We had a nice low-key family party, with a couple of friends over for cake after dinner. By the time the third kid comes, you learn a few things about birthdays. Here are a few things I've learned:
- It is better to space out the opening of gifts throughout the day--or many days--so that the Birthday Kid (and siblings) have a really good chance to spend quality time with each gift.
- Young children don't care about price tags, so no need for crazy-fancy. Sean will toss the cheap AND the expensive gifts with equal vigor.
- Nobody ever likes getting clothes (unless it's a uniform or costume), so you might as well just let Mom open those.
- Kids are the easiest people in the world to make birthday cakes for. The youngest ones don't mind if certain details aren't exact (Percy, below, does not have a cowcatcher, for example). The older ones understand that if they complain too much about the details, Mom will feel less enthused about making the cake. They also know that it'll taste yummy anyway, details or no. :)
- Sometimes, the birthday kid does not want all the attention, and everybody needs to respect that. If the birthday song surprises the birthday kid and makes him get Pouty Face, you are allowed to think it's cute, but not allowed to try to make him enjoy the song.
- Naps are allowed. Encouraged, even.
- Even if the day ends with the Traditional Birthday Meltdown, the day was still successful. And something I learned last night--it's not necessarily the Birthday Kid who has the Traditional Birthday Meltdown (last night M handled the job for Sean).
- And last but not least--birthdays are such a sentimental time for us Mommies. I spent the whole day thinking "At this moment two years ago, I was . . . ." And then went and missed his actual birthday time, imagine that!
We have a nice rhythm to our year, now that I think about it. There's post-holidays-winter, then Spring and Birthday Season. Next comes SUMMER, with a trip to the beach awaiting us at the end. As things cool down, we look forward to co-op classes and Halloween, then My Birthday (!) and The Holidays. I like it.