Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Third Birthday Memories

So. Last week. Jack turns three. I’m feeling “guilty” for not giving him a “good party”. We’re in a strange new town (strange in more ways than one), with very few friends, all of them new. The mountain passes are full of snow and ice, so, even if our family was well (several recent hospitalizations) enough to brave them, the drive is dangerous.

Add to all that, “Dad” has a broken leg, and is still in a lot of pain from the surgery. So, we spend the day just “us”. It’s the first time since Frank was born that there hasn’t been at least family and a few close friends getting together for birthdays. Of course, everyone lived close (one to forty miles.)

I’m actually in the frozen food aisle the day before the birthday, on the phone with my Mom, trying to decide if I should buy a “store-bought” cake. I’ve NEVER done that for a family party before… except maybe two ice-cream cakes, which are kinda tough to make (for me), so, I justified them… but just a regular, plain-Jane cake from the bakery? Never! Anyway, I’m trying to decide this, with my Mom, on the phone, at the store, frozen food aisle, and I spontaneously start crying. I’m tired. Actually, I'm exhausted. And now I’m feeling guilty because Frank’s third birthday party (probably the one I’m most proud of putting together) was TOTALLY COOL… and right up a three-year-old’s alley.

Elmo’s World: Bubbles

That was the theme for the party. The invites and gift bags were handmade (by Frank and I). There were LOTS of bubbles – soap bubbles, balloon bubbles, packaging bubbles (for shipping / stomping on), bubbles, bubbles, bubbles! This thing was planned out! Ever seen “Elmo’s World” on Seasame Street? We EVEN had an appearances by an expert, "The Bubble Lady" (a school-teacher friend talking about bubbles when we wash our hands) and our own “Mr. Noodle” (aka Dad, dressed in the garb and acting goofy out the back sliding glass door “window”, where the kids were all sitting and could watch. Oh yeah, there was even face-painting.

Let me just say this… I had an agenda and time-line for the party! Who does that? For a party? For a three-year old? Me! That’s who! And given the chance, I would have done it again for Jack this year.

You may wonder why I’m telling you all this? All that time. All that effort. It was ONLY two years ago, so, I just ask Frank “do you remember you’re third birthday party?


What?!?! He has to remember, just HAS TO!

I prompt him… “you know, Elmo’s World?

He gets a goofy grin and nods.


What do you remember?

“Opening presents!”

Hmmpfh! All that time and planning and just two years later, all he can remember is presents? After the event, I was so proud because he said his favorite part of the day was “spending time with my friends and family”. What happened to that? What happened to our Elmo theme? Nothing. All he remembers is presents. :P

What do YOU remember about your third birthday?

Have you done a party for a child that you were especially proud of? Do they still remember it?

What do you think children remember about birthdays? What makes for good holiday celebrations? Traditions? Right now I’m thinking about Birthday’s. What are some of your favorite traditions from when you were young? Do you plan to or have you continued them with your kids?

I want to know. Tell me all about those special birthday celebrations. Let me hear it!



Cricket said...

Personally I only had one Birthday party as a kid and that was when I was 10. It was a slumber party with 3 of my friends. We just didn't have the money for parties and being the youngest of 7 with a single parent I somehow understood and never asked.

With my daughter, she just turned 4 and this is the first outside of family birthday party she has had. We did Build A Bear and it was fun. Traditionally she celebrates with tons of family for the better part of a week and gets more presents than any kid needs given when her birthday falls. For the last 2 years she has also done Disneyland for a week as part of her birthday celebration. So even if we have not done "parties" with friends she has never gone without the sense of celebrating her day.

If you ask her what she remembers about her birthdays she will tell you about all of her Princess friends!

Anonymous said...

So I don't remember much about birthday except that I went fishing every year with Dad which I loved. I also remember durning your and Ivans bdays that you got to tell everyone else what to do. Oh and you opened a preasant every hour. Thats about it. For our kids. They get to pick what they want for dinner, and one major gift from me and Willie. I am not good with the birthday party thing. Also I try to make it special but not to out of the usual day because once I became an adult birthdays became really really disappointing for me because they didn't seem as speacial any more. Dont want the kids to have that same thing happen.

trisha too said...

I remember the only store-bought cake that ever made it's way to any of our birthdays (Snoopy), and my uncle and soon-to-be aunt bringing me my first Barbie. Which I still have. And I'm 40.

And yes, you seriously can have one! Honestly, I only need eight of them! :)

E-mail me your address, and the color you like.

:) Heather said...

With my birthday the day before Halloween, we always put it off by a day and just celebrated in costume with Cake and Pizza. I don't remember if the cakes were store bought or not! My favorite memories are just flashes of friends and costumes until I get to 6th grade which was my first "CoEd" with Friends party.

As for my Daughter's BDay, I'm sure we did something for her 3rd, but I honestly don't remember!!! Her First was over kill with about 40 friends and family, 2nd was smaller. For her 4th we did "Bounce U" and 5th was "Build a Bear" and then took her to Disneyland. She has always had a store bought cake becuase I am baking enept. This year she wanted to bake dad a cake for his BDay so we made cupcakes and put candy letters on them to spell out "Happy Birthday Daddy".

THe other thing is that with the kids Bdays being only 7 days apart, we are opting to do a "joint" family/ BFF party on the weekend between, and once he is 5 then he gets the weekend before for his "special party" and she gets the weekend after.