Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Birthday Gauntlet

This week, we will celebrate Wiggle's first birthday. I hate to sound cliche, but I really can't believe it's already been a year. More on that line for the actual birthday.

In the meantime, I will kvetch about my severe lack of foresight in pregnancy timing. Wiggle's, my, and C's birthdays are within 10 days of each other, and then one week later, we hit Valentine's Day. As problems go, I know this is pretty lame, but I still find it so annoying. I am not a big celebration kind of person, but I do believe in marking off important dates and holidays, because otherwise time just marches on and you never take time out to notice the marching.

Wiggle's birthday will be relatively simple since he doesn't even know what a birthday is. A special dinner, C will make a cake, we will try blowing out a candle, and one gift-gift with one or two books to unwrap. He will have a good time, we will document it with photos, there will be skyping to the various relatives. No fuss, no muss. Well, actually, there will probably be tons of "muss" as I plan to let him feed himself his cake. But nothing a bath and a vacuum can't fix.
For C's and my birthdays, things are more difficult. We traditionally cook something nice, usually fish, for dinner, have a nice bottle of wine, open presents. Nice enough, but it seems like a version of most of our nights now. We often have a pretty nice dinner (if I do say so myself), we have a glass of wine a couple of nights a week, we watch a movie, or a show we've been looking forward to, or we read or talk for a little bit. C has been working like crazy trying to get finished with his dissertation, so he usually turns in by 9:30 or 10:00, and we can't guarantee he won't do that on a birthday evening. He has less control over his sleepiness than the general population.

Maybe we'll go out to dinner for one of our birthdays? Maybe a nice dessert in addition to the cooked dinner? (We rarely make or eat dessert.)

I think part of what I'm missing is the idea that we can plan for something different or special. I mean, we can, but if we are at home, and Wiggle is having trouble sleeping, our special night suddenly becomes like every other night; I can't control that. It doesn't bother me much of the time, but sometimes the cyclical nature of my days gets to me. This is an aspect of life I had trouble with even before Wiggle. I often daydreamed about taking a time-out. Time when the rest of the world would stop, while I caught up. Most of the time this catching up wouldn't even be with actual tasks, just processing things, deciding what I wanted, etc. That's the time I would read the paper, have my morning coffee, settle in to an activity before launching into it. Of course, if I spent the time I spend daydreaming about my time-stopper actually doing things, I might not need a time-stopper.

Plus, now it looks like the gifts I ordered for Wiggle may be a day late, which smarts quite a bit. I mean, the presents aren't really that important, except as part of the ritual of the birthday. If we do the cake one day and the presents the next, the ritual has been interrupted and the presents gain importance as actual presents. I guess I can "edit" the memory with pictures. Photograph Wiggle eating cake on his birthday, opening presents the next and report it as one event. Of course, now I've told you my plan, so I willed be forced to kill you. Or I could just edit my blog post for posterity; yeah, that's probably what I'll do.


  1. LOL! Definitely edit the blog posts for posterity! I can't wait to see the boy eat cake! My present for him will be late; I didn't get to UPS on Saturday but I figure this year I can get by with it. On the plus side, your gift should arrive tomorrow, but don't open it until Saturday! :) And Chris's will come on time for his b'day. Happy Birthday!

  2. p.s. - my word verification for my comment was "messes", I'm not kidding!