Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Seeking Advice I need some advice on how to deal with birthdays around here. On Saturday we have our first "real" birthday to celebrate! Peanut had a birthday two days after they arrived home, but that celebration was pretty low-key as the boys were already overwhelmed with "stuff". Saturday is Jellybean's birthday! YAY!

The problem? The boys don't really have a good concept of what "birthday" means. I've tried explaining it to them, but they don't really get the idea. They've never celebrated birthdays before and they've never really done anything separately before. If one got something, then they both got something.

I want Jellybean to have a great birthday. I want him to have presents and cake and people to sing Happy Birthday to him. I want him to have a fun day where he gets to play games and eat junk food and enjoy turning 6. But....I don't want Peanut to have a bad day. I don't want Peanut to think that somehow Jellybean is MORE special than he is. I don't want Peanut to be upset and cranky, taking some of the joy out of Jellybean's day.

How do I walk this line? How do I explain to Peanut that his day is coming, too...its just going to be a while?

Have any of you figured out a great way to handle the first birthday celebrations with older adopted kids who've never had birthday parties before? If so, please share your solutions!! And FAST - Saturday is coming up!!



Heather A. said...

I don't think I have any advice, but I'm going to be paying attention to any comments that you get because we're going to be dealing with this at the end of the month too.

Do you think it would help if Peanut got to be momma's special helper during the party, helped decorate the cake, tell people where to sit, or hand out goodie bags? That might help him feel a bit more special and part of the action.

Good Luck

Tasha said...

Hi, I have been following your blog for a time, my husband and I are in the process of our adoption of an infant under 12 months from Ethiopia.

I was reading about your birthday dilemma and although I don't have experience with this I thought I would share my thoughts.

Perhaps on the first birthdays celebrate with both boys, have them share the cake and presents etc.. after the first year of these type of birthdays you can discuss with them whether they want to have their own special day on their "birthday", probably with time your boys will see this is how others do "birthdays" and it will be easier than creating unintended hurt on the first birthday.

Hope this helps!

Jenny said...

I was thinking about this yesterday - what about celebrating a "1/2 birthday" for the non-birthday boy? He could get 1 small gift and his own special giant cupcake or something similar. I don't know, though. Hope you come up with something that works!


Rachel said...

That's definitely a hard one. Lillian's birthday was in August before she came home and then Micah and Jayden have birthdays a few days apart in November. We didn't want Lillian to feel left out so we ended up just having a big Welcome Home/Birthday Party for all three of them together. We sang happy birthday to all of them. I don't think any of them really "got" it at that point.

Lillian didn't understand the concept of birthdays until her teacher's birthday came and the class celebrated it. THEN Lillian got it! LOL! Now the kids have seen Mama's birthday and a few others so they understand that everyone has a birthday but they are not at the same time. We talk a lot about whose birthday is coming up next and what order they will be in. We also explain that the birthday is that person's special day but that they will have one too.

I liked the suggestion that you have a 1/2 birthday for Peanut. My parents did "un-birthdays" when my brother and I were little. The person whose "un-birthday" it was got a small present and then we talked a great deal about how that person's birthday was coming.

Let us know what you decide to do!

Nic and Megan Olson said...

wbWe haven't had to deal with this yet, but with our young children, we just try to include the non-birthday child in as much party/event prep as possible and make them the helper to show them that we are celebrating the person who is having the birthday...although, birthdays are never really big around here, just family.

I hope it goes well and I look forward to seeing great pictures of your cute little guys!

Laurel said...

Jacob celebrated his birthday in Ghana, a week before they came home (and after I came home). He had been told that birthdays are all about presents, but we explained that that is not the main focus at our house. So, for his birthday in Ghana, Papa let Jacob choose the birthday dinner meal, and had the girls make birthday cards for him. Jacob was disappointed in the lack of presents. But, Papa's birthday happened to be the very next day, and all Papa got was a candy bar and card from Mama (that I had left with the Guest House neighbors).

Ben turned 15 in June (the first sibling birthday for the new kids to celebrate). Ben played paintball with a group of friends, and then we celebrated with a cake and birthday cards from the family. (Ben did get a financial gift in the card, for the purchase of a bike.)

And, this week was Rachel's first American birthday. Hosanna baked her a cake. Papa and Mama bought her a few presents (a story book, a game, 2 videos), but put them all in 1 large gift bag so that the focus wasn't on how many presents she got. All of the siblings (9 living at home right now) gave her birthday cards. And we sang "Happy Birthday" before eating the cake.

Sarah and Jacob know that their birthdays will arrive in due time. So, we felt no need to give them presents or anything on Rachel's birthday.

At our house ... birthdays are a day to shower extra special love on the birthday person. But, at our house, love does not equal presents.