09 December 2008

After after and The Birthday Wombat

After all of the Thanksgiving sick-sick-sick it's taken me quite a while to get back into the swing of things, only to have The Wombat's 2nd birthday swoop in (and me to acquire a low-grade cold/sinus thing, which I'm trying to ignore).

[Side note: Between my family and The Scientist's family we have birthdays in October (1), November (2), December (2 - plus Christmas), January (4), February (0 - I cheated with this one, but there is Valentine's Day), March (2), April (2), and May (2). Almost all of these are birthdays we buy presents for. Is it any wonder we get to summer and feel totally broke?]

We had invited family & a few friends to The Wombat's party but several people couldn't come because of previous commitments. The party was the day after The Wombat's actual birthday and he had three different present-opening sessions, one at home the morning of his birthday (mini Autmoblox 3-pack from us, a harmonica from The Monkey, and a garbage truck toy from his cousins), one at my parents' house the afternoon of his birthday (light up sleepy turtle from the in-laws, a book, and a DVD to share with his brother), and at his party. Plus he brought cookies to school on Monday and was the birthday Line Leader, a coveted position for a younger brother.

This was definitely the first time The Wombat really understood presents and the concept of "birthday party" and that all this stuff was (mostly) for him. For days before the party he would talk about "Wombat's party" and who was coming. He got very into ripping off the paper from the presents and would study each gift once he unwrapped it, playing with it for a while and exploring it fully before moving on to the next one.

The from-a-can orange sweet rolls were a big hit for his birthday breakfast and the chocolate cupcakes (decorated to look like dirt in honor of his farm theme - yes, really, dirt) and Chocolate Blackout Cake (not served to the kids because of the cup of coffee in the recipe - will have to ask The Scientist, what happens to caffeine when baked) were a big hit at the party. The Wombat put the entire cupcake in his mouth.

We do birthdays pretty low key. There's usually lots of food (this year it was mac & cheese from scratch with really good cheese, Costco-bought soup, hot dogs for the kids, veggie tray, chips & guac, and the aforementioned cake, cupcakes, & optional icecream, plus kid and adult beverages - yes, I serve over 21's alcohol at my kids' parties), maybe one activity (putting stickers on paper was a big hit with the 3-and-unders at The Wombat's party), present opening, and hanging out. That's it. No pony rides. No bounce house (maybe someday). The party favors were that the kids got to each take home one of the toy tractors I used to decorate the cake. The "theme" is very loose, usually encompassing the invitations, cake decorations, and maybe a few other things (farm stickers & the giveaway tractors). This year we used napkins, plates, and bowls that I had left over from other events. The invitations were even recycled, left over from The Monkey's farm birthday (also his 2nd birthday - not really on purpose, they both just got really into farm stuff, animals, and Old MacDonald at the same age).

It sounds like I'm bragging on our thriftiness, and maybe I am, but I just keep thinking about how even with all the economizing (both for monetary and philosophical reasons), The Wombat got lots of presents that he loves and we had a great time. The $5 harmonica from his big brother was just as popular as the $35 rocket ship, which was his most expensive present. Would he have liked a $350 toy even more? Maybe for a little while (especially if it was one of those ride-on electric jeeps you see in the FAO Schwartz catalog) but in the long run it would probably get broken and for now, he loves his play-doh and stickers and doesn't know any different.

It often seems to take a lot less than we parents think it does to make our kids happy.


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home