Somehow my kids have ended up with three birthdays this year.
Being mid-December babies, birthday parties are a bit difficult. December is very tricky for birthday parties - you have to schedule around your own family/work/friends parties and year-end events, plus everyone else's committments, and also make sure you don't set up anything on the same weekend as the Wiggles concerts. I learned this the hard way...
Not counting the one-year-old, all-friends-and-family, thank-goodness-we-made-it-past-the-baby-months barbecue bash, the first party I did for them was when they turned three. I invited all their daycare friends, had no RSVP's - until I finally, timidly, phoned a couple of the mums I knew better than the others, and got their confirmations. But on the day only 2 kids showed up for the party, 2 were a no-show, and another two thankfully dropped in later in the afternoon (after the Wiggles concert) (which I really appreciated by the way - not sure I would have done the same thing, it's no mean feat to take three-year-olds into town for a two-hour Wiggles concert and then go straight to another event).
Let me tell you Pass the Parcel is even more painful than usual when 4 kids are taking turns to unwrap 15 layers of paper...
After that traumatic experience (for me that is - the kids had fun), I didn't do a party for their 4-year-old birthday but just had my cousin and her kids round for lunch and then sent the girls to daycare the Monday after with cakes and lolly-bags. They were lovely as ever and enjoyed their day but I know they were a little disappointed afterwards that they didn't get a party like their friends.
Over the last two years they have been to lots of birthday parties, and it was just a given that they would have one for their fifth birthday. They have been looking forward to it and asking me when it is coming basically since January. All the daycare kids have grown very close, and this year being their last there, all the parents have made an effort to get to everyone's birthday party this year. So this year, wanting to give the girls a good party with lots of their friends, I did it two weeks early on the last weekend in November, and happily we got a big attendance and the girls had a ball.
They know why they had their party in November, but it was all still a bit confusing, as in their minds they have been juggling the facts and timelines and associations around their real birthday, their birthday party, turning five, school orientation days, three friends' birthday parties, their great-grandfather's 90th birthday, going on our holiday, my work kids' Christmas party, their daycare Christmas party, a daycare "graduation" barbecue (cancelled due to bad weather), a Greek community Christmas party, when they turn five vs when they start school, and through all these events, when they get presents and for what occasion.
So I admit I made an unnecessary error this year: on the day of their birthday party we gave them a present in the morning, because it seemed fun at the time, and to get the birthday party atmosphere started, though it was really not needed, as they were headed to a party with 24 kids where they received heaps of gorgeous gifts. I ended up feeling extravagant and silly and probably just added to the confusion around birthday party vs birthday. The gift wasn't anything expensive - we have spent a bit less on Christmas gifts this year (GFC and all that), so have ended up with lots of little bitty gifts, nothing too huge and dazzling. I have really bought too much so it was easy to rationalise giving them a couple of little things on their birthday party day, but the minute I did it I felt wrong and guilty about it, like I am definitely spoiling my kids.
Because of course, I "have to" give them a gift on their actual birthday too, as on that day they won't get any actual gifts otherwise. (Definitely should have held back the gift I gave them on their party day - not that the money was a lot for both gifts but it's the principle - spoiling, spoiling!)
So tomorrow (I should say today as it's now 1:00am) is their actual birthday, when they actually turn five. I have explained many times that there will not be another party, and we won't be having anyone over either as it's a Monday and the whole thing is just too awkward. Their grandparents visited them yesterday and gave them their birthday presents.... and they'll get a present from us in the morning.
Also because it's so exciting to turn five and there is a bit of a thing at daycare that kids bring a cake on their birthday to share, I made a birthday cake to take with them to daycare for afternoon tea - PLUS another cake to have with a birthday song and candles for just us four in the evening.
It's the longest most drawn-out birthday celebration ever... Next year we have got to get back on track to ONE birthday celebration, and ONE present from their parents. I feel like a rich idiot woman giving her darlings too many treats...
But I think I really wanted them to have a special birthday this year, and have their "turn" after going to so many parties, and to recognise the real milestone the kids feel, about turning five.
Happy birthdays, A and M !
Sorry Mummy is such a silly billy.