Our oldest turned 7 on January 1. I can hardly believe that she is 7. I’m pretty sure I’ve said that every year since she turned 1. Not that I couldn’t believe that she was 7. I didn’t say that every year. That wouldn’t have made any sense. But I’m pretty sure I said—I can’t believe she’s [insert appropriate age]. Because time passes too quickly and kids grow up before your very eyes and all of a sudden they’re 7 and you’re left like WHAT?!?
As an aside, Kid No. 1 believes that January 1 is the coolest birthday on the planet. If you ask her, she’ll tell you that all the New Year’s Eve fireworks that take place are in celebration of her birthday. This child doesn’t lack self confidence.
Anyway, it was her birthday, and my husband put the kibosh on throwing a giant birthday party because when I do that, we usually end up with almost 100 people at our house on New Year’s Day—and he just wasn’t in the mood. And last year when I tried to throw a small party and only invite a few of her friends from school, it turned out that everyone was traveling and only one kid came. And that made me feel sad (although Kid No. 1 didn’t seem to mind at all). So this year we said no party but that we’d continue our tradition of getting our nails done and going out to dinner to celebrate.
When Kid No. 1 turned 5, she was into everything girly—princesses, glitter, pink, dresses (the more formal, the better), makeup. I decided that as part of her present, we’d go get manicures and pedicures together, just her and me. Then, that night, we’d go to dinner just her and her dad and me. Pampering and then dinner with just mom and dad!
And we’ve continued that tradition every year since. We go to a fancy nail salon, and she gets to order a mocktail which is a mixture of sugary juices, several cherries, a little umbrella, all in a sugar-rimmed glass. She picks out her nail polish colors, and the nail technicians usually offer her a glittery overlay AND they pain designs on her nails! She’s in heaven! It’s fun to get to spend a little time with just her as we pamper ourselves and celebrate the day she was born.
That night, we head to a hibachi restaurant. Because who doesn’t want to watch their food cooked in towering flames on their birthday? She loves this place! We never go there except on birthdays, so it’s special. Plus, she gets a special birthday dessert, and everyone at the table sings to her as we shake jingle bells, which is really up her alley.
Kid No. 2 is a boy, so when he turned 5 we skipped manicures and pedicures, but we carried on the tradition of going to hibachi. He spent most of the dinner hiding under the table because he was “afraid” of the fire. But then he asked if we could go back next year. So maybe he liked it?
Kid No. 3 is only two years old, and she had trouble understanding why she didn’t get to participate in the birthday fun this year. Oh—and before you go thinking that we didn’t celebrate with the family, we did that, too. Kid No. 1 got to pick dinner on her actual birthday, and we all ate cupcakes and sang “Happy Birthday” to her. Anyway—I explained to Kid No. 3 that when she’s 5, I’ll take her for manicures and pedicures and that she’ll get to out to dinner with just mom and dad. Her response was to try to convince me that she IS 5.
So for the third year in a row, my biggest girl and I got our nails done while we sipped tropical drinks. Then that night we went and stuffed our faces with yummy Japanese food and celebrated the fact that seven years ago at 6:46 a.m., a little 7-pound, 2-ounce girl made us parents. And she’s been keeping us on our toes ever since!