When my son was a baby - a couple weeks before he turned one - he fell down the stairs and hit his head. I was told to observe him in case he became lethargic and/or if he threw up. He ate some pizza and went to bed. The next day I was surprised that he had not woken up at his usual time so I went into his room and found that he had thrown up all over his crib and was still sleeping. I scooped up my baby and went straight to Children’s Hospital. They had to do a cat scan and I remember saying to myself - if all is fine, I will throw him a birthday party. (Side Note: my first child did not have a bday party when she turned one so I was trying to be “fair” and not have one for my second child). Fortunately, the cat scan came back fine. It was a coincidence that he had a virus at the same time that he took a spill. Keeping my word, I put together a party and we celebrated a week later.
Many wise people would say to me: kids grow up fast, so enjoy them while they’re young. But as a mom of two under two, I could not wait to get the hell out of the “putting-fire-after-fire-out-all-day-long” phase. My son turns eight on December 7th and the crazy thing is that it wasn’t until recently, we ran across an old video and I realized how much both kids have grown. Living in the future, always wanting to get past another phase, moving onto the next, it was easy to miss the growth. I feel like it was serendipitous that we found the video because now I plan to listen to those wise words and enjoy my kids while they’re still young.
I used to have this hard fast rule that my kids’ birthdays would only be celebrated on the actual birth date. During their younger years, having two celebrations per kid in December was NOT an option. This year my son’s birthday falls on a Wednesday. He has too many after-school activities so his party has to be on a different date. Here's how we will celebrate his actual birthday. First, he requested waffles in bed for breakfast. Creature of habit - Waffles Wednesdays - he didn’t want to deviate. Then he requested to bring treats for his classmates at school. (Another Side Note: the two things I looked forward to in being a parent were: 1) so I could bake b-day treats for the classroom. And 2) make PB&J sandwiches for my kids. Well, one of my kids can’t celebrate her b-day at school because it will always fall during Winter Break. Plus, nowadays most food items brought into school to share are required to be store-bought. And btw, none of my kids eat PB&J sandwiches. Boo hoo. However, at our school, my son’s second grade teacher is allowing him to bring in homemade goodies. Score!! The caveat is that the treats need to be self-serve ready. Meaning, don’t bring in a cake and expect the teachers to cut it up and distribute. I totally understand this because when I was a preschool teacher, the last thing we enjoyed doing was passing out cake to twenty kids who all wanted their piece immediately. I digress. Going back to my son’s request for the class treat. I was totally giddy until he asked for pavlovas. Say what? Apparently, a box of cake mix cupcakes were not going to cut it. Wish me luck as l make twenty individual pavlovas. I’ve never made them before.
Let’s continue on with my son’s special day, shall we? After school, he will go to hockey school which is from 4-520p. He requested to share donuts with all of the hockey students. (Yup, 27 of them). Then we will go out to dinner - the venue is TBD. He'd rather not skip another hockey practice from 530-650p but he will. He has to go to church school from 630p-745p because next Tuesday is his First Reconciliation so he can't miss it. Phew! I’m exhausted thinking about his day.
But hang on…there’s more. We will have his party on Friday, December 9th. The birthday boy requested the following:
- Fifteen friends
- a football game (two teams of eight)
- a Nerf* gun war
- a Star Wars light saber fight
- Spaghetti and meatballs for dinner
- Mint and Chip ice cream cake
Did you get all that? Not only have I doubled his celebration by celebrating it on two days, but let’s call a spade a spade - we are spoiling him! Pardon the pun, but the icing on the cake is that he only wants one gift. His request: Xbox OneS. We have avoided these contraptions for years. Now we have turned the corner and I hope we are not making a big mistake. *Another something I have avoided for years - Nerf guns. Nerf’s packaging for their guns has 8+ years listed as the recommended age for their products. My son is turning eight and I wish we could stop the clock.
You’re all thinking I’m such a pushover but I did put my foot down on one of my son’s requests. No gifts. Everyone wins in my house when donations are collected instead of gifts. We decided that since he would be getting what he wanted, there was no need for the other 15 birthday gifts. If his guests choose to come with a gift - a donation to Alan Page’s Page Education Foundation will be welcomed but not expected. Besides giving out pavlova and donuts, we’re hoping to send some thoughtful pinches to those in need.