Monday, September 26, 2011

Tuesday Tip: The Birthday Reality Check

It's hard to believe that October is almost upon us.  It's even harder to believe that that in the next two weeks, our princess will turn five, our triplets will turn three and friendly Finnegan, our loyal lab has a birthday too.  

Our October is jam-packed.  To add to the insanity (oops, did I say that?  I meant festivity!), we also celebrate our anniversary in October and this year, will be spending a portion of these notable days in Ireland.  I know it's crazy but we are taking our five fair-skinned, freckle-faced tykes to the land of our origins in the midst of all this birthday bedlam and back to school mayhem.

So, what's a gal to do?  Truth be told, I do kind of feel like my head is spinning and I'm not quite sure how to pack a family of seven for ten days overseas... when I did the math and arrived at 70 pairs of underwear, I mentally shut down and decided to focus on birthdays instead.  

Four of our five tots share a birthday week and since three of them share not only their date of birth but also have identical DNA, making everyone feel special is always a bit of a trick.  This year, I've decided to follow the advice of one of my friend's Moms.  She recently told me that her Mom approached birthdays with common sense and candor -- according to her Mom, a birthday is an important date on the calendar but not the only date to make a fuss, to let someone be a prince or princess for a day.  From what I gather, her Mom was a pragmatist with a great sense of humor and a grounded sense of reality... all traits that I fear we sometime lose in today's quest for creating those perfect birthday memories.

All too often we seem to fret about where to hold the party, what to put in the goody bag, how many kids to invite, how to bake the perfect cake... the list goes on and on.  Unless, of course, you decide to just say no.  To decide that goody bags are unnecessary, kids aren't cake critics and the only thing that matters is a hearty dose of fun, love and sure, a gift or two as well.

I recently found myself getting caught up in all of this; after all, it's easier for me to make lists and strive for perfection than it is to pack all that underwear!  But really, who needs all this pressure for birthday? Isn't it supposed to be fun?  With this in mind, I ordered a few gifts from Amazon that I have wrapped and ready to take to Ireland for our princess and I have a few more ready for the triplets when we return.  I haven't sent invitations or planned parties... and I'm not sure that I will.  At five years old, Ciara would like to celebrate with her friends but at three, the triplets are still making friends and certainly won't hold it against me (I hope!) if we don't ring in their third year with a bonanza at Tumblebugs.

The moral of the story?  Birthdays are special days and should absolutely be celebrated in a big way.  But, what's big to a tiny tot may not be big to you... some time together, some stuff to unwrap and a messy cupcake will probably do the trick.  I'll give it a whirl and let you know how it works out... and, stay tuned for a recap of our adventures in Ireland... birthday and all!


Tragic Sandwich said...

It's been a while since I've traveled overseas with gifts, and luggage screening technology has changed a lot, but you might want to be prepared to unwrap those gifts at the airport (hopefully the new technology means you won't have to, though).

Also, they do laundry in Ireland. Are you staying with family or in a hotel? If the former, you can probably use their machines partway through your visit. If the latter, plan on spending some extra money at the hotel to have your laundry done--and then you can pack less underwear.

As for birthdays, my parents went all-out, but they did so on a budget. Cake, ice cream, and a game or two, and kids will have a great time. And if this birthday isn't the most amazing one yet for all concerned, that's fine--the trip will add its own excitement. Have a wonderful time!

patty said...

Have a great time in Ireland, can't wait to hear your stories