Roark is one of those unfortunate kids whose birthday falls within the week after Christmas. Actually, it’s on New Year’s Eve. When I was discussing with my doctor when I was going to be induced, I had two options: New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day. I have no shame in telling you that I based the decision of Roark’s birth date on my finances. MediaMerge had had a really profitable year in 2008, and we really needed the extra deduction. Even though the kid was just one day old, as far as the government was concerned, we could claim him for the whole year. So New Years Eve it was.
I did try and think about Roark when making this big decision as well, and rationalized that if you have to have a birthday the week after Christmas, why not on the day every one is already throwing a party?
Of course while I was pregnant with him, I made all kinds of promises about how I wasn’t going to skimp on his birthday celebrations just because he got handed a crummy date. After all, it wasn’t his fault that his birthday fell one week after God’s son’s, and he deserved as much hoopla made over him as we did his sister, right? (You thought for a second there I was going to say “God’s son” and not “sister” didn’t you?)
Of course new parents make all kinds of silly promises that they can’t keep. On his first birthday, I showed up to our family Christmas gathering with a birthday cake with Roark’s name on it and called that his party. I know…shameful. I did get a little better the next two years. I actually called some friends and brought a cake to Burger King. At least I wasn’t piggy-backing off the family Christmas party anymore. And while he’s young and probably really didn’t know the difference in the past, I knew he was getting gipped, and I swore that this year was going to be different.
I have come to accept that no one wants to come to a child’s birthday party on Dec. 31st. They want real parties, not bouncy houses or clowns, but booze and fireworks. So having a party on his actual birthday probably isn’t going to happen until he’s older. So this year we are going to try having a party later in January. I’ve already booked the date at Chuck E. Cheese, and he’s beside himself with excitement. This has caused some confusion for him, but I keep telling him that he’s just got to trust his mommy that it’s better this way.
That doesn’t mean we let his actual birthday go by unnoticed. Oh no…we celebrated from sun up until sun down.
We have a tradition in our house that when it’s somebody’s birthday, we start the morning off at Krispy Kreme. It’s how all birthdays should begin if you ask me. I wasn’t until I was loading this pictures onto the computer that I noticed Edie’s crazy shoe/sock combination. Jeggins + fuzzy striped socks + crocs = one stylin’ kid.
After Krispy Kreme, my mom dropped by and took Roark to Toys R Us. I always have the hardest time telling people what to buy him for his birthday when he just opened a crazy amount of presents the week before. In my heart, I want to tell people that he really needs clothes and underwear because he’s growing like a weed and I feel like we need to be a little sensible after so much excess. It’s probably best if I don’t answer that question for him.
So when my mom asked me what Roark wanted for his birthday, I told her that I honestly didn’t know, and it might be best to just let him go pick it out. So that’s what she did. It took him forever to decide what he wanted, but he finally decided on this: He has played with this silly toy more than anything else he got all Christmas. It combines two of his most favorite things: Power Rangers +Transformers = Marketing genius.
After his shopping trip, Edie and I met up with them at Red Robin…not because it’s got great food, but more importantly because they sing to you when it’s your birthday. When you’re four, that’s still really fun. It kind of bothered Roark that they didn’t sing the traditional “Happy Birthday” song, but he forgave them when he saw the sprinkles on the ice cream.
Next stop on Roark’s day of fun was the McWane Center where we met up with some friends. I didn’t get a group shot because the McWane Center was crazy crowded on New Year’s Eve, but I did manage to snap a few pics while he played in the bubbles.Yes, I made the shirt. You can find the applique design here. I was determined to do everything for him that I normally do for his sister, and that includes make him a special birthday shirt.After the McWane Center, we came home to finish our celebrating. To make the day a little more special, I let one of Roark’s buddies come home with us to spend the night. He thought this was a BIG deal because it was the first time that he’d ever had a sleep over. He’d seen his sister have friends spend the night tons of times, but this was the first time a friend came over just for him. He’d only been four for a day and already he was enjoying the new perks of being a big kid.
We ate dinner and then had more doughnuts. This time we did it right and put in some candles in one and then sang “Happy Birthday” in it’s proper form. Edie really got into it with some hand motions.I know I’ve admitted to not properly celebrating Roark’s birthday in the past, but there is one area that I have never skimped on in previous years. And that’s fireworks. Roark believes it’s not his birthday unless we blow up some stuff, and I wasn’t about to let him down this year on his big day. So after dinner, we all put on our coats and went outside to play with some fire.He takes his sparklers very seriously. It probably has something to do with all the warnings Ken gives the kids when he’s lighting them. Things like, “Don’t run around. Hold it straight out. Don’t move.” In other words, have as little fun as possible while holding fire on a stick. Roark was just doing exactly what his dad had told him to do.After fireworks, I declared it bedtime. I don’t know about the kids, but I was worn out! I know this isn’t the best picture to commemorate Roark’s first sleep over and that his buddy, Cade, looks kind of like a monkey because he’s trying to give himself rabbit ears, but the expression on Roark’s face makes my heart melt. He didn’t have to fake that smile.
He’d had a great day and for the first time, we had celebrated it properly. Ever since his sister’s birthday in November, he’s been asking me when it was going to be his birthday. He’d waited a month and a half for it to finally get here, and in the end, I think it was worth the wait.