Sunday, January 16, 2011

Short Shrift

For Anna's second birthday we had a party at the carousel. We invited all our friends with their children, I made sandwiches and a cake, and the kids went on the carousel til they were nauseous.

For Lucy's second we just went to the carousel.

No party, no fanfare, just a fun day out, but I have to admit I feel terrible. My second child, my recession child, is getting short shrift.

We had planned to go to Disneyland in lieu of a party. I'd taken the day off work, but it's just so ridiculously expensive, and after canvassing a lot of people we decided that taking a 2 year old would just be unfair as there would be so many rides she couldn't go on unless she was wearing platform shoes and a tall hat.

It was too late for a party, and quite frankly, Santa Barbara can get a bit mental when it comes to birthday parties. Pony rides, elaborate gift bags, hand-crafted and personalized cupcakes etc. and we were never going to go that route, but I'm starting to wonder whether she'll look back at our family photo archives and go - ahem, where are my 2nd birthday photos? I may have to photoshop her on to a Shetland pony.

To be fair, I think she had a wonderful day. We took a boat ride across the harbour, and the captain played her a birthday song. We had ice-cream on the wharf and went on the carousel. It was definitely a fun day, a family day, but not really special.

I tried making it a bit more birthday-ish and whipped up one of my patented disaster cakes. I outdid myself, even with my history. The bottom half would only deign to leave the cake pan in one-inch crumbs, so I used frosting to patch it together in to a cake-like shape and hid it all with the top layer and more icing. Plus Lucy had asked for 'bue' icing, but like a moron I forgot that creamy coloured frosting mixed with blue food dye actually turns blueish-green. A Cambridge blue, a Tiffany blue, if you're being generous. A bad bridesmaid dress aqua in all honesty. There are no pictures.

It was never going to be pretty having a birthday only two weeks after Christmas, and everyone always warns you that you don't try as hard for your second child. I knew they were right, I just didn't realize it would hit so hard so soon. Of course Lucy couldn't care less. She doesn't know that that bike she got was actually Anna's hand-me-down from the attic.

I did have the forethought to remove the 'Anna' sticker from the front of it the night before though.

She doesn't look too hard done by does she?


Heather said...

Happy birthday to Lucy. My son's first birthday was last Friday, and we've already shafted him a bit compared to his sister. There were no out-of-town guests, mailed invitations or a personalized cake ordered weeks in advance.

When he was born last year, I planned to make a big point of never letting his birthday be completely overshadowed by Christmas, and making just as big of a deal about his parties as I have about his sister's. I broke that promise pretty fast.

He hasn't noticed yet. Surely they'll be teenagers before they start accusing us of loving their older siblings more.

Anonymous said...

As far as I can see, in every single photo of Lucy taken on her 2nd birthday, she looks like she's having the time of her life. I particularly love the picture of her on the carousel. She's not comparing the brilliant day that she's having to any day that's gone before, she's loving her 2nd birthday! Happy Birthday Lucy, and let's all try to enjoy eating ice cream with as much delight as your girls... S x

pvz said...

Looks to me like a successful day, all-in-all.

When we "slipped" our 2nd daughter's 2nd birthday from 12/3 to 12/5 without telling her (it was much more convenient to have it on a weekend), we got a variety of reactions ranging from "oh my god, how could you!?!" to " makes sense, we did the same things to you kids."

I happen to believe there's much too much emphasis on things that aren't so important (big party, lots of elaborate accessories), when in fact what matters are the small acknowledgments that "this is your day" and we're going to have cupcakes in your honor.

Happy birthday Lucy.

itsgrimupnorth said...

I don't remember my 1st or 2nd birthday party!!!! OMG, Mum, are you reading this. I was the 2nd child, it all makes sense now. I demand a party!!!

Meegan said...

My husband made me a sort of memory book for Christmas. It was full of fun things like my wedding shower invitations, the invitations to our rehearsal dinner and wedding, a birth announcement, change-of-address cards and Christmas cards. I'm getting to my point. Included was a birth announcement. Singular. But I have two children. I had forgotten that I was so flipping lazy I never sent out anything after the birth of our second child. He was born in August, and then suddenly it was Thanksgiving and I remembered thinking, "Well, I guess people will know we had a baby when they see two kids on our Christmas cards". Which, by the way, arrived around New Years. So there you go. Second child. Short-changed. Guilt.

Anonymous said...

My God, do you remember when we were little, you were lucky if you got a cake and some balloons. I always used to lose musical statues which made for a pants birthday every time :-)

seadragon said...

I just have to say that looking at the pictures, she looks like she had a wonderful time. Two year olds don't necessarily care about fanfare and big birthday parties. They want to be loved and be shown attention, and clearly you are succeeding there. So don't be so hard on yourself over things Lucy probably wouldn't have cared for anyway!

Ruth said...

We've done less and less for birthdays with each subsequent child ... our third didn't have a "friends party" until he was seven (and would like everyone to remember that it was TEN WEEKS LATE). God only knows when #4 will get her first not-family party. Sometime in junior high?

Seriously, though, Lucy looks like she's having a blast. What kids want for their birthday is to have a fuss made over them, and you gave her that in spades. Looks like a winner party to me.

Oh! and our firstborn has his birthday 10 days after Christmas. Starting when he was about five, we celebrated on the day with family, and had his friends party on his half-birthday in July. That way we spread out his major gift-getting occasions ... and frankly, it was easier to think of ways to entertain a bunch of kids in warm weather (not an issue for you, I know, but January birthdays in Chicago almost always mean indoor parties).

Ivana said...

I wonder how my parents would be scored here :) since the family never celebrated my (yep, I am a second child) birthday with a party (it is in August, so there were no school kids around). Or a decent gift (it was usually shoes what they came up with, thinking I needed them around that time of a year). The highlight was my 25th birthday which passed totally unnoticed by my mum and dad. Hm, maybe that is the reason why I married a guy from a family that celebrates birthdays and anniversaries in a big way... Really, do not worry, Lucy will remember that you cared and celebrated it in some way :)

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