Here’s an interesting question you’ve probably never been asked before: Did you know it was possible to be bad at celebrating?
And then I had kids.
My children are awful at celebrating. Just terrible. Holidays, birthdays, anniversaries. They’re hopeless. They’re even bad at those faux holidays like National Talk Like A Pirate Day (you should hear their sorry excuse for a pirate accent).
I’m hoping it’s just their ages but it’s getting to the point that I’m slightly worried this may turn into a permanent part of their personalities.
Take this past Christmas, for example. First of all, I had to wake them up. A baby and a 3-year-old. I woke THEM up. The only day of the year their sleep-deprived mother would happily get up at 4 a.m. and they decide it’s the only day of the year they want to sleep in. And then, after every present they opened, they wanted to STOP and actually play with that gift instead of ripping into all the other brightly wrapped packages like demented honey badgers. You know, like the rest of us red-blooded Americans do with our presents.
Before that was our anti-climatic Halloween. After getting candy at maybe six houses, my oldest proclaims “ok, let’s go home now.” I mean, who does that? A tiny human dressed like a Viking riding a dinosaur apparently.
And don’t even get me started on Thanksgiving. Eight hours of cooking only to have both of them eat a roll in under three minutes and ask “can we have pie now?”
And those are the major events. They’re even worse at the holidays on the JV squad.
On St. Patrick’s Day, they didn’t want to leave the house. My red-headed children. On the holiest day of the year for redheads. Those selfish un-fun offspring of mine also refused to wear the tiny leprechaun outfits I bought them even AFTER I explained that Mommy and Daddy might be able to score a free beer at a pub if they would just play along.
Valentine’s Day? Forget it. Same with Easter. Last July, when my youngest turned one, it’s like she didn’t even KNOW it was her birthday. And neither could care less about the fact their mommy and daddy will be celebrating eight years of marriage this month without any attempted murder charges on either of their records (no small feat, thank you very much).
It’s not entirely their fault, I suppose. I mean, children are perpetually living in the present and feel they deserve cake at any given moment. So, it’s understandable they just don’t “get” the big deal about special days. (Whereas us adults are caught in a horrific loop living between the past and the future, skipping the present entirely, and feel guilty eating cake even if we do deserve it. Which is probably why we do love holidays and birthdays so much. It forces us to act like kids for a day.)
Plus, in all fairness, my youngest just figured out was an elbow was so the intricacies of societal celebrations might be a bit above her paygrade.
But next weekend will be the real test. My oldest will be turning 4-years-old. The first birthday he’ll probably remember and the first that he gets to have opinions on.
So far, the outlook isn’t great seeing as how I’m currently more excited than he is. Here is how our conversation about his birthday plans went:
Me: What do you want for your birthday, baby?
Him: Oh, um, how about some presents?
Me: Sure. Yeah. Any specific ones?
Him: No. Just some presents.
Me: Awesome. That’s really helpful. What kind of cake do you want?
Him: Oh, um, how about carrots?
Me: Like, carrot cake?
Me: So, you want carrots instead of a birthday cake?
Him: No. I want cake.
Me: Well, that clears everything up. Anything else?
Him: I want a birthday hat.
Me: I WILL GET YOU A THOUSAND BIRTHDAY HATS.
I’m still determined though to make it the best birthday ever. Because even if he may not get the big deal, I do. His life deserves to be celebrated in a big, big way. Because he is amazing. Because he is smart and wonderful and kind and funny. Because the world is a better place with him in it. Because the beginning of his life marked one of the greatest days of my life. And because every day since that first day has only gotten better.
Now, does anyone know where I can buy a thousand birthday hats?