I wish I was a kid in my family when I was a kid.
Wait. That doesn't quite make sense. But you know what I mean.
I don't remember having any birthday traditions growing up. So when we started to have children and celebrate birthdays, I really wanted to establish traditions that our kids could look forward to and find comfort in year after year.
I think it's safe to say that we've made up some pretty fun traditions.
Tommy had a great birthday.
His birthday fell on a Tuesday this year. On the Sunday evening before his birthday, he had a family dinner with the menu of his choice: pizza, greek salad, and apples. In lieu of cake, he requested strawberry ice cream. He was very clear on the fact that he wanted ice cream for his party, but cake on his actual birthday. Okay buddy. You got it.
So he got to celebrate his birthday a few days early surrounded by some of his favorite people: his cousins.
One tradition for the last four years has been for us to make his birthday cake together. I have pictures of almost-2 year old Tommy licking frosting and helping me to mix the batter. By next year he could probably make the whole thing himself.
This year he wrote out the exact specifications of what he wanted in a cake: Lemon cake with vanilla frosting. Strawberries on top. Sprinkles. Round. Two layers. Big.
I tweaked his specs a bit to fit my idea of what our family would need in a birthday cake. (ie: not too big). Since the cake was eaten on his actual birthday, and it was just the four of us, I just made a half cake. And if you only have half a cake, how else would you decorate it but as a lemon slice?
Another tradition: Birthday cereal! Our family doesn't normally eat cereal: not out of any strict code of good nutrition, but because it's messy and it doesn't fill the kids up for more than one hour. So it's a very special event to get to pick out birthday cereal. Tommy strayed from his usual choice of Lucky Charms and chose Trix. I have to admit that I've never actually had Trix before. They tasted like a cross between Kix and Jolly Ranchers.
He also got a lot of thoughtful birthday presents:
The Iron Giant because it's a tradition to get the boys a classic hardcover book for birthdays and Christmas; and because we read an excerpt of the story once and he loved it so much we had to keep reading the same excerpt every night for a week.
A book about origami, because he loves paper crafting so much. It's the perfect level for a kid to follow the directions by themselves.
The movie Aristocats because it's his favorite. I think he likes it for its swingin' music. We rented it from the library a while ago and kept it for a long time because he liked it so much. Ever since then he's been asking to get it from the library again and again. Since I knew we were getting it for his birthday, I kept making excuses like, "Oops, it looks someone already checked it out! Oh well." Hee hee.
A microscope, because he's one science-lovin' kid. He's always talking about germs and wanting to know what things look like "teeny-tiny". It's by far his favorite birthday gift. He learned how to use it himself and for the past two days has been sticking everything he can find under the lens.
In the evening we had a family dinner of Tommy's choice (cheese pinwheels) followed by birthday cake. Then we tucked one seriously tired and happy six year old into bed.