Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Tuesday Tip: Keep Birthdays Simple, Small and Fun

You may have noticed that my last “Tuesday Tip” was as much a confession of feeling overwhelmed and pressured by multiple life events (work, a trip to Ireland and four kids birthdays in a week, just to name a few!) as it was a suggestion to keep it simple when it comes to kids birthdays.… this week’s “tip” is an affirmation and reminder of that advice.

1.     Keep it simple.   Yesterday, our triplets turned three.  The night before, we arrived home from our adventures in Ireland.  As the sun rose on the third birthday of our trio of tots, our house was full of jet-lagged inhabitants, dirty laundry, strewn luggage and several stink bugs that unfortunately made themselves at home while we were away.  The fridge was empty and the entire scene was far removed from the idyllic awakening one would hope for as their children ushered in a new year.  You know what though?  None of that mattered.  All that mattered was that we were all home, all together and greeted our “Cubs” in their cribs with a rousing rendition of “Happy Birthday” that they joined in while literally jumping with joy.  Sometimes simply being together and being silly is the perfect gift.
2.     Less is more.  In thinking about our trio turning three, I fretted about what to get them, when I’d find time to go shopping,  and how I’d have the energy to wrap it all up upon our return from Ireland. So here’s what I did:  the week before we left, I stumbled upon some pajamas I’d gotten at Costco last spring in one of our hand-me-down bins.  I bought three little footballs and three cars at the checkout of Old Navy, where I’d gone to ensure the little fellas would have pants that fit while we were away.  I wrapped it all up before we left and decided that was that.  And they were thrilled.  They loved their new pjs and played with their new low-budget toys while happily chattering “This IS my birthday!  Me IS three now!”  It was all good.
3.   Family = Party.   I had also worried about how I’d pull together a party in the midst of the post-vacation mayhem. To address this dilemma, we decided that pizza and cake with my parents and my sister and her family would count as a party.  And it did.  Given the unseasonably warm weather, we opted for hot dogs on the grill instead of pizza but it was still simple, small and fun.

I suppose that’s really the heart of this Tuesday’s tip… your children are simple, small and fun and I think the key to eliminating the birthday stress that so many of us experience is to cater to their whims on their level… keep it simple, small and fun – just like them – and everyone is bound to have a Happy Birthday.