Before I begin, let me introduce you to my daughters, Frannie and Maggie. If you’re someone who knows me personally, this will likely confuse you a little, but I have enough strangers reading my blog now that I am following the lead of several other bloggers and assigning pseudonyms to my girls. The names do have some significance, but it would sort of spoil the point of the anonymity if I explained them.
It took me a while to decide exactly how I wanted to handle the name issue, but I am tired of saying “my oldest” and “my youngest”…especially when I know that gramatically, since there are only two of them, it should be “my older” and “my younger”, which really don’t flow. Okay, now that we have that out of the way…
Frannie will be four next month, so I’ve been thinking about her big day, and about birthday traditions in general. In our family, we have always done this really original thing where we get a cake, and put candles in it representing the number of years being celebrated, and then we light the candles, and sing a song… how long did I have you going for? I actually would love to start a cool new tradition with my girls — preferably something that can take the emphasis off gifts — so I’m hoping for some reader suggestions!
Growing up, choosing the meal (mom/my brother) or restaurant (dad/me) was always part of the birthday ritual. We have kept this up, except now with growing families restaurant meals are no longer a viable option.
As a child, one of my gifts would always be what I referred to as a “Birthday Girl” (but learned today that the proper name is “Enesco Growing Up Girl” – see photo). Actually, I think the first one I got was number 8 or 9, but then I decided I wanted to collect the rest, so I received them as random gifts. Kind of unusual for a 12 year old to ask Santa for a figurine of a 3 year old girl, but I wanted to complete the collection. Half my set is blonde and half brunette, which may have been a predictor of how I would spend my adult life. (Note: so far brunette is in the lead.)
Anyway, back to the Birthday Girls. Once Frannie was born, I put the baby figurine in her room, and each year, as she sleeps the night before her birthday, the next one goes in. After Maggie was born, I started moving the figurines over as she hit each age. I realize I could have just purchased her a set of her own, but oh well. I figure they can keep passing them along to the next generation of girls in the same way. (Is it weird that my kids haven’t even started school yet, but I’m already really hoping that someday I’ll be a Grandma?)
There are some neat birthday ideas for different cultures at http://www.kidsparties.com/TraditionsInDifferentCountries.htm, but I’m pretty sure my two little Irish girls wouldn’t be interested in adopting the tradition of being turned over and bumped on their head enough times to represent their age…plus one for good luck!
Frannie’s celebration this year will be a simple affair: a grandparents/godparents dinner, which will include four cousins, and then one special outing and sleepover with her cousin/best friend. The cake will be Fancy Nancy (more on her in a future post) and the “loot bags” (which have taken on a life of their own at children’s parties) consist of a hand-picked book from Scholastic and a box of Smarties.
I have a wonderful colleague who is the absolute queen of little girls’ birthdays, and someday I will twist her arm to help me with a post on the topic, but I’d rather wait until after my daughers’ special days pass. Too much pressure to live up to her example.
So, what do you do to celebrate your kids’ birthdays? I’d love to hear your ideas!