Thursday, 22 March 2012

On Birthdays

I have so much to say on this little blog, but not enough time right now. Though I am in the home stretch of being done with this extra dealy-o I've got, and then...WATCH OUT.

It will be all rambling all the time.

Or some of the time.

And hopefully there will be pictures. My camera literally has a fine layer of dust on it at the moment.

But I quickly wanted to do a poll of all three people who check in here from time to time and ask what are your birthday traditions? Yesterday was Dan's 31st birthday, and I like to make birthdays special for him. Rather than have him eat his regular 6:30 a.m. bowl of cold cereal in front of Spongebob Squarepants on Nickelodean for Kids, I made him a hot breakfast of bacon, eggs, fresh bread, and coffee and then we actually had a conversation instead of the usual morning grumbling that happens around here.

Dan is not huge on big birthday celebrations and he prefers eating a home-cooked meal. The small birthday worked out in my favour this year because I COMPLETELY forgot to invite friends in a timely manner (aka I remembered on Tuesday) but he was happy as a clam just the two of us, so I made spaghetti bolognese, caesar salad, and garlic bread. One of his absolute favourite meals, and oh man, it was good. Especially the garlic bread. I have no idea why, but I don't think I've made garlic bread since we moved here. We couldn't remember the last time we'd eaten it, at any rate.

I always think a homemade cake is a really special way to end the day, and for Dan the only cake that should ever pass his lips is a chocolate cake and so that's what I made. It is absolutely enormous so if anyone wants to come over for cake, feel free.

In terms of gift giving, Dan and I come from two different ends of the spectrum: Dan grew up giving and receiving very practical gifts, whereas I am wildly imaginative and I never give somebody something they need. I always prefer to give them something they will want.

When we were in Vienna this year, on that particularly freezing first day, our noses were running like leaky taps. This prompted Dan to become more insistent that his idea to carry around a cloth handkerchief was a good one. Let me repeat: my thirty year-old husband wants to carry around an old man hanky. At that moment I became very concerned that Dan was unawares that carrying around a snotty piece of fabric would reduce his sex-appeal by 10,000 points. I decided on that cold Viennese street that he was getting some sort of hip, sexy birthday present he'd never think to buy himself but which would serve as a reminder that he is a young man in his prime and not an octogenarian sitting in an easy chair honking his nose into a gross hanky THAT HIS WIFE WILL HAVE TO LAUNDER.

So I squirreled away my francs, had some unbelievable research help from a tech-savvy friend, and on Monday I went out and got him the iPad 3.

When he opened it he was absolutely gobsmacked and speechless, but then he worked his way up to giddy merriment as he danced around and wondered over and over if it was for real. It felt wonderful to have been able to give him that and get that sort of reaction out of him.

For me, that's what birthdays are all about and the reason I started to think about our birthday traditions is because I want to create some special ones for our family once the baby comes along. Of course each birthday celebration will be specific to what each individual prefers (For example, I *must* eat it in a restaurant on my birthday. I don't want to eat at home.) but I like the idea of always having a homemade cake, or maybe waking the birthday girl or boy up with a cupcake to start the day, as a homey way to let the person know that on this day you were born and because of that, you've made a difference.

That you are important, you deserve something frivolous, and you get always get to pick the flavour of the cake.

So tell me Internet, what birthday traditions do you celebrate (or wish you celebrated) that leave you feeling extra special?


CherylfromSaskatchewan said...

As a birthday sucked. Christmas Eve just is not a good time.
So, for our kids - we let them choose the meal. In or out - either was ok. And they got to choose their cake too...and we had some fun choices! Chocolate of one variey or another was most popular. Daughter asked for a marble cake one year and she got it - yellow and chocolate all swirled together, and iced and covered in a layer of marbles!! She loved it!!

Anonymous said...

I'm sure more then 3 people read this!! A happy belated birthday to Dan!! I am also a "must" eat in a restaurant kind of birthday girl, but now that my kids are older I let them choose. Often their birthday parties don't fall on their actual birthday so on that one day I try to make them feel extra special. This year Kate didn't want a cake, but timbits, so that's what we had for dessert! Also found that the first few years didn't matter as much what the tradition was, but as they get older it definitely matters more.
Good luck with it all!!

mom said...

I just like to be spoiled :-) as long as I don't have to cook and clean up after the meal, then I like eating at home. So glad Dan liked his gift!

Ais said...

Hmmm....I don't suppose I have any real birthday traditions that I follow! I do love eating out, but I blow my money on that all the time anyways haha :)

Caitie said...

Cheryl - December birthdays can be so hard, especially Christmas ones! I loved the detail of covering the marble cake in marbles :-)

Jana - But of course! Not every person may even like or want cake! And Timbits, smart girl that Kate ;-) Man I really wish I had a box of honey dips...

Mom - that's why eating at a restaurant is better! No clean-up for anyone, haha!

Ais - I hear you, though we don't eat out as much over here as we used to in Canada. I do miss a White Spot Triple 'O' burger, for sure. In fact, go get one this weekend and think of your deprived sister who has Swiss cheese to eat ;-)