As with every post I write, the final post is a product of several drafts and rewrites. Bumble routinely reminds me that all I need to do is write from the heart and let the words flow but I am a Virgo and an incurable perfectionist at times (well, most of the time) and this weeks’ #WASO post has been no different. I started out with one angle and soon it had taken a whole new direction and was in need of a new title.
Birthdays in the hive need managing very carefully. Buzzbee generally copes really well with his own and other people’s birthdays and quite often will be one of the better behaved children at a party (as long as there is a disco) but for Beeswax it is much more difficult. So many factors come into play for him when it comes to his own and other people’s birthdays (mainly Buzzbee’s and Mine). The boys have always revelled in conspiring with me to create surprises for Bumble or other family members and especially enjoy it if they know we are going to play a practical joke on one of them (usually my dad or Bumble playing one on my mum).
So, what about the boys? How do they handle their own birthdays? If I am honest I have always kind of considered them be pretty age appropriate in their responses to their birthdays.
Beeswax prefers his birthdays to be low-key or for the celebrations to be in-direct (we cannot sing ‘happy birthday’, school however don’t give him the choice) Like any child/young man he always supplies us with a birthday wish list that is a mile long and is always very meticulous in making sure that there are items on the list for everyone’s budget and if anything he one quirk is that he colour codes it for order of preference (I never said he stopped needing to be in control). Waxy has never wanted a party and actually this year was the first time he suggested doing anything. As for the actual day of his birthday. Well, in some ways his reactions can be a little bizarre and he is far more relaxed if he knows he has to go to school on his birthday(although I have recently been told by a Non-AP that their son began to act like this after his 9th Birthday and is now about to turn 17 ). Yes he loves receiving presents and he is like a Tasmanian \devil when it comes to unwrapping presents but once he has opened them, he puts them in his room as quickly as possible and then demands to know what time we are leaving. Originally we thought that the taking his gifts to his room were because of a fear that they would be taken from him but over the years we have learnt that this is not the case and it is now playfully called “cringe unwrapping”. Basically he wants the attention but in reality it is too much for him to cope with and the intimacy of sharing with a family his special day is almost unbearable for him (not enough to cancel it though. Apparently it is his constitutional right to have birthday presents and large chocolate cakes every year!!). Beeswax does find Buzzbee’s birthday tough and over the years we have learnt how to best support him so that Buzz enjoys his day and Waxy doesn’t end up in a state of shame because he has lost control. To his credit he has always been an absolute star at Buzz’s birthday parties and really throws himself into the big brother role entertaining Buzz’s friends (the girls REALLY love him!)
Now Buzzbee and birthdays is almost the polar opposite of Beeswax. Here is a little boy who started off not understanding about birthdays and having no idea about unwrapping presents or blowing out candles on a birthday cake (Just thinking about that day at his FC’s when we first got to share his birthday with him makes me was to cry). He has since them made up for lost time and is now the party king. Very much like Beeswax, Buzzbee has to feel he is in control of his birthday list but he also makes a pretty dynamic party planner (although his need to have every little detail just right probably comes a little from me. Hey I said earlier I am a Virgo!). Buzzbee loves celebrating his birthday and loves to have themes to his parties and because his birthday always falls in school holidays we have always thrown his party a couple of weeks earlier in our local village hall. Over the past few years we have had several invasions – dinosaurs (of course), aliens and time lord enemies and his birthday cakes have always fitted in with his theme. Despite Buzzbee struggling with his peer relationships he has remained popular with them and they have always attended (I am pretty sure most of the mum’s given half the chance would decline but know they would only be hurting their own kids). His last birthday was the first time he had not wanted to celebrate his birthday with a party but instead wanted to take his one of his very special friends and his parents bowling. I didn’t get away with the birthday cake though, in fact this year I had to make two because the first was devoured by 32 small mouth in a matter of a few minutes at school and so there was nothing actually left to share with his friend on his actual birthday.
There is only one birthday in the house that every year ends up in tears and often I am not talking about the boys.
My birthday!!!! Beeswax does not cope well with my birthday at all and although I know he isn’t consciously setting out to disrupt and ruin the day. That is exactly what happens and for a couple of years I quite honestly resented the fact that everyone else got to celebrate their birthdays the way they would like and were allowed to enjoy their day. At one point it got to the stage where Bumble would bring me my card and presents to open in the bedroom just so that I could open the presents without some kind of drama happening.
Now some of our friends don’t understand why I find it so hard not being able to celebrate my birthday they way I would like and last year on my birthday Buzzbee in his attempt to cheer me up announced that he couldn’t understand why I would want to celebrate a day when I came into the world ‘Butt Naked’ when I don’t even like showing my legs in shorts. Once I had stopped nearly choking laughing at his comment (very true by the way) I explained to him that because I grew up in a big family and birthdays were always made a big fuss of. It was ‘your special day’ and it was hard for me to get used to not having that one day when I am a little pampered. He just shrugged his shoulders and said ‘fair enough’ and walked off.
Over the years we have gradually integrated my birthday with an activity that both boys really enjoy and will distract them and my birthday has been downgraded to a family daytrip with no mention of birthday until the boys are in bed. This year however will be different for me. The boys return to school on my birthday and I am actually feel really quite sad about that. I know that my birthday is stressful but while they are home with me I still have the best birthday present I will ever get. THEM! and spending the day without them will feel, well, strange.
Anyone reading this last part can be forgiven for thinking that I sound so spoilt, self-absorbed and selfish. I am a mother and should be concentrating on their happiness rather than needing just a sliver of one day a year to be about ME. We discussed birthdays during our home-study and I really thought I was prepared for children not accepting my birthday and that it wouldn’t matter one bit because I would have the boys and I longed for nothing more than seeing the excitement on my children’s faces on their birthday and I thought that would be enough. But, reality has turned out to be so much harder.
So for now we will continue riding the ‘birthday rollercoaster’ and each getting from it a different level of excitement and enjoyment (and tears)