not going to want to hear this, but I have a feeling about this one. I think she’s going to be a girl and she’s going to be special. She’s going to do great things.”

cabot.3daysold.6.19.10

Who can say no to dessert?
Cabot
June 2010

Which is why childhood besty is Cabot’s godmother. And my best friend. And it’s why we say, Cabot is like the dessert we didn’t order. I mean, I probably shouldn’t have dessert. I’m full, it’s expensive, my waistline! But who doesn’t love dessert?

So cheers to the little girl who inspired, “But who doesn’t love dessert?” four short years ago. Here’s to her pre-reading and her uncanny ability to fake-sing any song, her emphatic and contagious head bobbing to every piece of music, her willingness to nap when I say nap-time or ride her bike three miles with her three older siblings when that’s the afternoon plan instead. Here’s to the little girl who will sweetly say, “No, thank you,” then “I’m allergic,” and “Does dat have dairy?” and finally, “Dats okay!” when offered first pizza, then cake and finally ice cream at every single birthday party we’ve ever attended except her own. She is the little girl people stop to admire in the grocery store, the one who will yell to the woman in the freezer aisle with no eyebrows, garish eye shadow and fake eyelashes, “I like your eyebrows! They’re boo-tiful!” and mean it.

Sometimes when you ask for less chaos or more sleep, a smaller car and more me time,  life gives you apple pie. And the takeaway lesson here? Take the apple pie. Forget the voices in your head that worry and just dig in to the gooey goodness.

We can’t imagine life without her. Who doesn’t love dessert indeed.

 

Laughing Binky at the beach  June 2014

Laughing Binky at the beach
June 2014

Happy 4th birthday, Cabot!

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24 comments on “Who Doesn’t Love Dessert (Happy Birthday, Baby Girl)

  1. dianaroggenbuckebrown
    June 22, 2014

    This was such a beautiful post! Happy birthday for your gorgeous little girl. I couldn’t agree more, who doesn’t love dessert? 😊😊😊

    • jgroeber
      June 26, 2014

      Thank you! I almost didn’t write it. She just gets left behind sometimes. But I was stumped working through some stickier pieces when suddenly I thought, “Oh, yes. Hello Kitty is turning four! I almost forgot to record this moment!”
      Thanks for going along for the sentimental ride. 😉

  2. Burns the Fire
    June 22, 2014

    Cabot is totally yum and so is this post.

    • jgroeber
      June 26, 2014

      If you could only see her belly button. I swear, that thing is a delightfully scrumptious pit of love. And it hasn’t changed a bit since she was about four months old. Just splendid.
      (And thanks for always reading. You’re a star.)

  3. Cynthia novotny
    June 22, 2014

    I am already in love! Happy birthday Little binky and many more.

    • jgroeber
      June 26, 2014

      Ha! She’s utterly lovable. Really.

  4. dvb415
    June 23, 2014

    Wonderful writing. The metaphors winding through the story are wonderful. Good advice: ALWAYS order dessert. A Ferris Bueller moment. Your writing is so inspiring.

    • jgroeber
      June 26, 2014

      Aw, shucks. A Ferris Bueller compliment. Thank you for that. Straight up smiling here.
      And the thing is, if dessert comes by surprise, then you definitely, definitely take it.
      Thank you so much for stopping by. Really.

  5. Carol Barrel
    June 23, 2014

    Dessert is amazing, and the first 3 courses aren’t so bad either!!! Amazing job on them all! xo

    • jgroeber
      June 26, 2014

      Ha! Yes! But the first three courses were so filling. I mean, I was full. I was really full. Thank goodness I have some helping hands to relieve me.

  6. kellylmckenzie
    June 23, 2014

    My friends also were treated to dessert. 9 years ago in their case. I just went to two dance recitals in two days because of her. She is a little gem and as I always say – “they broke the mould when they made her.” Sounds like you and your husband also did some mould breaking. Happy, happy birthday to wee C!

    • jgroeber
      June 26, 2014

      Zoiks! Can you imagine shutting down the business, giving away the baby clothes, sending off the old cribs, scrapping the changing pads, relinquishing the diaper pails only to find you were back in the game?! Holy smokes! That could drive a girl to drink, surely. I’d prefer the four babes in diapers, methinks. Although, savoring that last little morsel would be a decadent treat…

  7. Janice
    June 23, 2014

    Just beautiful- the writing and the little girl! Seeing her pictures makes me smile cuz she reminds me so much of you! Happy 4th birthday wunderkind!

    • jgroeber
      June 26, 2014

      Too sweet! Thank you to the Mama who reminded me that good things could be hoped for and even said out loud, and still happen. Cheers to an amazing godmother (who introduced her to Hello Kitty, by the way.)

  8. Anna Spanos
    June 24, 2014

    This post was beautiful and inspirational and happy making (me and my Koukla have been having a lot of our own versions of binky-fest lately). BUT – did you seriously make that cake? Like, in your own house and with your own hands? I mean, I was in awe before, but…

    • jgroeber
      June 26, 2014

      HA! Right? One of the few times the vision actually matched the outcome. I mean, I did a better job executing that cake than I did my fertility plan. Am I right?
      The secret: marshmallow fondant. A buttload of confectioners sugar, mini-marshmallows, food dye, a rolling pin and carpal tunnel syndrome. And TA-DAH! Hello Kitty! You could seriously do this. (Wine is optional, but recommended. Also, I send pics to everyone when I finish it in the wee hours of the morning. It gives me something to shoot for.)

      • Anna Spanos
        June 26, 2014

        Yeah… I got a perfect score on my verbal SATs but still don’t know what fondant means? What does that tell you?

        • jgroeber
          June 26, 2014

          Literally laughing out loud. I wouldn’t have either. But then there was Google. Ha! (I would define fondant as: n. a weird, crusty, edible, clay-like covering for cake, especially Hello Kitty and Woody and Buzz Lightyear cakes.)

  9. Jenn Berney
    June 24, 2014

    Aw, I feel like I know her now. That last photo matches everything your wrote so well.

    • jgroeber
      June 26, 2014

      Our kids would so rock the beach together. Quirky, slightly naughty, very creative and captivating. Let’s keep each other in mind for future prom dates. Any of mine with either of yours. Although the limo would have to drive soooooo far.

  10. HBG
    June 24, 2014

    Fabulous ode to the unexpected!

    • jgroeber
      June 26, 2014

      I should have mentioned you, my illegal lifeline. I was only really allowed to tell one person, but as you and I both know, I told two! Thanks for being the voice of support and reason in New England!

  11. Margie S
    June 26, 2014

    Happy Birthday! She is adorable!! A complete meal is always the best meal. I have made many GF/DF/NF cakes for my family but mine NEVER looked like that, awesome.

    • jgroeber
      June 26, 2014

      The magic is in the marshmallow, my friend. I could build a spaceship out of marshmallow fondant. And I don’t mean a spaceship cake, I mean an actual spaceship. (And yes, she is adorable. Although less adorable? The fact that she believes she is adorable.)

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