How we like to celebrate birthdays

I find the world of children’s birthdays so confusing. Party? No party? Presents? Low key? Invite guests? Birthday tea? What age to start celebrating? In all honesty – Winston doesn’t have any real, proper friends, which I know sounds incredibly mean. He absolutely loves his cousins and he has a few friends at playgroup and church that he looks forward to seeing, but nobody that he talks about constantly…although he does like his Uncle Matty rather a lot. The truth is that two year olds don’t really play together – they prefer to go solo, or to just get possessive over toys.

Jared and I have talked at length about how our children’s birthdays will be celebrated and how we will make them feel special. We want to be consistent and I suppose we’re excited to start some family traditions of our own. We’ve decided that we will have a family outing of their choice, a birthday breakfast (of course), only consider a party if they ask for one and be quite minimal with presents. I do worry that sometimes I am a bit of a scrooge but I so want them to feel like love is about having meaningful experiences together, not about presents. Personally I find opening presents quite stressful and then after opening them I constantly worry about whether I expressed enough appreciation…then at the same time who doesn’t love a present? I don’t want my issues surrounding receiving gifts to affect my children’s experience of birthday, but maybe I’m over thinking this just a tad?

Last year we decided to just take Winston swimming and to bake him a cake – after all he had absolutely no clue what was going on and his favourite thing was swimming at the time. It seemed ridiculous to invite people over, and in the end I’m glad we didn’t because he ended up falling over, splitting his lip and having an early night. We were all ready for him to dive into his cake, but he was too upset to even consider it. Party pooper.

Winston turned two last week and it was so much more exciting than last year. We put balloons in his bedroom and woke up to him bellowing: “Mummy! Balloons down there”. His understanding is limited – he can sing “Happy Birthday To You”, realises this means you get candles on a cake and he does talk about the two parties he has been to this year – Isaac’s and Evelyn’s (which I think is because there was cake and lots of it). Last Saturday we took him for “A Day Out With Thomas” at Kirklees Light Railway. It was absolutely brilliant. All the engines were around, the playground was fantastic, The Fat Controller was there for photographs, face painting, hand tattoos, bouncy castle, donkey rides and lots more. The best thing was that everything was included, so there was no forking out an extra £1 here and there. I had a great time…even if it was ridiculously windy!

Even though I tell myself that I want to be quite low key with birthdays I did find myself running around like a crazy person until 11pm the night before blowing up balloons, melting chocolate to make number two cake toppers (so not me) , baking mini cakes and wrapping up presents. We bought him Henry for his train set as a present but I did add Edward, Toby and Bertie to the basket too…then remove them. It was difficult to restrain myself, but otherwise there will be nothing left to buy him!

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  1. 21st March 2014 / 8:28 am

    I think because Cherry’s first birthday was a novelty we went crazy and had three little parties over a weekend, now as J approaches one I look back and wonder why the hell I bothered, she didn’t even know! He still seems like a baby and we definitely won’t be having any parties, probably just a trip to the aquarium or something! Cherry had a joint party at a soft play for her third birthday which was fun but not really worth the effort or money. But then it’s hard if they get invited to parties and you don;t invite kids back! x

    • 24th March 2014 / 2:23 pm

      Thanks for sharing! I found it really interesting, particularly what you said about them getting invited to parties and having to invite them back. I’m intrigued to see how it changes once he has actual friends! I hope J has a lovely birthday whatever you decide xx

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