The Toddler will soon become a preschooler. He shall henceforth be known as The Child.
A mid-January birthday is tough to rally for. We all have holidays hangovers, whether or not we drink. In our immediate family, we are also recovering from three December birthdays, and our wedding anniversary. And the Swedelock and I now host an open house on New Year’s Day. Will the celebrations ever END?
I’ll admit it. I’ve enjoyed having a kid too young to understand birthdays. We have had quiet celebrations the past two years, and I’ve loved them. Mazel tov to you if you’ve marked the early birthdays with games and coordinated gift bags for participants. Bonus points for themes. But I just haven’t the constitution.
Let me be clear: Two full days before The Child’s birthday, I start getting weepy. I post to Facebook, “Hey, everybody! This time [last year, two years ago] I began having contractions that brought our son into the world!” Then I get all sentimental for the neighbor friends we had dinner with that night. I get teary-eyed about my love for my doula. I remember all the kind ways The Swedelock supported me–with no sleep and no birthing hormones–over those two days. The smoothie he made that I couldn’t eat. The bath he drew that I ultimately refused for its offense of looking “too blue.”
I’m pretty into the birth day thing. I do like marking it. I guess I just needed my kid to be old enough to appreciate and remember gestures before I made them.
In the spirit of marking more of our lives, we are stealing an idea, and creating a birthday elf. Birthday fairy? Birthday mythical creature from the animated film My Neighbor Totoro?
Totoro was a gift from friends who were living in Japan when The Child was born. Our beloved friends are A+ creative parents; we know they’ll approve of our annual use of this forest spirit.
Each morning, The Child is waking up to find the birthday fairy suggesting a new activity.
The idea this year is to establish the tradition, have fun, and sneak in a few activities to teach about kindness. Small things, like: Make a picture for Daddy. It took The Child four days to establish the pattern. Now he’s bursting out of his room each morning, looking to read that day’s activity.
Sidenote: The day I tried to improvise to make a picture for Daddy was an absolute disaster. I think we both cried. There is no picture, only tear-stained construction paper.
I’m sad to leave The Swedelock for a few days to play birthday fairy alone. I fly later this week for my aunt’s memorial service and funeral. I wish I could hear her chuckle when I say that I am pretending that she is the birthday fairy. That chuckle would let me know she thought I was full of cr*p (<-she would not use this word), and that she adored me. Period.
Man, I hope that’s what The Child gets out of this. Not only that he understands celebration, and kindness. But also that, even when can’t handle making a picture for Daddy, that he is adored.