With all that’s going on right now, this past weekend we had a bit of an early birthday celebration for the diplo-tot, so that she got to celebrate with her friends here in Copenhagen. Four years is just around the corner, and hard to believe that the time has come and gone so quickly. When someone is 4, are they still even a tot? Her growth has always amazed us – that makes us parents, right? – but especially given where we were last year….She had just started the forest school, seemed completely lost in the system and language and we didn’t know much of anyone here yet. For her birthday we invited the one family we really knew at the time.
Turned out to be a good family to know since they were back again this year, becoming some of our closest friends. But the circle has widened too, and that was something to celebrate. In the forest school now she’s thriving…speaks Danish fluently and this year sang all the birthday songs with aplomb…
Last year as well I was just really getting going with the traveling and found myself in tears because I didn’t manage to make the cupcakes for her school party (they ended up being grocery store muffins with some icing tossed on them) nor did I make a cake for her birthday. I’m not a mom that usually hung up on doing everything “myself”, and I don’t normally take it personally that I need to find help or faster ways to do things but for some reason, maybe because we were still new and out of place, I took it a bit to heart that I couldn’t get organized to just make a batch of cupcakes, even though I had to frost those muffins at one o’clock in the morning when my flight got back in.
So this year, with the new baby coming and more change on the horizon, and our tot finally reaching an age where she just might possibly remember this kind of thing, I wanted to be a little more organized – or at least try to. This pregnancy has been a little bit tougher than my first one, so actually I found myself more limited. To keep things easy, we went with a bit of a cobbled together theme: “reindeer games” which allowed us to make use of a ton of holiday stuff already around the house, and pick up the details from easy places around our house.
There’s a great store here in Copenhagen called “Sostrene Greene” which always cracks me up. My husband calls it the “Let’s see what we found in an unclaimed Chinese shipping container” store because it really does feel like that sometimes…it seems to specialize in doodads of all kinds, and you never know what you’ll find in there but you can always find something festive for a party. We rounded out the decorations from there, found the antlers, and picked up a few simple things for the goodie bags. Everything else was pizza for the kids, a chocolate cake with vanilla frosting per the birthday girl’s request, and a few fun things like candy canes and Danish “pfeffernodders” (the holiday staple around here – I buy mine since they’re all over the place here, but if you’re not in Denmark, give this recipe from Traveling Mama a whirl).
We started out with some “reindeer games” in the yard, which really is a fancy way of saying “toddlers running around in a big circle while yelling”, did the lunch, and then ended with watching the old school claymation Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”. For the adults, a big pot of gluwein was on hand (try this recipe and you’re house will smell like an Austrian Christmas market in no time). In the end, it wasn’t too taxing but it was special for her, and a good way to celebrate all her achievements of this this year while looking forward to what’s to come for our family in the next.