We are approaching the hallowed week of "birthday Christmas" in our house, that magical seven days where we celebrate the birthdays of my son and Christ. For a soon-to-be four year old, it's a blissful time, a sleepless time, a can't-hardly-stand-to-wait time.
But for parents, who are suddenly shopping for the two biggest days of the year for a child, it's a challenge. Instead of spacing out gifts that account for growing bodies and evolving tastes, I'm challenged to find things that might hold his attention for 360 more days.
It's helped that early on I established the "three gifts rule" - three gifts from the parents for birthdays and Christmas, and that I often include clothes or books in the mix. But then there's Santa. And sibling presents. And brainstorming ideas for the family who seem him only once or twice a year.
Because my little guy's birthday comes at Christmastime, I worry at times that he'll feel shorted - that somehow his day was lost in the shuffle of the season. So we stretch his birthday as much as we can, celebrating with treats at daycare and a special dinner (read: hot dogs) on his big day, and doing a family or friends celebration in January.
But, despite our planning, early shopping and limits on purchases, still the small mommy voice inside questions question whether I did enough. Will he care that mom and dad got him a lot of clothes since he just shot up a size overnight? That he's not getting many toys this year? That his "big boy" booster seat and Cars2 movie that he was getting for his birthday was pulled out during a stomach bug? That Santa's stash for him and his sister differ in the stocking? Do I add a toy? Repackage something that was for Christmas for his birthday instead? Let it be? Have I become one of those parents who worries about making sure we have equality in gift-giving, even though I know in my heart that my children are unique?
The truth is, I doubt I will hear many "no fair's" come Christmas day, or his birthday for that matter. My little guy is thrilled to open something, to enjoy his red velvet cupcakes (I've trained him well) and enjoy the magic of the moment with the people who love him most.