Here a Party, There a Party, Everyone has a Party

Birthday parties!  I have a love/hate relationship with these.   I don’t like planning them and for the most part I don’t like going to them either, but I know that they are an important part of my children’s youth.

Before I had Davey, the trend of themed parties was starting to come to light.   For his first birthday, I somewhat jumped on that bandwagon and planned him a nautical themed party.   I didn’t go all out with decorations and I most certainly did NOT have little goody bags for the guests.   Most of the guests were family anyways, while others were people who I had just met since becoming a stay at home mom.  It was a great birthday, but definitely not up to a party planners’ caliber.

The following year, I had a Mickey Mouse clubhouse themed party and while I went a little bit further with it, I still didn’t go to extremes.  I even managed to tone down the guest list.   By the time Davey’s third birthday came around, I had Henry who was 10 months old and I’d learned a few things regarding parties, what I wanted and expected out of them, and what was really and truly worth the effort.

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Davey’s Mickey Mouse clubhouse birthday cake custom made by one of my best friends. She did (and still does) magnificent work!

I decided that I no longer wanted to have the parties at my house.  It’s a bit stressful preparing for a party and keeping a clean house with two boys, one grown man, and a dog.   I also decided that I didn’t HAVE to invite those family members who I only see once every other year.  In most cases, they were invited to save face, but every time they declined to show.   Now I just don’t bother.

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Continuing with the theme for Davey…not doing these anymore.

I also decided that theme parties are ridiculous, at least for me they are, and truthfully my kid isn’t that concerned.   He just wants to have fun at some place he doesn’t go to everyday and with kids he can see outside of school.   For Davey’s third birthday, I had his party off site and we invited a ton of people.   My heart literally shattered when only 4 kids showed up.   Davey didn’t care so much, but I did.   I was pissed (still am to this day) at friends who didn’t show up.   Again, it bothered me more than Davey.   After that 3rd party, when I reserved a spot for 15 kids, with less than a third even RSVPing (come on, people, you’re adults.  A simple yes or no works), I decided to reevaluate what may be keeping parents from bringing their kids, which then had me thinking, “what makes me NOT want to go to a party?”

First thing is gifts.   I have enough stress in my life, enough things to keep on a calendar, that trying to go out and buy a gift for a 3,4,5 year old, whom I don’t know very well, is just a bit daunting.   I spend what feels like a lifetime in the toy section trying to find something not too dinky, but within my budget.  There are a select handful of kids who I will do this for, but really I don’t like doing it.   I have enough toys in my house, so many in fact that I had to shuffle them in and out.  Of course the necessity of buying a gift doesn’t keep me away from going to parties, but it’s still a pain in my ass.

So, what do I do with the gift headache?   Last year, I implemented a new policy where gifts are concerned.   There are people who feel they MUST by a gift.  I had a few people tell me they were disappointed that my child wasn’t getting gifts.   It’s a celebration, a party, a chance to have something that lasts longer than toys…memories and friends.   Since I knew people would want to buy a gift, I encouraged them to go to one of my favorite charities, the GHS Children’s Hospital, and a buy a gift for a child who is in the hospital, a child who doesn’t get the luxury of going out for parties.   I had thought it would be a hit, but alas only one set of parents bought a gift for a child in need.   That genuinely broke my heart.

Second thing is food.   I try to schedule my parties around a meal time so that encourages parents to want to bring their kids, because at least they don’t have to worry about dinner.   I make sure to have enough food for the parents as well.  If it means you will bring your child to my child’s party, then I will supply you with a meal.   All my kid wants is to hang out and have fun.

Third, has to do with activities.  When I was a kid, we had birthday parties at our house and my friends and I played out in the backyard barefoot with whatever toy was there.   We created our games, played sports, and ate cake and ice cream.   The parents were always on the porch or patio, not hovering over the kids trying to dictate what the kids should be playing.   For some strange reason, it seems that this day that just a big fat no no with parents, so I just have the parties off site at some sort of activity center where I don’t have to beat myself senseless trying to come up with activities.   Yet another thing that’s a pain in my ass.

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Henry’s first birthday…no theme and he was happy.

I know, a lot of you are asking me about the gift situation right now.  I can see you telling me it’s not fair to deprive my child of an essential part of his childhood by not giving him gifts on his birthday.   To that I say, “back up and hold the phone.”   My children do receive gifts.   We have a small little birthday dinner, with my parents, aunt, and cousin, along with my mother-in-law every year where my children receive toys.   They have gifts to open, so I’m not taking away their chance to open gifts.   I know this is something that will keep me from attending a child’s party (not every child’s) and if I feel this way, I know other parents do as well.   If I can alleviate that stress (usually the biggest headache for a parent taking their child to a birthday party), thereby encouraging more of my children’s friends to show, then I am a happy mom.

Birthday parties are a dime a dozen.   When you become a parent, there are so many of them to attend, more than I ever recall attending when I was a child.   It seems as if we’re receiving invites to a new party at least once a week and I know that’s only going to get worse as Henry is officially old enough to be in school and have friends of his own.   Yet another party to plan and another whole set of parties to attend.  It comes with the territory of being a parent, but why not find ways to be considerate of the other parents when planning the party.   I know it’s the child’s special day, but even on his special day, consideration for others is always a must, at least in this household.

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Henry’s first birthday….look at that smiling face.
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My Greatest Christmas Gift

From the very moment I’d found out that I was pregnant with Henry, I knew this pregnancy would be 100% different from my first.   I was terrified, selfishly, and it impacted how I went about my days with Davey.   I was sick, tired, and moody.   For the longest time, I was convinced Henry would be a girl.

His actual birthday was to be December 20th, but thanks in part to my previous C-section and my desire to not have his birthday so close to Christmas, Henry Bruce Doser was born on Friday the 13th in 2013.

Yesterday, we celebrated the 2nd birthday of my second and final biological child.   And much like with his big brother, I put him to sleep last night with the story of his birth, which went a little something like this.

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Prince Henry’s first official picture.

Once upon a time, the king and queen decided to add another prince to their family.   Their oldest was just a little over two years in age, when the second prince made his entrance.   He was scheduled to arrive at 1:30 on Friday the 13th, but by 8 am that morning he started making his imminent arrival known.   The queen dealt with cramps and lower back pain, those that nearly mirrored her kidney stones from 14 years prior (at this Henry looked at me and laughed).   She gripped tightly to the king’s arms as he walked her into the hospital.

The queen was placed in a room with machines hooked up to her and wrapped around her belly.   The king sat alongside of her, occasionally stroking her arm, but mostly watching a Chuck Norris movie on television.  The incessant beeping of the machines, coupled with the contractions and the king’s inability to empathize, forced the queen to make a decision…The king was to be banished and the Queen Mother was to arrive.

Henry birth 1

As the hours went by, the Queen and her mother discussed upcoming Christmas plans, what it was like for the Queen Mother to give birth so many years ago, and what sort of crazy family member was doing the unthinkable.   Finally the time arrived when the queen was to go into surgery and so the king joined her.

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A half hour later and Prince Doser II was born.   He wailed and he squirmed, making his entrance known.   He was just an ounce heavier than his older brother and the same height.   What a fine looking young prince he would be.   And in royal fashion it was decreed he would be named Prince Henry Bruce Doser.

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Prince Davey meeting Prince Henry.

 

A short time later, Prince Davey, the older prince, entered the glass tower (as he called it) to meet his younger brother.   Prince Davey held tightly to the newborn prince, cradling him lovingly in his arms, even leaning over to kiss him.   The queen sat in her bed, staring at her beautiful boys and thanked the Lord for the blessings He bestowed upon her.   And from that moment forward they lived happily ever after.

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Prince Davey giving Prince Henry his first brotherly kiss.

Every parent has a tradition, be it big or small when it comes to celebrating their children’s birthdays.   This is mine.

Henry laid in his bed, listening intently to my words, his thumb in his mouth.   Occasionally he smiled, but mostly he listened and stroked my hair.   At the end of my story, he kissed my cheek and said, “hap birthday me, mommy.”

My days become inundated with the grind of raising two boys, the stress, the guilt, and the pain, but I wouldn’t trade one second of any of it.   And people tell me I’ll miss these days.  I laugh in their faces, but I know the days are coming when hearing their birth stories will no longer be wanted, that the hugs will diminish, and the cuddles will become obsolete.   It saddens me and I realize these are some of the best days of my life and I WILL miss this.

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Eating his birthday cake. Happy 2nd birthday, Prince Henry.

As I kissed him goodnight, he whispered, “love you, mommy” and I melted.   He was, and still is, my greatest Christmas gift.

Has It Really Been 13 Months?

Yesterday marked the 13 month birthday of my youngest, Henry. 13 months?!?!?!? It doesn’t seem like 13 months have gone by. Why last year, I was getting used to operating on 4 hours or less of sleep.

This time last year, my oldest wasn’t impressed with his new little brother. After a month of being on this earth, Davey felt that Henry should have more substance to him other than being 10 pounds of screaming and pooping flesh. It was this time last year, when Henry was turning a month old that Davey exclaimed, “Mommy, I’m going to need you to put Henry back.”

His new chair from Santa.
His new chair from Santa.

Put him back? Surely he was joking, hence the reason I laughed, which then elicited this from Davey, “Mommy, why are you laughing? I didn’t make a funny.”

In 13 months, we’ve grown as a family, melded into a unit that for the most part operates as it should, each cog of the wheel turning and hopefully encouraging the other to turn. Of course, we have our meltdowns, and by “we”, I mean Davey. Perhaps we all (grandparents included) spoiled him too much. He WAS the only grandchild for a little over 2 years and what a grand title to have and then to relinquish in such a short time.

Enjoying a breakfast of cheerios.
Enjoying a breakfast of cheerios.

As for Henry, about whom is the true reason I write this post, well he’s a chubby little man, teetering along in happy contentment. He loves to hug our dog. He can even say “Dix”, short for Dixie. As a matter of fact, EVERY dog is Dix. He has an affinity for blowing kisses even to the strangest and often most repugnant of people. His brother is his idol, although Davey seems to be oblivious to this. He loves cars and books, dinosaurs and FOOD! The child eats, and he eats, and he eats. He is my little porker.

So, 13 months, where have you gone? What have we done with the time you’ve laid at our feet? Some days I feel we’ve trampled over the time with disdain, or maybe I’VE trampled over it with disdain, with my impatience at wanting to have two perfect little boys living in happy harmony. For the most part, I’d like to think we’ve not taken you for granted, 13 months, and that we’ve found at least one moment in every day to relish the time.

Celebrating his actual 1st birthday eating breakfast at Harry Caray's at Chicago's O'Hare Airport.
Celebrating his actual 1st birthday eating breakfast at Harry Caray’s at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport.

Happy 13 months to the sweet little boy!

On This Date in 2011

This is the story of Davey’s birth as told by me, his mother, to Davey. We do this every year on his birthday.

Once upon a time their was a young lady named, Mommy. She was married to a man named, Daddy. For a long time, Mommy and Daddy prayed hard for a little baby. One day Mommy went to the doctor. The doctor told her that she was going to have a baby. She was so excited especially when she heard the baby’s heartbeat. It made her cry.

After a few months, Mommy’s belly began to grow as the baby she carried grew bigger and bigger. Finally, it was time for the baby to be born, but he didn’t want to come out. He liked growing inside Mommy’s belly.

Three days passed and the doctor told Mommy and Daddy that the baby was going to be born today! Mommy and Daddy were so excited.

When the baby was born, he came out crying. Daddy brought him over to Mommy and Mommy began to cry as she stroked the baby’s hair. They decided to name him David Brian, a strong name, but a name with a lot of family to it. David was Daddy’s name and Guh Guh’s name, and Brian was Mommy’s brother’s name.

He was a big baby, weighing 8 pounds, 15 ounces, and 21 inches long. Mommy and Daddy were very happy and they thanked the Lord for answering their prayers and they all three lived happily ever after.

The Day of his Birth

I’m not that great at creating my own stories for Davey, but this is one that I love to tell him every year on his birthday. This year was the first year he knew to actually ask for it. “Mama, tell me my birthday story,” he said as I put him down for a nap.

I look at my baby everyday and count my blessings for the graces the Lord has bestowed upon me and my husband. We wanted Davey so much and we thought we’d never get him. The last three years of my life almost feel like a whirlwind. I’ve become disoriented at times, forgetful, impatient, loving, empathetic, happy, and sad. I’ve literally experienced every emotion on the wheel of life and I wouldn’t trade a single moment of it. I can’t wait to see what the “threes” have in store for us.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, DAVEY!

The Story of Birth

This year, much like last year, when Davey awoke on his birthday, my husband and I put him into our bed. This year his 2nd birthday fell on Saturday, so we cuddled up in bed and relaxed. We asked him questions like, “Who has a birthday today?” and “How old are you?” He answered both with excitement and energy, although I’m really not sure if he understood what the day was.

And this year, much like last year, I started with a tradition I hope to keep, one that Davey seems to enjoy hearing (at least he sat quietly, listened, and even threw in his own two cents) and that is the story of his birth. I’d like to share that with all of you.

Davey’s scheduled due date was September 25th, a Sunday. I’d been written out of work on the previous Thursday due to discomfort, so at that point it was just a waiting game. Sunday rolled around, and no Davey. Monday rolled around, and no Davey. Same story with Tuesday. Davey was pretty adamant about keeping put. I wasn’t dilated, my cervix was closed tight, and this kid was just eager to keep me uncomfortable.

Wednesday morning rolled around and I had a scheduled 8:30 doctor’s appointment. We were going to find out what we needed to do in regards to inducing labor, basically how long past my due date the doctor was going to let me go and what we needed to do to be prepared for said induction. I was pretty bummed that morning because I wasn’t dilated and I thought I was going to get the same old bad news of “you’re not there yet.” Regardless, I told my husband to bring the luggage I’d packed. It didn’t hurt to be prepared.

We followed our normal doctor’s schedule of an early morning appointment, followed by coffee and bagels at Starbucks. At least that was to be our normal routine. When I arrived at the doctor, I was told that my cervix was still closed and that I wasn’t dilated. He did; however, want to get an ultrasound to see how big Davey was. My ultrasound showed Davey was breached and that I had very little amniotic fluid left so they did not want me to have a vaginal birth. It was determined that I would need an emergency C-section, so Davey was to be born that day.

Of course, I couldn’t eat anything since I was to have major surgery, which didn’t go over too well for me. So, we called our parents, stopped by my husband’s office so that he could reschedule a last minute meeting, and headed to the hospital.

I wasn’t nervous, nor was I anxious. I think I was elated. I couldn’t believe the day had finally arrived. I wasn’t scared, but I was excited, although I didn’t have the typical excitement butterflies. I was hooked up to a fetal monitor for a couple of hours in a room that would not be my permanent location. Had my husband and I known this, then perhaps we wouldn’t have brought EVERYTHING into the hospital with us at that time. It was quite entertaining to see him and my dad (my mother was away on business and couldn’t make it back) lug around all the bags and pillows and other “necessities” we’d brought.

The next room prepped me before surgery. My husband was given blue scrubs (exciting for him) and I went through a prepping process for surgery that made me feel like I was to become the female version of Captain America. After a few minutes, and completely giving up my overwhelming sense to have some level of modesty, the doctor began performing the surgery.

I didn’t feel anything, of course, except for the occasional tug and pull. At one point, I asked the nurse when exactly the doctor was going to cut into me and at that point I heard this ear piercing wail. Davey had made his appearance into the world at 4:06 pm.

Words cannot begin to describe the feelings I had. It was almost surreal seeing my baby, MY baby! I couldn’t believe I’d done this. Not only had I conquered my fears of being pregnant, but I’d managed to carry a baby to full term, and deliver one as well and right in front of me was this screaming mass that I thought was the greatest thing in this world. At that moment, nothing else existed in the world. At that moment, my world was complete. At that moment, I cried more tears of happiness than I ever thought possible.

He wasn’t immediately placed into my arms since the doctor had to close me back up again. My husband was able to bring Davey to me and I cradled his head with one hand and kissed my baby. What a wonderful gift I’d been given. A few minutes later, I was back to the small “staging” room. I looked at my dad who was holding his grandson, his first grandchild and a lump formed in my throat. Within a few minutes, Davey was in my arms and I was being wheeled into what would be my home away from home for the next three days.

I was a mother! I couldn’t believe it! Some mornings, I awake and still can’t believe I’m a mother, especially on the days of Davey’s birthday. What a wonderful birth it was, what a wonderful day and every day since.

Kissing my baby for the first time.
Kissing my baby for the first time.
Our new family.
Our new family.
me and my dad.
me and my dad.
David Brian Doser
David Brian Doser