Saturday, December 10, 2011

Enough

In which Going Green Mama raises the white flag...

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.

5 comments:

Lisa @ Granola Catholic said...

We do the 3 gifts for Christmas thing here, but as for Birthdays I established early on a present or party rule. My kids must pick if they want a party with friends or a present for their Birthday. If they chose a present then they do get cake and ice cream and immediate family at home (our families live too far away to join us for birthday cake). So far my children have chosen to have the party. But my oldest will be 14 so we will have to see what happens this year coming up.

Green Bean said...

Ha! We have a birthday and Christmas thing also celebrated within a few days of each other. It is really really hard! Last year, we opted to celebrate my son's birthday in October - worked great though we didn't repeat it this year.

I'm feeling the same way as you though. Well, I'm feeling okay on the present front from mom and dad. But of course my kids went and asked Santa for something last week that was NOT on their list. And here, Id' forgotten that Santa would be giving them any gifts at all. Ho hum.

Anonymous said...

My youngest of three children was born on the 19th. We always tended to put up the tree and Christmas decorations later so tradition has become not to put up the tree before her birthday. We may have picked it out before hand, though not always sometimes we go out on the 20th. We leave the tree up until Jan through the Ephipany. My daughter will be 17 this next week and we still celebrate in the same manner. She says she has never felt shorted with the exception of when she was younger. She rarely had her birthday celebrated at school since they are normally on break! CLM

Betsy (Eco-Novice) said...

This may seem heretical to some, but I come from a family with lots of kids, and we did not always celebrate birthdays on the actual day. There was an acknowledgement on the actual day, but then we celebrated usually on a Sunday that worked for the family calendar. For Nov/ Dec birthdays, we usually celebrated the half-birthday, which happened in the summer, to avoid the birthday getting lost in the Christmas festivities. Could you do a mini-celebration on his actual birthday, but gifts (at least from you) and maybe a party on the half-birthday?

Nancy Crowley said...

I've always found it difficult - 2 birthdays right before Christmas. The kids get over it but it just seems like a month of presents from aunts, uncles, grandparents, etc. By the time Christmas comes it's overload. Never did the half birthday thing because I knew they'd feel "shorted" on their special day. They seem to have grown up pretty well adjusted and happy so it was probably a lot of worry and guilt for no good reason. Not surprisingly...

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