Amelia turns 3 next month. I'm having some anxiety about this. The old me is sitting on one shoulder saying "Just give in to the easier party with the bakery-purchased cake I normally purchase".. and the new me is saying "you can make a cake from scratch and she'll be thrilled with it as long as she has some friends to share it with"..
Birthdays have kind of gotten out of hand in our family. I won't lie and say it's not my fault either. Desire to keep up with the other families and not let my kids down really plays a big part (all in my head, of course). Luckily, Grace has gotten to the age where she's got fairly grand ideas but on a smaller scale (last year she took two close friends to Build-a-Bear and then out to lunch). Still not the least expensive birthday but certainly easy to do.
Then of course there is the family celebrations. Sometimes multiplied by two since we have family we can't celebrate with on the day of. All in all though, very overkill. It's hard not to though when you consider it's the birth of your baby that you want to celebrate! As a mom, those are the most important days in my life! I want to shout it from the rooftops and behave as though I'm the only mom who has ever had this great accomplishment. Lately though, all the goody bags and donuts and cupcakes and small toys that get broken or lost (with a ton of tears on the side) plus 3 or 4 school birthdays a month between the two older kids and I'm just disillusioned by it all.
Getting the girls on board with the 'less is more' concept is hard and it's my own fault. After all, they wouldn't know was 'more' was like if we hadn't been going overboard since birth. For the record, Chris has always been against the overkill.
Anyway, so as we head into what I call "birthday season" (Amelia in March, Chris in April, Grace in May and Cate in June) it makes me realize what a season of gluttony it is. When you factor in Halloween, Christmas, Valentines' Day, and Easter the treats just don't stop. It's not even special anymore. Maybe it shouldn't be, because then you think of food as being the reason for these special occasions, but the focus should NOT be on food. It should be on that persons birthday, or spending time with family. Unfortunately in our society, food always seems to come hand in hand.
So for now my game plan is to bake our cakes, etc at home and do real food for any birthday celebrations. Grace is in love with the idea of cake pops, but we discussed making them at home from scratch instead of mixes. I think it'll be a great way for all of us to learn how to make these celebrations more special, without feeling like their sacrificing.
I think heading into it my main goal is to keep them fun and focused on the reason for the celebrations in the first place.
Stay tuned for more birthday posts as we come closer to planning.