Is there anything worse than a December birthday? Okay, sure, nuclear war and homelessness. But still, a December birthday is not only bad for the birthday-kid, it’s bad for the birthday-kid’s parents.
Brett Paesel writes over on Salon about the struggle of pulling off a party, year after year, for her 6-year-old son, born Dec. 10. In short, all of the obligations of getting from Halloween to New Year’s Day — all the costumes and parties and wrapping paper sell-a-thons, a turkey, travel to see family, more wrapping paper sell-a-thons (a problem when you have more than one kid and two different schools) — all of it keeps her from giving her little boy’s special day the attention that it needs. Mainly, she gives it no attention at all until … until the big day becomes the next day.
Then the scramble. Starting with getting kids to the party. Paesel writes:
By the time we contact Murphy’s friends only one is available, but he’s allergic to cats. We promise to lock up the cat, vacuum the whole house, turn the beds and open the windows. Then we start calling the outliers — random kids, ones with head lice and pink eye, anyone between the ages of 1 and 16. We could go as high as 18 and as low as 6 months. Gender is not important.
Things get worse.
Paesel is, as expected, getting tuned up over in the comments on Salon. There was a time when I also might have thought, “jeez, lady, what’s so hard about ordering a cake.”
Then I gave birth to Earl … on a mild December 8 evening. The boy is only 2 and, already, I find his birthday inconvenient and poorly timed. Not only is it right in the thick of the saturated October to January events calendar, but it’s one day before his father’s birthday — mercifully, his father is a grown man and the least likely person in the world to stomp out of the room and pout over being served Earl’s leftover birthday cake, half-burned candles bored into yesterday’s holes.
It’s also my December boy’s stupid luck that he’s my third kid. I started giving kid birthday parties nine years ago and sometime around year 5, I decided I was pretty much over it. Kids birthdays? Did I really ever give a rip?
This year, I did what I could with a Goodnight Gorilla cake, but there wasn’t much fanfare. Even his sisters have caught on to the fact that, being so close to Christmas, wouldn’t it be easier to go all out then? (Settle down, December birthdays, I reminded them they’re not supposed to say that — within earshot of the December brethren. I’ll never give a combo give, swearsies!)
I also swear that next year, and every subsequent year until the end of time, I will make his December birthday as special as the little guy himself is.
That is, if unlike Brett, I don’t forget his birthday. Which — let me hear you, December moms! — could happen.
Photo: Madeline Holler