Friday, November 14, 2008

Birthday Traditions

As my daughter's first birthday approached I contemplated what birthday traditions I wanted to instill in her childhood. My own childhood birthdays seem so long ago I can barely remember much about them other than there were presents, homemade cake, ice cream, and since I had so many siblings and there were cousins and grandparents close by, there was always lots of family to help celebrate. I think we also got to have our favorite meal on that day too. And does there need to be anything more to it than that? Probably not, but I did want to do something to mark the specialness of this first birthday and perhaps come up with some traditions that could follow for years to come.

Of course her proud Papa wanted to be sharing in all the festivities of the day so a vacation day from work was necessary. Our original plan was to take her to the zoo on her birthday but the weather was uncooperative. There were snowflakes coming down with the rain, not exactly a good day to go to the zoo. Two days later, the sun was shining and it was beautiful, a perfect day for the zoo, so her birthday was extended. But I will cover that in a different post. Forgoing the zoo for perhaps interior fun, we contemplated going to the Children's Museum, but in the end decided we would rather just enjoy her and her wonderment at wrapped presents and the subsequent unwrapped presents, in a leisurely day at home. It was raining with snowflakes after all. And what child wants to open toys only to be whisked away from them.

Her party with her nearby grandparents and a few close friends was to be on the weekend and she would have her homemade cake and ice cream then, but I wanted to make something special for her on her day. I decided on apple dumplings, since we had just had them at a fall festival. Although she enjoyed them at the festival, she was less enthusiastic about her birthday ones, although I enjoyed them very much. But maybe this is a tradition I can continue each year. And maybe next year she will gooble them up since they are so tasty. But if apple dumplings are not her thing, perhaps she will have a favorite dish that she will want on that day.

I also made her a birthday crown. This was after seeing numerous birthday crowns in catalogs and stores but deciding I could make one that I would like better and would cost less. I just had to pull out the sewing machine and dust it off a bit. I only had a vague idea of what I wanted to do when I started and it turned out totally different than I had pictured in my mind originally, but to me it was perfect. Of course, since she hates anything on her head (hat,hood, etc.), I could only ever get it on her for mere seconds at a time. Forget a picture! Good thing I saved my money. Too bad it won't fit her next year, but one of her dolls can be the eternal birthday princess. Since I am hoping she outgrows this aversion to a head covering, I think making her a birthday crown each year might become a new tradition.

So I think she has had a good birthday start with several things to make it special and magical.
1. A party with presents, homemade cake, ice cream, party guests
2. Special treatment all day with a special meal
3. A Birthday Princess Crown
4. A special outing

What are your special birthday memories and do you have any family birthday traditions?


Alyson (New England Living) said...

That crown is so cute! I wish I had some sewing skills.

I don't believe in a ton of fanfare on the little ones birthdays too. It looks like you guys did it right.

Cindy said...

Alyson ~ thanks. I can pretty much just sew straight seams. I have a sister who is an awesome sewer though. I wish she lived closer and could help me in person instead of just over the phone.

Sarah Laurence said...

Happy Birthday to your daughter! She looks so sweet. I'm sure she loved that beautiful crown. For little ones, quiet birthdays are best. I heard the rule of inviting the age plus one guest. Wow, that means I could have a huge birthday party!

My kids get to pick what we do/have for dinnner on their summer birthdays. They also usually have sleepover birthday parties with 3 close friends in our treehouse or a larger number in the house. For the party they always want delivery pizza and a Friendly's icecream cake. It's a junkfood day for a change. We usually rent 2 movies and let them stay up a bit later. My husband makes crepes for breakfast if they don't keep us up all night. The kids always have fun and we don't get much sleep. Success!

Cindy said...

Sarah ~ I think I'll come celebrate my birthday at your house :) I want a party in a treehouse and pizza and ice cream cake! Of course, using your formula I think you will have to build an addition to the tree house before I get there. But my birthday's in July so you should have time - LOL!

Bee said...

Cindy - I love your crown! Unless you want to keep it as a memento, I fancy the idea of putting a satin bottom on it and making into a fancy four-poster bed for a favorite stuffed animal.

As for traditions, my father always has pineapple upside-down cake and we usually have carrot cake . . . but my kids say what they want each year and it can wildly vary. Last year, my youngest had all of the children in her class -- and we rented the town hall and played old-fashioned games. My daughter wanted a tower of red velvet cupcakes. This year, who knows? It must be fun to be starting out with a clean slate!

Cindy said...

Bee ~ Oh I love your idea about the four poster bed. I always wanted one when I was a child.

I actually thought of making red velvet cake this year. Something about it just makes it special. I love the thought of old-fashioned games. It's nice that you let them guide you in their birthday celebrations. I'm sure that is what I will end up doing as well.