Birthdays And The Night You Were Born!!!
Birthdays And The Night You Were Born!!!
For many years, Birthdays in our home were very simple, simple. We invited one friend and her parent or parents and my daughter Alicia’s dearly beloved Grandma who she called “Gramma” who lived “down the road and around the corner.” For a long time this was enough and for me I was more than pleased that this could be enough. We always had a birthday cake (which was either chocolate or ice cream) and as sugary food was rarely seen in our house this was the biggest treat) and very simple party food.
Anticipation of her Birthday was the big thing for Alicia. The anticipation she felt of a friend coming, that it was HER day and that the events of HER day would be different from the other days. For many weeks this anticipation was enjoyed as much as the actual Birthday itself. Almost better than the blowing out of the candles ceremony and opening of the presents after breakfast.
Alicia thought that her birthday was “the cake ceremony”, not the whole day. On one of her birthdays she asked, “When is my Birthday, Mum?” When I answered with “its today” that did not compute with her. “No MUUUUM, when?” “It’s right now love”.
No it’s not, when IS IT?” Eventually the penny dropped when she said, “When do we have the CAKE?” For her, the birthday was the cake, the candles and the singing of Happy Birthday. Not the fussing, the organizing, the people, the extra cleaning. Not the preparing for the day, the games, the take home bags, the outdoing of other peoples parties. That was it, that was all that was needed and she was a real happy vegemite with the cake ceremony … and so was I.
We always planned The Cake Event for the morning. People would say to us “isn’t this a bit early in the day to have a party?” And it wasn’t … it is never too early in the day to have a party and especially if you are a child to have to wait and wait after all the anticipation that has been experienced the waiting to start a party can overshadow the fun and excitement of it all. Plus, I got to have plenty of time to relax afterwards with Alicia and enjoy the new toys and presents and to talk about and experience the pleasure of the events of the day. Reliving the morning, talking about it over and over again, can fill in the afternoon and the rest of the day until bedtime.
Alicia never knew parties could be a big event with lots of games and lots of people until she was quite a bit older. When we had these small event birthdays we had less dramas less upsets and more fun. The smaller things gave the most pleasure and were way less stressful.
One year we lashed out and had a party at a shop that did fairy parties with a minimum of 10 children, plus a few mums and dads. Most of the activities were rushed and in a cramped space and not much party food was eaten. Accidents happened and upsets appeared over misunderstandings and the cake was not the one Alicia had seen arrive and this caused a big upset and teasing. Every child but one got upset.
On the way home Alicia burst into tears, again. She had received a lot of presents but not any that could actually “play” with and because of the structure of the party she was not able to unwrap the presents in front of the children who had given them to her. After the expense, the organizing, the extra travel she would have been happier with a few special friends, a cake ceremony and just one toy she could have played with. We have never had a large party since and we have not since had a hugely structured party or gone to a venue for an event. And we always unwrap the presents when everyone has arrived.
We sit in a circle and the birthday presents are passed and given to the birthday person one at a time by the child who brought them and then unwrapped and passed around for everyone to look at and check out. This is a huge success as every one gets to see who gave what and every present is handled and talked about by everyone. The giver of the present is thanked and gets as much as a thrill at the present receiver. This present ceremony is one of the first things we do and usually starts off our parties.
One of our best and simpler and easier Birthdays when Alicia was older was soon after we moved from the city. We were renting a “beach house”. We invited one friend from the city and one new friend from the country. They both stayed for most of the day. It was more of an “all day visit” party. Yes, we had a cake, a small amount of party food and the present opening ceremony. Alicia felt she was the birthday girl for the whole day. She had the whole day to play with her new friend and to enjoy her city friend whom she hadn’t seen for a while.
The day included a really pleasant walk along the beach, which was “down the road and around the corner” from where we lived and for Alicia this was the best part of the day and surprisingly enough this was the event that she had anticipated the most.
The next year we had moved again and we were renting a “farm house”. This home was on a sheep farm, with large rooms and sheep in the back yard. At this party we introduced a few games and threw a Frisbee around the back yard …, which was really a paddock and chased the sheep! This party was a huge success. Guests were more than happy to travel the longer distance to the farm and the mums sat on the back verandah and watched the party from a distance, breathed in the fresh farm air and watched what it is that sheep do.
All in all there is a lead up to birthdays. The planning of the day, the deciding who will come and what we will eat and most importantly what sort of Cake shall we make. Plus there is one more important activity that we do on the night before a birthday….
I tell my daughters the story of their birth. Well as much of it as I possibly can remember. And they are still in awe of how they were born, because that is really what is their birthday. As Alicia still reminds me, birthdays are really anniversaries of the day they were born.
With Alicia, I tell her how I worked right up to the day before she was born. How I worked right up to her birth in a three story house where I was climbing up and down the stairs and at the end of the day I just fitted behind the steering wheel of my small green Mazda 121. As I was driving home my mantra was “please, please wait until I get home, please, please, wait until I get home”. Alicia loves to hear this. The story continues with how I was a week overdue and I really was worried that contractions would start as I was driving home (and as she was my first born I had no idea what contractions would feel like and what sort of pain to expect, I just knew I did not want them to happen on the freeway driving home in the rush hour.
And there had been a standing joke that the next day was free in our diaries and that would be a good day for her to be born. When I had attended the pre-natal classes one of the things I had learnt was that giving birth was like running in a marathon and to eat marathon type food in the early stages of labor. Well when I arrived home the first thing I said was “I think I’ll make a large dish of pasta and cheese… and then I think I’ll go to bed.”
Well I did all that and climbed into bed and BINGO in the early hours of the morning contractions woke me up and about 12 hours later Alicia was born, at 6.23 pm on the 23rd of June. Catchy numbers!!! When I tell Alicia her birthday story, I of course, sometimes go into more details like what getting to the hospital was like, how the then hubby read newspapers until the last minute and how adorable and good looking she was when she eventually “squiggled out” after a natural birth where I did a lot of squatting.
I tell this story every year the night before her birthday and embellish different parts, answer her questions and find that the bond between us increases every time. I do this also for my second daughter, Katrina-Lee and her story is quite different as she was born in quite a rush, very quickly and in what seemed like one long contraction that took three hours and there was she was in the world with us. I was dropped off at the car park as her dad thought all labors were the same and he had 12 hours of reading newspapers to go.
Both my daughters love this part of their Birthday celebrations and sometimes ask me to tell them their birth story when it is not even their birthday, just to hear the wonder of it all. Doing this has really enhanced the mother/daughter bond that we have over all these years.
So if you want a simple, easy, country style birthday here are some tips.
Step By Step
1/ When your child is young, one or two invited guests plus parents can be enough for a party, plus a beloved relative or two.
2/ Building up the anticipation and reliving the event can be enjoyed over many days and weeks.
3/ A Cake and Candle Ceremony may be all that’s needed.
4/ Having the party in the morning can relieve the tension of waiting and waiting.
5/ Opening the presents. Have the party guests and birthday child sit in a circle. Have the guests one at a time hand the present they have brought to the birthday child who opens the present and then passes it around the circle. This can be a great way to start the party.
6/ Even when your child is older, smaller and little effort can still work, for example, a walk on the beach, a trip to a special playground or watching a movie.
7/ Tell your child the story of the day or night they were born.
This article is written by Margaret Saunders
Bedtime And Toilet Training Expert
Bedtime And Toilet Training Solutions.
To receive your free report
“How To Get Your Child To Go To Bed Easily
and Quickly And Toilet Trained In Just One Day”
To receive your FREE report “How To Get Your Child To Go To Bed
Quickly And Easily And Toilet Trained In Just One Day”
Phone 24 hour recorded message on (03) 9513 1760
Or Visit Margaret’s website www.BedtimeAndToiletTrainingSolutions.com.au