On Tuesday Rachel turned three. I promised her that I would make her a cake but have I done it yet? No. And frankly I’m not sure that I’m ever going to get around to it. What was I thinking promising her a cake on the one month anniversary of us moving across the world—and a pretty, pink, pig cake that tastes like strawberries at that? I wasn’t thinking we’d be this busy, that’s what I was thinking.
With Sarah’s wedding on Friday and Jacob’s farewell on Sunday there was very little time to think about Rachel’s birthday celebrations. Uncle Jacob was set apart as a missionary on Tuesday evening as well, which meant that we were sharing that day with him, too. But although I haven’t made that blasted cake yet I think we managed to squeeze in a nice celebration, anyway.
On Monday evening we had FHE with my mom at the Bean Museum. Rachel was so excited to go and see all the animals. We timed it so that we would get there in time for the live reptile show. Rachel thought the show was neat and she liked seeing the animals—a corn snake, a blue-tongued skink, and an Egyptian tortoise—but she did not want to touch them. She screamed when the educator walked by with the snake. He was sure not to come too close with the lizard after that, but he did ask a few questions about the lizard.
“Where do you think this lizard lives?” he asked.
“In that blue box,” Rachel answered smartly since the lizard had, indeed, been inhabiting a blue box prior to being brought out for public display.
Blue-tongued skinks are native to Australia. That’s the answer the educator was actually looking for. But it’s still true that it was in a box.
The turtle looked like the nicest little fellow. He was about twenty pounds and over fifty years old but he looked happy to see all the children. Rachel wouldn’t touch him, either, although she was eager to handle all the taxidermied things that were passed around—some iguana eggs, a snake skin, a stuffed legless lizard, and the shell of a sea turtle. She thought it was great and impressed Naanii by knowing what “detach” meant.
While talking about lizards, the educator mentioned that sometimes, if a lizard—such as a gecko—is in trouble, it can detach its tail to escape the danger.
“Its tail can come off?!” Rachel gasped in amazement.
We also talked for a while about crocodilians and learned some differences between crocodiles and alligators. There was a little stuffed alligator at the show, “But,” mentioned the educator, “There is a large crocodile upstairs.”
Rachel looked upstairs and saw some stuffed bears.
“Ummm, actually,” she said aloud, “There are bears up there.”
Such a little know-it-all. She sat through the whole show, though, and was so excited to explore the rest of the museum when the show was over. Personally, one of my favourite animals in the museum is the water deer. This deer has long fangs—or tusks, but fangs sounds much more menacing—of all things, that it can draw up while it eats (because it is a herbivore) or thrust outwards to attack. Bizzare.
Rachel’s favourite part varies depending on who she’s talking to. She really liked the bears, the elephant, and the tiger and liger. Overall I think she had a great time.
Miriam, on the other hand, could only think about dinner so I had to have a timeout so that I could feed her while everyone else enjoyed the museum.
Andrew carried Rachel for most of the trip because although she knew all the animals were stuffed she didn’t quite seem convinced that they wouldn’t suddenly come back to life. Every time they walked past a “scary” animal, Rachel would lean as far away as she could get. Andrew joked that it was like the repelling force you feel when you try to push to magnets with the same polarity together. The closer you get the more force you feel pushing away.
She was not a fan of the baboon or of the huge grizzly bear.
We swung by the Provo Temple on our way home to enjoy the grounds. The temple is closed right now for some renovations so we got to see the new carpet that will be going in. Mostly, though, we played by the fountains.
There were a few other families there and Rachel saw some bigger kids walking around a fountain. She wanted to join in the fun so Naanii helped her walk around a few times.
There was a little boy on the fountain, though, who was a bit competitive and was almost running along the ledge, lapping Rachel and his sister. This intimidated her so she got off and decided just to watch the bigger kids do it. On one of his rounds, the little boy slipped and went right into the fountain.
He floundered around a bit until he got his footing. His dad dragged him out and scolded him about “getting too silly.” He cried and cried and soon hopped back up and was at it again.
Rachel asked over and over again why he fell in. She didn’t really want to go back on the fountain after seeing the incident so we just took some more pictures and then went home for bedtime.
And that’s how Rachel spent her last day being two.
On Tuesday morning Rachel woke up and I said, “Happy Birthday!”
She stretched and said, “Am I bigger? I feel bigger!”
For as much as she wanted to remain two (because two is her favourite number ever ever, ever) she made a smooth transition to saying that she’s three. She can’t quite work the fingers, though, so whenever anyone asks her how old she is she pauses to make sure she has three fingers up—usually she doesn’t—and then tells them that she’s “fwee!”
We spent the morning at the park and then she spent the rest of the day playing with Uncle Jacob. They had a blast and finally made friends, which is unfortunate since Jacob would be leaving the next day. She hasn’t been very nice to him and would never let him sit by her at the dinner table or anything but when Grandma brought out the cupcakes Rachel actually invited Jacob to sit by her.
They enjoyed their princess cupcakes together. Lucky for Rachel, Grandma thought to pick some up when she was at the store otherwise we wouldn’t have had cake at all. Of course, had no cupcakes been purchased I might have had more motivation to make a cake…but it was certainly nice to not have to worry about it.
We opened presents, just with our family, Uncle Jacob, Grandma, Grandpa, and Naanii before Great Grandpa Frank and Grandma Sharon stopped by for dinner before we all left for Jacob’s setting apart. At first she wasn’t too sure about ripping the paper off the present and she was genuinely interested in the first gift she opened, but then we kept shoving presents at her and she realized there’s more…so instead of getting really interested in whatever she was opening she’d give it a cursory glance and demand, “Next!”
Rachel loved her gifts—she got some books and some bath toys, a sweater, and even a tricycle! Auntie Kelli passed along one of the twins’ bikes and Rachel loves it!
She doesn’t quite get how to ride it yet—she’s still a tad short to get the pedals—but will ask anyone around to help her ride it.
Naanii stayed with the girls while everyone else left for the Stake Center. Jacob will make such a good missionary—he did a great job on his talk on Sunday and answered all of President Shaw’s questions with maturity. We’ve been bugging him about “quiet dignity” since he says a lot of goofy, non-missionary phrases such as “dude” and “yo” but I think he’ll hold the mantle just fine. Especially since he’ll be speaking Spanish and doesn’t know how to say “dude” or “yo.”
They don’t invite families into the MTC for orientation or goodbyes anymore—you just drop them off at the curb—so we did most of our picture-taking the night he was set apart. (Reid was there, too, but the picture we got of him with Karen and Jacob didn’t turn out at all.)
The next day we loaded his suitcases into the car and sent him on his way. There were some attempted stow-aways but in the end only Rachel ended up accompanying Uncle Jacob to the MTC with Grandma and Grandpa.
Rachel still sometimes asks when Uncle Jacob is going to come home. She knows she will be five but doesn’t quite understand how long it will take her to be five. The other day she told me, “Tomorrow I will be four. Then next I will be five and Uncle Jacob will come home.”
I told her that next year she will be four and the year after that she’ll be five. Then she asked how long a year was. It’s basically an eternity for her. We took a picture of her standing by Uncle Jacob so we can compare it with how big she’ll be when he gets home. (Through this I learned that we really need to clean our camera lens.)
Rachel is quite confused about Uncle Jacob and Auntie Em. She knows they’re both on missions but keeps forgetting who is where.
After a lengthy discussion she summarized as follows, “Auntie Em is on a mission in Nauvoo. Uncle Jacob is in a mission in Peru. That’s hard for me to know because they kind of rhyme.”
Auntie Em will be home soon enough (less than one month, actually) but it’s hard to believe that my little baby will be five when Uncle Jacob comes home. It’s even harder to believe that Uncle Jacob will be 21 and even harder to believe that I’ll be *gulp* 27! We just won’t think about that…
**Happy, happy birthday, Rachel, dear! We’re so happy the terrible twos are over, though I hear three is even worse…you’re cute, though, so we’ll keep you!**