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May 05

Birthday parties thru the years

This is not my first time around the merry go round.   Today was my third third birthday party.  And poor Julie – I promise that I don’t constantly compare you to your siblings, although it seems as though I do in this blog.  But it’s more that here is where I come to be introspective and thoughtful, and today, you reminded me so much of your older brother.

Generally, I think of Julie and Sam as being polar opposites, but I think I’ve been wrong about that.  I was basing it on the fact that Julie has always been a much more social kid.  She was more amenable to the classic “Pass the Baby” game at family parties as an infant.  Seems to regard most of the world as not strangers, but rather friends she’s not yet met.  Whereas Sam has always been a bit more hesitant, if not out and out actively kicking and screaming when we tried to get him a little more out in the world.

But Julie and Sam have more in common than I had realized.  Sam, for all that he may appear to be highly introverted, is actually a lot more comfortable when he’s got friends around him.  They have to be friends, and he has to know them well, which can take some time.  And he’s pretty panicked about new situations (which explains the street hockey debacle this weekend), but once acclimated, he’s fine.  Jessie, I think, is more of a true introvert.  She seems to require a certain amount of alone time, and I don’t think that Julie and Sam have that same need.  Sam is super comfortable with other kids, he’s friendly and outgoing and cheerful and happy to hang with other kids.  Freaked out by adults, but kids – he’s great with.  Whereas Jessie has always been more comfortable with adults and older kids, or much younger kids.  She’s very comfortable slipping into a maternal role with little ones,  and I’m sure having two older sisters that she idolizes is part of why she’s happier with older kids.

But Julie was pretty horrified by the people crowding around her to sing happy birthday.  And even more distressed to realize that people actually wanted to watch her open her gifts.  She wasn’t as overt as Sam – at the same age, Sam clapped his fingers over his ears and sobbed thru Happy Birthday, and after his third birthday, requested that next year, we just have people drive by, toss his gift out the window and keep going, rather than have people over for cake and ice cream.  Julie likes people, individually and as a group.  She’s very close with a lot more people than either Jess or Sam were at that age.   She loves her grandparents, her aunts, people she sees at synagogue every week.  Arlen and Sara are particular friends of hers.  She generally LIKES adults.  But concentrated attention, from a large group of people, freaked her out today.

All in all, though, it was a successful party.  One of the things I like most about our parties is that they’re not overwhelming or crazy crowded (it’s possible Jessie inherited her introvert tendencies from me).  They’re more of an Open House – where people filter in, filter out, hang for a while, and then move on.  The nice thing about having kids ages 10, 6, and 3 is that I’ve probably got at least one that matches up with your kids, so there’s always someone to play with and hang out with.  We had tea parties going on, hula hooping in side yard, and Sam and the boys running around with nerf guns all afternoon.   My house is kind of in shambles, again, but I think everyone had fun.


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