Memories of my daughter’s childhood birthdays are something of a blur, to be honest, despite the fact that they are probably all captured on camera somewhere. I remember my eldest daughter’s (grandson’s mom) 5th and 7th, my middle daughter’s 2nd and 10th and my youngest daughter’s 6th, 10th and 11th most clearly and am quite proud of the fact that we’ve never resorted to a McDonald’s party (and I’m not sure if my daughters have ever even been to one?). We’ve made decorations and party favours, had pony rides home, dancing and a cinema to ourselves, outings with picnics (in November!) and dress-up, had pizza and cake and all the trimmings, teaparties, streamers, balloons and Mexican meals… with everything from only 2 or 3 friends to whole classes of 28 kids (who were good as gold!) – they say variety is the spice of life!
All my daughters’ birthdays are in the cooler seasons (January, March, November) and the only time we tried to have a party for my husband’s June birthday, it rained, so we were quite delighted that our grandson was born in July, so that he could have fun outdoor birthday parties – turns out a birthday in the summer holidays means he will never have his birthday in schooltime and so far, we’ve not managed to be in the country for it, either, as that’s when we’re usually at the seaside in France! Still, we’ve seen the evidence of barbecues, hot sunny weather so that the kids are naked and the icing on the cake melts, and of course they have stacks of fun with lots of children and adults milling around, sleepouts in the summer-house, water-sliding, trampolining and all the rest of it!
Now he’s 4, my grandson is very aware of gift-giving and spends much of the year perusing toy catalogues and muttering to himself which of the items could be a present from grandparents and godparents. He’s been into cars since he was a baby, that is, anything with wheels, so trains and so on, too. Considering what to get him for his birthday became a little difficult early on, as he soon accumulated various train sets and a multitude of cars and trucks and tractors and lorries of varying sizes… What DO you give a 4 year old these days without resorting to electronics and screens, battery-operated junk and so on? While he may not particularly thank his Nana, I have been determined to encourage his outdoor activities and his creativity, and don’t see the point in expensive things for children most of the time (if any are justified, you can usually borrow them). Plus we have a tradition that a book is always part of a present.
So…. this is the tissue box that is NOT a tissue box…! Inside, there are 6 different coloured silk scarves, about 90x90cm, that can be absolutely anything they want to be – grass, water, an Arab headdress, a prince’s cloak, a golden crown… popular in Waldorf kindergartens, they are intended to encourage creative play. I chose to package them like a magician’s string of knotted scarves, so that they can be pulled out of the box like magic!
The second gift is a giant parachute, designed to be held by a number of children around the edges and moved up and down while one or more of the children run underneath or are bounced about – since any number of kids hang around my daughter’s house, there are bound to be enough at any given time for this social game!
And the book this year is one of the Moomins books by Tove Jansson, written quite a long time ago, in 1945, originally in Finnish. I included the audiobook of some of the stories – ideally I should have recorded myself reading the book, but time constraints and weeks and weeks of having a sore throat put paid to that idea. Still, perhaps this energetic little boy will have some quiet downtime listening to the stories or having them read to him before bedtime….
Anyway, Happy Birthday Sevi! Have a lovely year of being 4, starting kindergarten and generally growing up big and strong and active, even if you are bound to get a few bumps and bangs on the way – maybe we’ll manage to be here for your next birthday!!