This morning we're off to what will probably be our last trip to the water park for the summer. I still can't get used to this thing where pools and amusement parks completely shut down after summer. I'm from Los Angeles, where these things are open year-round.
Sammy's birthday party was this past Saturday and it went very well. Adam planned and executed the whole thing. I've delegated the birthday party thing (both attending and giving) to Adam. It's a nice, self-contained, and rewarding thing for him to do. A perfect dad-job.
We decided to opt-out of the "goody bag" phenomenon. I can't stand the idea that the host of the party owes something to the guests. A birthday is a celebration of and for the birthday child, and the party is a way to share the fun. Gifts for the birthday child are a way of recognizing that this is his or her special day. When gifts are given to the attendees, whether you mean it or not, it lessens the special nature of the day for the birthday child. We did not give out goodie bags when I was a kid, and I'm sure this developed out of the egalitarianism that has run rampant in our culture since the 1970's. We did give each child an extra piece of birthday cake to bring home, along with a couple of balloons. This was just a good way to get rid of all that stuff. We still came home with tons of cake and balloons.
Sam's real birthday is on Thursday. She hasn't opened her gifts from us or from the party yet, so we're going to bring them over to my parents' RV and have a special dinner and gift-opening event. She'll also get her usual room full of helium balloons that morning. That is the one birthday tradition we decided on from her first, and we really enjoy it.
Now, I'd better go get my bathing suit on before Sam explodes with anticipation!