Birthdays look different during the pandemic for sure. I am ecstatic about this. With two kids under 10, most of my Saturdays were spent at some gross indoor playground watching children vomit into the ball pit and then roll around in it with their twenty closest friends. I am happy to spend that time in bed rather than panic wrapping some cheap plastic crap from my “toy stash” and hoping that it will be sufficient to not make me look like a badmom. I share the exact same sentiments regarding children’s sporting events. I may have elected to not tell my children that soccer and basketball are back on. I am going to let them figure it out. We aren’t doing that again unless they beg.
But there is a downside to this glorious freedom. It is the moment your child’s birthday arrives and you have to make them feel special in the absence of a celebration. No relatives, no friends, no party. Fortunately for me, Baby Bird’s teacher chose her actual birthday for the class Valentine’s party and I played it up to her as if it were the real deal, but she is getting older, and I am pretty sure she suspects that I was overselling that.
So, I usually just go to my aforementioned “toy stash” to get them something for their birthday. For the men in the audience, let me explain “toy stash”. It is something all women have hidden in their attic or their closet or under a bed. It is usually adjacent to their other “present stash”. It is what we keep on hand when a friend at the office has a birthday, or when you forget to get a dollar for the Tooth Fairy. It usually consists of a variety of generic junk that is cute but bought on closeout. It is not thoughtful. It is not personalized. It is not that kind of gift.
You might think that it is a jerk move to get my kid a present out of this stash but I have good reasoning, I swear. Usually she has a party and gets more junk than she can reasonably play with and she doesn’t care what I bought her anyway. But not this year. Now it is all on me. I have to bring it on the present front. I was trying to be practical and fun. I did some research and actually thought about her gift this year. I wanted to get her a tiny reading nook for her bedroom. It would help her to work on her reading skills and be something just for her. Unfortunately, spatial relationships are not my strong suit… perhaps this is why I am not a surgeon. Apparently, I measured wrongly for the space in her room and this is what we got….
It is so large in fact that the only room it will fit in is our great room and it takes up all the space. I didn’t have the heart to tell her that we would have to wait till spring to put it up outside, so I guess I am living with this monstrosity in my living room until further notice.
But wait, that’s not all folks. My children love it and insist on leaving it up in the living room. Last night my 8 year old spun my 7 year old in it until she was dizzy and then she vomited all over the floor. Twice. While I was cleaning up the vomit, they got back in it to spin some more. I think I have created a vomit comet in my own living room. My husband is upset, not because it is in the living room and not because they are spinning it, but because the connectors don’t really lend themselves to spinning. He has now ordered an extra part off of amazon so that they can “spin it better.”
Don’t mind me… I will be over here stocking up on cleaning supplies.