It’s been a month of birthdays around here for my boys.
Three birthdays in the one little month of October.
And due to a complicated formula involving Physics, Mathematics and Psych, this has resulted in their mother (me) providing the two boys with TRIPLE the normal birthday haul.
Our youngest, Nelson, has the first birthday of the month on Oct. 7. Since the day of his arrival however, there has been a huge contention from the home team (Kendall) on how his younger brother gets his birthday first every October.
I made the lifelong mistake of “fixing” this problem by letting Kendall open one present on Nelson’s birthday that first year.
Lo and behold, the next “fix” was letting Nelson open something on his brother’s birthday when Nelson was old enough to throw a flag on the situation. It’s a vicious cycle I am unable (despite treatment) to break.
This means I have to budget the right amount of gifts to keep a steady flow going all month long. Each child needs at least two gifts: their Real Gift and their Auxiliary Gift to open on their brother’s birthday.
There are some parameters for this birthday dance. The Auxiliary must be of lesser value than the brother’s Real, lest overshadowing take place or, worse setting off of their father’s radar. Tim is patient, but, to give the man his due, also sane.
On the flip side, the Auxiliary cannot be of such lesser value that the forlorn child spends half the day badgering the birthday boy for part or all of his Real.
It’s a delicate balancing act that I blame on being a twin, where such fairness is only, well, fair.
But it was worse this year: On Tim’s birthday, Oct. 11, they (got me in a headlock and) insisted Kendall couldn’t wait until Oct. 31 and therefore needed his present on his father’s birthday (along with Nelson’s Auxiliary of course).
This excuse, along with the fact that Kendall had ferreted his Real out of the back of the closet and was now shaking a gift-wrapped 1-billion-piece Lego set above his head like a giant maraca while screaming “It’s Legos! It’s Legos!” worked. I know, shocking.
So come Kendall’s Real birthday on Oct. 31, I had to have a Second Real for the poor child to open on his Real birthday, along with a Second Auxiliary for his poor brother.
I mean, what’s a Real birthday morning without a little wrapping paper flying between brothers?
My mom would be very proud of my standing on principle like this, rallying behind my complete insanity in the name of her grandchildren. Proud, fiercely proud — despite the mess I’d made of the birthday run up to that point.
But by Oct. 31, there was no way I was going to buy two more presents. No, this called for a Cooperative Present — at the time unheard of, thereby warranting a new chapter in the rule book. It was soon deemed that a Cooperative would be one small present they would share — half the size but, in all probability, twice the cost. See, a complicated yet respectable system.
So in the end, both boys had THREE birthdays in one calendar… month. I am already saving for next year’s October Birthday Blowout Extravaganza.