Monday, February 11, 2013

Half Birthdays are a Racket

So, my twins’ half birthday is coming up this Friday. Yes, I said “half” birthday. I don’t know how it is where you live, but apparently it’s a “thing” where I live. It’s more than just your kids being able to say they are now “four-and-a-half.” The kids’ pre-school teacher spoke of the half birthday earlier in the year, and since then, I sense there is a sort of obligation for parents to bring in cupcakes for the event. IMHO, half birthdays are a racket staged by cupcake bakers and candle makers—and, one I will not recognize.

I kind of feel like a jerk about it, because my kids have come home talking about the celebration of classmates’ half birthdays. But, here’s what I told them. “Do you remember your real birthday? Well, Mommy put a lot of effort into making the cake you wanted and giving you the most special day I possibly could. If you celebrate your half birthday, it makes your real birthday seem less special.”

They took it well and really didn’t seem that disappointed, so I decided to stick with it. I haven’t yet decided how to break it to the teachers. Hopefully, avoiding eye contact and acting like the frantic mother trying to hold a squirmy toddler, shove that day’s art projects in their bags, and bundle them up in their coats and hats while other parents anxiously wait their turn will be enough for me to avoid the conversation altogether.

It’s not that I can’t go to the store and find gluten-free, nut-free, sugar-free, taste-free cupcakes. It’s more about principle, and the fact that every time I turn around there is another holiday or birthday celebration. I want my kids to look forward to special events … if they are really special. The half birthday is not, and I’m not about to set a precedent I will have to one day wiggle out of. Am I being a jerk?

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