It’s hard to believe, but Clara turned 7 yesterday. We’ve been working a lot lately on teaching her to be grateful for what she has, so I want her to get used to the idea of not having a birthday party every year. Last year was her first big birthday party, at Pump it Up. Every other year has been a small party at home (or Double Dave’s the year I had a two week old at home and couldn’t entertain the thought of having guests in my house), but I wanted her to know that even that is not something she should expect every year. I think that having a party every few years would make them that much more special to her.
So awhile back, I broached the subject of not having a party with her. It was not received well. Which made me all the more determined to get this entitlement mindset out of her. I asked her to hear me out and gave her my ideas of what we could do instead and she eventually was enthusiastically all in. I think at first she thought no party meant no special day for her. And I’m not that cold-hearted. My intent isn’t to make her feel like she is unloved or not worthy of celebration. I wanted to celebrate her; just in a different way. Our day included several things that we don’t normally do, so that made the day extra special for her.
I woke up at about 4:00 a.m. just giddy. I couldn’t wait for our day to start! I seriously couldn’t sleep and only dozed off a couple of times for a few minutes before Robert came into our room at 6:30. And because having a day of celebration run smoothly and according to plan wouldn’t be much fun, Chris woke up sick with a cold, so we brought the party to our bed. Robert got Clara a birthday Barbie. We’ve officially lifted the Barbie ban this year. She had one other Barbie that she got as a party favor several years ago and recently started asking for them. I always said that I wasn’t against Barbie per se, but that I believed she wasn’t age appropriate for very young girls and we would revisit the decision to have Barbies at our house as she got older. Chris took a little more convincing but mainly because he doesn’t want little pieces lying around. So welcome to our home Happy Birthday Barbie! May you stay modestly clothed and may your hair remain intact.
About the only other thing she said she wanted was a pink Christmas tree for her room. Grandma and Grandpa made her wish come true and got her a tree with all the trimmings.
She got a little sewing machine and lots of book sets from Bia and Pawpaw.
And as you can see, she was thrilled with her gift from us. She just looked at it at first, trying to figure out what it was. She thought it was a watch. We told her to turn it over and then she knew exactly what it was.
Her very own waterproof, shockproof, crushproof camera! And then she thought it was cool. We’re actually not a big fan of getting kids electronics. (Our kids will probably be some of the only ones in their generation that didn’t have a leap pad.) That said, of all the electronics out there that young kids are getting, a camera is one that we could get behind. She’s had the little v-tech one that takes horrible pictures since she was three and she still carries that thing around taking pictures. This will also be a good lesson in taking care of things. She knows it’s a real camera and that it will be taken away if she isn’t careful with it. I’m hoping this gets her creative juices flowing and I can’t wait to see the world through her lens.
She took a few pictures and then wasted no time trimming her Christmas tree.
Chris wasn’t running a fever, so he took some Day-quil and put on his game face and we were out the door on our fun filled family day. First stop was Panera Bread for breakfast.
And then on to the mall. This was the idea that got Clara on board with my non-party idea. She’s wanted a Rudolph from Build a Bear since she first saw him a year or two ago. In the end, she decided to make Clarice and Robert made Rudolph. You get to put a little heart inside your stuffed animal and here Robert was instructed to hold his heart tight in both hands, close his eyes and make a wish. So cute.
After they built their reindeer we went to to see Wreck it Ralph, although you can’t tell from the glare in the picture. It was really cute and we all liked it. Robert made it through the whole movie even! It probably helped that there was a bit of racing involved. And popcorn in his lap. At first, my plan was for one of us to take Clara by herself while Robert napped, but she wouldn’t hear of it because she wanted all of us to go together.
We went to have a cupcake across the street from the theater when the movie let out. Since I was full of popcorn and Chris was sick, only the kids got one. They wanted the candy cane ones and I should’ve known that was a mistake, but I let them both get one anyway. Robert liked his at first, but then got a mouthful of candy cane frosting and it was a bit much. We got him another, much safer vanilla cupcake. So maybe cupcakes right after a full belly of movie popcorn wasn’t such a good idea. They only ate a small bit before they were done. And Chris had had about enough fun for the day at this point. He was such a good sport all day, but it was almost 1:00 and his meds had worn off. So we headed home for naps.
Clara got to pick dinner which we knew meant Chinese at her favorite spot. All of the ladies were so sweet to her. They put 7 fortune cookies on a plate, stuck a candle in the middle and we sang Happy Birthday to her and she got her meal free.
Initially, our evening plans were to go to Zoo Lights at the Houston Zoo, but I didn’t want to go all the way down there with the kids by myself. I talked Clara into going just the two of us to walk around Market Street. I knew she wouldn’t remember the big Christmas tree since she hadn’t been since Robert was a newborn and I figured she would enjoy walking around with all of the Christmas lights and decorations.
Clara got a smoothie at Jamba Juice and one more special treat from Bath and Body Works (lip gloss and a mirror) since our evening hadn’t gone as planned and she was being such a good sport about it. We walked around for about 45 minutes and then called it a night.
On our way home, I asked her what her favorite part of her birthday was. She sweetly responded, “Spending time with my family.” Either she’s good and was telling me what she thought I wanted to hear, or this girl gets it. I was so proud of the way she handled herself when Chris was sick. I know she must have been disappointed when we had to alter plans because of it. I mean, I was too, but she bucked up and made the best of the day and had a wonderful time. As it turns out, not having a party with friends isn’t the end of the world after all