It is fast approaching Naomi's 7th birthday and we have a little tradition we do in our family. A about a week or two before one's birthday person and gives them a little interview. All the kids have really come to appreciate, enjoy (and even expect) this, which is how it all became a family tradition. I usually make a declaration that "soon it will be time to talk about your birthday" when there is a couple witnesses to hear (not hard in our family!). Ohh how the buzzz starts. Everyone gets excited because we always have a family celebration/fun day for our birthdays. This day is pre planned by mommy and the birthday person. All the kids gather round for the conversation...but have to promise to ONLY listen...no talking!!! (This drives them just about CRAZY...but they hold their tongues because they couldn't stand to miss it. But they all want to pop with their own wants and ideas like a kernal of popcorn over high heat! But they know the rules...the same goes for everyone! We always make a list (we don't want to forget anything!!) as we make our plan. The kids love this too! I try to interfere as little as possible with suggesting or swaying the children's thought process. I LOVE to watch how their brain's tick and what they "want", It is so revealing. If they choose something that is unrealistic for whatever reason, I will gently sway them differently or explain why that wouldn't be possible compassionately and encourage them to think of something else (often while shushing the crowd who are bubbling with ideas!). If it is something I am confident we can do, I confirm it. If is something we need to take a level higher (to Pappa or prayer), I will tell them we need to ask, but we'll put it on the list..and then I will get an alternative. I always tell them I will take this list to Pappa and get his final approval. Often we will show them the calendar and how far away the day is. This helps them process the "wait" when they are smaller.
We just had a birthday with Gideon last week, and yesterday we had our birthday talk with Naomi yesterday. It was so precious...ya know one of the events in your parenting scrap book that you just which you could burn in your memory, wish you had it on video so you never forget. So I thought...ya know...I'm going to start "recording these birthday interviews". The grandparents will appreciate it to have incite to each child's growth each year and it will help us both with those "what would _____ like for his birthday" questions. :-) SO this is my first attempt to do this. (Maybe I'll be able to catch the next one on video???)
Now, Naomi is my charismatic one. She is so expressive about her emotions in so many ways as we see HERE in a video we took of her watching a movie last year. At the same time she can be very private, protective, reserved and guarded. This will be Naomi's second birthday since she has been home. I wish I could have gotten this one on film because she has decided she REALLY likes this family tradition and she was literally She had a toothless smile from ear to ear as she was hopping up and down, rolling a round, laughing and squealing during our talk. (Try keeping 5 other kids from participating with that kind of engagement!)
Naomi's 7th Birthday Plan
Q: What would you like for your birthday breakfast?
A: With great enthusiasm she replied, "OATMEAL!"
Q: Would you like anything special with your oatmeal?
A: Honey and milk!!! (Hailey, my almost 13 year old looks on in slight frustration, with a little sigh. I can read her mind. - thought bubble - Doesn't she know what she's doing? This is suppose to be SPECIAL. We eat that all the time! I give Hailey "the look" of "hold on" and continue.)
(Momma) Sure! We can do that! (Naomi) Give a huge smile and starts bouncing.
Q: Would you like to have and "at home" fun birthday or an "away" fun birthday?
(This one was a tuffy - she paused and Mamma shushes the "helpers". Gently reminding them of the rules.)
A: AN AWAY BIRTHDAY!!!! (hop hop hop)
Q: Ok...what would you like to do?
A: Mmmmmm....go back to the Science Museum!
(Gideon - now 5- pipes in, "Naomi, your copying me." That is where we just went for his birthday. Mom shushes him. The rest the tribe are getting excited, because they had so much fun last time. Mommy encourages her choice becasue she knows they have a membership that is good until April and that we are broke. So this is a wonderful choice from that perspective and she knows Daddy will approve.)
Mom: Yes, we could do that. We didn't even get to do everything while we there and maybe it won't be so busy next time! That would be fun.
Naomi: Well...maybe we could go that museum with the big ball instead.
(Mom's not sure what she means.) The kids pipe in and say "The Rocket Museum" (in Huntsville). Naomi continues, Yeah, and we can finish what didn't do there!
Mom: (I decided to feel this one out ans see if I could help it go "back" to her original desire.) Well honey, we DID see it all last time. And we could go back again sometime...but are you sure you don't want to back the science museum. I know daddy would approve of that one and I know there things we didn't even do there yet. And we can even do lots of things that liked last time..AGAIN if you like.....
Naomi: YEAH!!!! The Science Museum!!!!! The Science Museum!!!
Mom: Great! Lets do it! (She then starts rolling and hopping on the couch with excitement. While Eliana, 4 turns into a little squealing mexican jumping bean beside me and Gideon also catches the bug and decided it was a pretty good idea after all. Hailey and Elijah 10 both have smile of approval and get that watching them is part of the fun of this whole thing that mom is doing. I give them a smile of knowing and agreement.) I expressively write it down on the list.
(Now, we can talk about the rest of the food)
Q: What would you like for your birthday lunch?
A: (Without any hesitation, she blurts out) CHICKEN! (And gets excited.)
Q: What kind of chicken?
A: The kind with chicken and broccoli!!! She claims with victory!
(Ok...we can do that! I say)
Q: What else would you like for dinner?
(She looks around the room...the kids are jumping out of their skin with their own suggestions..but mamma gives them "the look".)
Mamma: Great! I think we can do that too!
Q: What would else would you like to happen on your birthday?
A: Gifts! (Gideon shouts out, and balloons! and the crowd goes wild!) Ya, and balloons!
Well, grandma and grandpa might send some gifts. We'll have to watch the mail.
She shouts Yeah!! then they three little ones start jumping up and down like popcorn again.
Q: What kind of gift would you like? (Hailey and Elijah's ears are perked, because they like to make or get gifts whenever possible for family birthdays.)
A: A picture of butterflies she says slightly embarrassed.
Mamma: Really? That sounds nice. Anything else?
A: A picture of flowers and some birthday books!!!!
Q: What kind of birthday books? Books about birthday? Or just some new books for your birthday?
A: New books for my birthday!!
Well those sound like wonderful gift ideas Naomi. We will see what happens, OK? OK!!! She answered with great excitement and wonder!!
As the excitement was "breaking up" and we were going about our normal routine, Gideon chimed in...and we can't forget about the Special plate! Naomi gets to use the special plate! She hopped up and down again...yes! The Special plate!! (We have a plate from Israel that we keep on a stand and bring out at meal time for people we are honoring for whatever reason.) Oh yes...that would wonderful, the birthday girl can use the special plate. Than she shouted out..."and a clean glass!!!!". This made us all laugh! I said, honey - is it so special for someone to get a clean glass with thier meal around here??? (Sometimes I wonder! I have a lot of helper at dish time!) So I said, "I will personally make sure that your glass is sparkling, my love!" With that, she was quite please with all that had transpired in our birthday talk!
p.s. OH! I almost forgot! Before this conversation even started. Last week, when Naomi asked about how much longer before her birthday (She knew it was "next" after Gideon's.) She had very quickly and clearly asked if I could make her "Chocolate Bread" for her birthday. I agreed, but heald our "borthday talk" off until another date. But that is what we will be having for her her cake treat. It is a very rich chocolate bread (that really should be called cake!). She was very attimate about that desire AND she wanted a strawberry on it. So told her that the birthday girl could have a strawberry on her piece of chocolate bread! She was tickled!