Dec 4 2014
When I was pregnant with my second child last year, I had three wishes for her birth (aside from the whole “healthy baby” thing): I wanted to have a VBAC, I did not want to be in the hospital over Shabbat, and I didn’t want my two kids to have the same birthday.
Even before I knew they were both going to be the same gender, I knew this last wish was risky. After some reproductive difficulties over the previous year, my husband and I were thrilled to find out on the day before Passover that we were expecting our second child. If you’re a wine drinker like me, taking a pregnancy test the day before the first seder is just par for the course–which is why I had done the exact same thing three years earlier. In my personal life cycle, a positive pregnancy test the day before Passover means a baby on Hanukkah. Read the rest of this entry →
Oct 29 2014
For my son’s 10th birthday we decided to go all out. We arranged a private showing at the planetarium. We rented a nearby community building for cake and festivities afterwards. The theater holds 60 people, so we decided to invite his entire class along with our family and friends.
The graphic designer in my office went to town designing a beautiful invitation based on the show “Cosmos,” since that’s what our son Joey enjoys watching. I had them printed and wrote each of the 24 kids’ names in his class on envelopes for Joey to pass out.
I expected that we wouldn’t get a full response. I’ve been a mom for 10 years and I’m used to the lack of RSVPing…but I wasn’t prepared for how bad it would actually be. I got four RSVPs. FOUR! Three of them were from the moms who I know personally in the class. Read the rest of this entry →
Jun 3 2013
“Partying all night” now means the yearly ritual where my husband, my son, and I open his birthday gifts after the last cranky guest has left for the evening. (This year, my night-owl daughter may well join us.) Hey, it’s the closest thing we Jewish families have to Christmas.
Amid fallen streamers and crumpled napkins, we paw at tissue paper to discover sets of Legos, puzzles that beep mysteriously, rickety railroad sets. With delight, Josh and Sam extract the toys, even ones we already have (in their view, there’s no such thing as too many Imperial Star Destroyers) and squeeze them into the mounds of crap climbing every inch of our wall space. When they move on to the next gift I quietly salvage the packaging and pocket the gift receipt, mapping out my return route for Monday. If it doesn’t have a gift receipt, I’m even more determined to try. Refund or bust! Read the rest of this entry →
Dec 27 2012
We’ve made some pretty lovely budget-friendly birthday parties in our day. For my older son’s 3rd birthday party we celebrated him reaching the “age of education” by decorating kippot and tzedakah boxes and doing Aleph Bet Yoga. For the baby’s 2nd birthday we did an all-out Elmo party that cost just $25.
But our schedules have been jam-packed these days, and poverty be damned, I was totally resigned to throwing money at the birthday party problem this year. Read the rest of this entry →
Dec 24 2012
My beautiful Little Bird recently had her first birthday. In preparation for her big day, I decided to plan a decent sized party at a restaurant. As a photographer, I also decided to have a friend take some photos to commemorate the day.
Ok, so you are probably thinking, “Why the hell would you want to spend money on a photographer for a first birthday?” Or for that matter, why pay for a photographer to document other important events in your little one’s new life, besides the obvious newborn shoot and maybe 1-year photo shoot. But I can tell you, I have shot my fair share of brit milahs, baby namings, baby showers, and first birthdays and it is nice to be able to look back and remember those moments. Not having to be the one behind the camera or relying on a friend or family member for the photos makes it even better. Read the rest of this entry →
Nov 6 2012
As I was planning my daughter’s 6th birthday, I had to ask myself why so many of us continue to throw big parties complete with an enormous pile of presents. I recognize that the parties are large to avoid hurt feelings, but can we agree that the amount of presents the kids receive as a result is objectionably over the top?
I’m not against the idea of gifts as a rule. It’s wonderfully celebratory to open some beautifully wrapped presents that someone took the time to choose. But when parents feel pressured to invite the whole class, we are talking about 20 or so gifts. I don’t think a birthday is more memorable for our children because of that seventh, tenth, or 18th present. It’s the law of diminishing returns. Certainly receiving 14 new Barbies is no more joyful than receiving, say, four. Read the rest of this entry →
Oct 26 2012
This week’s most popular posts, in case you missed them.
– Making A Fabulous Birthday Party With Just One Hand. Mayim Bialik only has one hand to run her family these days, so she couldn’t handle baking a birthday cake from scratch. Her improvised solution? An ice cream sundae bar, complete with a 1950s soda jerk costume.
– Why We Chose A Jewish Day School Over Public School. Avital and her husband put off making a decision about their children’s schooling for as long as they could. Between public school, montessori school, and Jewish day school, they had several good options, and while Avital was leaning toward the Jewish school, her husband wasn’t leaning with her. Read about how and why they ended up at a Solomon Schechter day school.
– Can We Afford Jewish High School? One family that has been sending their kids to day school through middle school now has to make a decision about high school. With a double curriculum and a massive price tag, the choice isn’t going to be easy.
– Shopping For My Daughter’s First Bra. Have you ever said a blessing in a department store dressing room? This mom (and rabbi) took her daughter bra shopping, and celebrated the beginning of womanhood with the shehecheyanu prayer.
Apr 11 2012
A preschooler snagging thirds!
Last week, my sweet boy turned 5 and we celebrated by hosting his preschool class at our farm for a treasure hunt, pony rides with a neighbor, and lunch. He originally requested a party at one of those indoor bouncy centers, so I was very happy that we were able to coax, sell, and redirect him toward a homespun farm party.
The day before the party, my husband brought in a large bag of tender baby kale from the farm–the first of the spring new growth. When I asked my son what we should serve as a snack for the party, he completely surprised me by suggesting kale chips. I laughed and wondered how they would go over with his class that is used to much more standard preschool fare. Read the rest of this entry →
Jan 31 2012
Tori Spelling throws a first birthday party for her daughter Stella.
If you have a Pinterest account, buy anything on Etsy or frequent the blogosphere you are aware that children’s birthday parties are akin to weddings and award shows. Elaborate dessert tables, bounce houses, face painting, custom t-shirts, designer gift bags–all for a bunch of little nose pickers who your kid swings with at the playground. Perhaps these extravagant parties are given by people who love their child more than I do. Or maybe these people have piles of money laying around that they take bathes in and like to blow on trivial things like fondant. But mostly, I blame Tori Spelling. The “small get togethers” she plans make my parties look like they were financed by panhandling. Read the rest of this entry →