Birthdays, Bacon & Lobster

As we get older, we tend to like to forget our birthdays.

I’ve always said I stopped counting after 30.

Sure it’s nice to have a little cake and maybe get a present or two, but as you get older, the helium seems to get sucked out of the balloons faster than you can say “Happy Birthday.”

Things couldn’t be further from the truth for kids.

A birthday is like Christmas’ first cousin, but even better.

It’s a child’s own special day. No one can take it away from her. She may have to share it with a person or two, but it doesn’t matter. It’s still her birthday. Believe me, kids know when it’s their birthday.

My older daughter turns 6 this week. She’s been talking about this birthday ever since last birthday. She knows she wants bacon for breakfast and lobster for dinner…yes, lobster. I know, it’s obnoxious that a 5 year-old eats lobster, but we deal. Sure, it can get a little much, but that’s okay. It truly does warm your heart to see a child’s face just light up with excitement and anticipation.

Of course as a child gets older, she is more aware of what a birthday can mean…a party, presents, special food…it’s all a part of the package if they’re lucky. I always tell my daughter not to expect too much because then you may get disappointed!

While kids are dreaming of presents and chocolate cake, birthdays take on a new meaning when you become a parent. If you’re anything like me, you find birthdays bittersweet. Of course their birthdays are fun. But, my kids’ birthdays are always a time for me to think about just how fast they’re growing up. While it may sound cliché, time flies and they get so big in the blink of an eye. Each birthday I can remember each of their births like they were yesterday. I can remember the exact moment when the doctor placed each of them in my arms for the first time. If I close my eyes, I can almost fell their baby soft skin.

Each year when they blow out their candles, I wonder what, if anything they’re wishing for. Whatever it is, I hope it comes true if it makes them happy. As a mother, I always make a little wish for them too as they blow out their candles. Of course I never tell them. You know what they say, if you tell someone your wish, it doesn’t come true.

As they get older, I know they’ll want a lot more than bacon and lobster…although I can’t imagine a fancier meal! For now, though, I’ll take it.








It’s Not Your Happy Birthday

When you have more than one child you know sibling rivalry and jealousy play a big part in growing up. Being an only child, this whole dynamic is a learning process for me, but I’m quickly getting the hang of it. Child “A” gets doll, child “B” sees doll and wants doll. Child “A” does not want to give up doll so child “B” rips it out of her hands and across the floor. End Act 1, Scene 1. As you know, the rest of the show plays out the same way.

Well, now that my children are getting old enough to express wants and so-called “needs”, I’m noticing jealousy roots its green, ugly head in a big way around birthdays. This week my oldest daughter turns five. God bless her little heart she’s been talking about her birthday since around Christmas. It’s safe to say she is very, very excited. With that said, my two-year-old is hopping on the Happy Birthday train. The only problem is she’s not the conductor for this ride, and she’s quickly realizing that.

As we shop for decorations and talk about her sister’s party, little sis chimes in with “and my Happy Birthday”. She proceeds to tell me she’s going to have a Sofia…no Dora…no “Go”(that’s what she calls “Frozen” because of the song)…when it is her birthday… in three months. When my older daughter talks about presents, you can hear an “and me” echo in the background. Lord help me!

Don’t get me wrong, I feel bad for my younger daughter. But, girlfriend, it’s not your Happy Birthday! I’m trying to tell her when its her special day she will get special things, until then take a chill pill. It’s not like we’re going to ignore her on that day. But she’s not going to get her own cake, presents, etc. It may sound insensitive, but I don’t want her to get into the habit of thinking it is her birthday every time it is her sister’s. That’s called Christmas.

My older daughter has agreed to let her little sister help her blow out her candles and open some presents because that’s just the type of person she is. Hopefully tiny tyke will understand that she has the supporting role in this Happy Birthday film, not the lead.

I’m hoping this birthday thing is just another phase, but something is telling me it’s not. Perhaps having twins wouldn’t have been so bad. At least then it really is both of their birthdays!

Do any of you deal with this issue? How do you deal with it?