Thursday, September 18, 2008

I'm Not Overcompensating

I sort of fell down with Little Miss's birthday in that I didn't think about it until about a week before her actual birthday. It was summer, and time just got away from me.

My husband is no help. When he was growing up, he never had birthdays celebrated at all. Well, I shouldn't say that, but he never had a birthday party. As in completely, totally nothing. His mom made him a birthday cake only a few times. He doesn't get the birthday thing, so I'm on my own.

For Mister Man, I figured out quite awhile ago what I was going to do. The trick was trying to find a time to do it. His birthday is in October. Looking back, I really didn't plan that out too well. I didn't get married in fall because, hello!, that's football season. Silly me, I didn't ensure that I wouldn't have a child in fall.

Birthday parties generally happen on weekends and usually on Saturdays. So let's run through my calendar this fall. Sept 13? NU football game. Sept 20? NU football game. Sept 27? Ok, actually I could do that day but it's so early in the school year and two weeks before his birthday. Nah. Oct 4? Husband's family reunion. Oct 11 (his actual birthday)? NU game. Oct 18? NU. Oct 25? In Florida. Nov 1? Ok, I could maybe do that although we get back from Florida on Oct 30 and Halloween is the next day and wow that would be tight. Nov 8? NU. Nov 15? Friend's wedding in Seattle. Nov 22? NU game. Nov 29? CARE Faire that I volunteer at and the Sat of Thanksgiving weekend. Dec 6? Ok, that's getting ridiculous.

So apparently the birthday is November 1. Was it this hard when we were growing up?

I remember my mom always throwing great parties for me. They were always at home (except for the one year I talked her into having it at Cheapskate -- the local roller rink), and we always had a ton of fun.

I think my favorite was when I turned 8 and had my first big sleepover. I got to invite seven other girls, and we all had our sleeping bags. Nowaways, we probably would (ok, at least in my area) have someone come in to do hair extensions and nails and makeup, but we did it all ourselves.

We had pizza for dinner, then we started on the requisite fun. Do you remember light as a feather stiff as a board? I don't think it worked for any of us, but we were 8, so what did we know? Then we spent hours making the prediction triangle things and asking questions of it. I actually even partly remember how to make the folded paper thing-a-ma-bob, but I can only get about five steps in. Someday I'll have to go back and relearn how to be an 8 year old girl.

From what I remember, we stayed up until past six in the morning. My poor mom was probably sitting on the steps the whole night watching over us and worried about us. Nonetheless, she had a lovely breakfast of pancakes waiting for us around 9 or so in a vain attempt to rouse us. Parents picked up all my friends by 10 or so, and I slept the rest of the day away.

When I think back on it, all my memories of birthday parties are the things that I did with my friends. It isn't the presents I got (or didn't get), and it isn't the glitz and glamour that I cared about -- nor did I have it. I can only hope that the wee ones have as happy a memories of their birthdays as I do.

And yes, I'll be the mom sitting on the steps in the middle of the night listening to the whispering and giggling and hearing my heart break as I realize that Mister Man and Little Miss are no longer wee ones.


Jeff September 18, 2008 at 10:43 AM  

That paper thingy is easy. Just start with a square piece and fold the corners into the middle until they meet, and then flip it over and do it again. Then you have to put messages in the flaps and number the outside of them. Hey, it works... I'm 8 again!

Cookie September 18, 2008 at 11:21 AM  

I know how you feel about birthday parties. It's amazing that our parents could make them look so easy.

Dawn@Embracing the Ordinary Life September 18, 2008 at 11:26 AM  

YOu said it never is the gifts..unless they are's the memories of what we did and who we did it with...what fun.

Melisa September 18, 2008 at 11:33 AM  

Great post! I also come from a long line of fun b-day parties, and have a hubby who never had them and never understood the trouble I went to in order to make our sons' parties memorable.

Your "prediction triangle" is known these days as a Cootie Catcher. I just did a google search for it and came up with tons of sites: you should have no problem. :) Make one for your hubby too! Could be fun! LOL

Weeksie50 September 18, 2008 at 12:21 PM  

That I what I remember too. Just being grouped with all my favorite people! Laughing and having a good time.. I don't really remember the presents or the themes..just the good times...

-Bridget September 18, 2008 at 4:31 PM  

I can't wait until my girls get to that age of the slumber parties and happy memories.

Mama's Losin' It September 18, 2008 at 4:47 PM  

Slumber parties were the BEST! I never got one, but they were even better at my friends houses anyways!!

Angie's Spot September 18, 2008 at 6:44 PM  

I got to have 1 slumber party as a kid and it was for my 10th bday (I think). I had 1 friend over and I remember us having a ball.

I'm trying so hard to create wonderful bday memories for my girls. I sometimes lose perspective on the magnitude of party fun that I create and need to remember it's quality not quantity that they'll remember.

Domestic Executive September 18, 2008 at 7:33 PM  

Thanks for stopping by my blog on the BATW flight to New Zealand. Glad you learned something new.

Interestingly for me it's not the childhood birthday party I remember most but my 18th which was held at my house with my parents there. We had grown up food, my dad showed a movie and they brought round coffee and cookies for people. I hated my friends for thinking my parents were cool for being such great hosts. Not exactly rock and roll but I love my parents all the same for making it memorable for me!

Michelle September 18, 2008 at 8:24 PM  

Jeff - See, when I was growing up, first we had to MAKE the paper into a square. I do need to try it out again though. Glad to know it wasn't just us girls doing it though.

Cookie - They really did, didn't they? And I hope that my wee ones think that it was easy when they grow up, too.

Dawn - But it's funny how important the gifts were growing up. Do you remember how crushed you were if you got a duplicate or something you didn't want?

Melisa - Thanks! I love the name Cootie Catcher, too. Very appropriate considering its primary use. I may have to look that up.

Weeksie50 - Welcome! It's all about the good times, whether it's as a child or today.

Bridget - Yeah, I'm sort of afraid of the slumber parties today. I've read some pretty scary things.

Mama's Losin' It - I loved slumber parties! And honestly for my mom, that was probably one of the easier parties to do. We entertained ourselves!

Michelle September 18, 2008 at 8:27 PM  

Angie - Yep, quality not quantity. Such an easy concept to forget. We're doing fun and easy this year for Mister Man with the making and rolling dough at the pizza restaurant though! Fingers crossed that he loves it!

Domestic Executive - Welcome! And definitely learned something new. The 18th birthday party sounds very cool. Sadly, I don't remember my 18th. I know I was in college then, but my birthday is right around Thanksgiving, so I could have been back at home for it. No idea. That's sort of sad, actually.

Tracy P. September 18, 2008 at 10:16 PM  

What a fun, sweet post! I love the birthday celebrations, and stress over them way too much. At your kids' ages especially, the "when" doesn't matter. My son's birthday is right around labor day weekend, so he will never have a party on his actual birthday. But no big deal--we've had it quite late most of the time, and he has just as much fun either way.

Thanks for coming to visit me at The Journey last week on my SITS day. I'm taking my rounds at a leisurely pace so I can enjoy peeking around!

Karen September 19, 2008 at 7:48 AM  

We have a summer birthday here and the poor kid gets overlooked all the time. We learned a while ago that dong a nice party every other year is better than doing something for the sake of doing something every year.

Michelle September 19, 2008 at 7:57 PM  

Tracy - Welcome! I'm glad to know that having it late isn't an issue. With Aug 1 for Little Miss, I'm debating doing her birthday party in June next year....

Karen - That's an idea, too, but somehow I have a feeling that neither of the wee ones would go for that theory. And honestly, I really do enjoy the birthday parties. The time just gets away from me periodically!

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