Posted by: alethacs | March 2, 2009

My How Time Flies–Truman’s Five: A Birthday in Two Parts

5 Year Old Birthday King, Complete with Chocolate Cake Remnants on Shirt

5 Year Old Birthday King, Complete with Chocolate Cake Remnants on Shirt

Hard to believe but our oldest just turned 5 at the beginning of the month.  We hoped to tailor the day for him to make it memorable and so planned a birthday party with friends and a family party weekend just for us.  Here’s the story of what we did:

Part Une

For his birthday party, Truman and his friends got to make grass seed heads.  They scooped out dirt and put it into little pots they could decorate with wicky stick mouths or whatever they desired.  Then the put in the grass seed and covered with more dirt.  Next was hand washing time.  After a little free play, we gathered in the family room for circle time–or singing games sung in a moving circle.  With trembling voice (yes, one of my friends is a professional singer, my “mommy voice” was a bit shy) we sang about the mulberry bush, old brass wagon, and many other tunes.  Some of the children created a mini circle within the big circle and there were lots of smiles all around.  We also did some sit down fingerplays–eensy weensy spider, and row your boat, to name a few.

Next was snacks and lunch.  We had homemade crackers, cheese, some veggies & fruit, homemade pizza and Truman’s new favorite and a first for his birthday, although–an old family tradition for others’ birthdays–Chocolate Sheet Cake (with extra rich icing).  We also served homemade ice cream and strawberries for over a dozen people.  There was some more free play–lots of dress up play was happening, and a monster was on the loose.  One Mama did some face paining while I prepared our puppet show in the next room.  This was my first time ever telling a story publicly, so I was quite excited and nervous–just hoping I could keep the attention of the children.  Truman was extremely excited about this as he had been watching me prepare the puppets and scenery for the show all week.  I began by lighting a candle and playing a quick tune on the lyre.  This seemed to set the mood, and then I began, “Once upon a time, in a land far yet near. . .”  (see link to full under this page).  The children were quiet (except for Isaiah, who chose then to want Mama, of course, so Daddy had to take him to another room) and and were all eyes.  As I began to work with the puppets and scene, they seemed to move as one, closer and closer to the scene.  Truman was the guard of the scene, making sure no fingers strayed too close.  As I neared the end of the story, the air felt electric with anticipation.  Each child was perched on the edge of their seats, er floor– eyes all sparkling and eager as each of them entered the story to receive a present from the Wise Gnome.   They really seemed to enjoy the story, and I was proud I remembered it all, held their attention and only messed up in a few spots (hopefully noticeable only to me).  We finished up with a little more play and then said goodbye to our friends.  All in all, an enjoyable party.

Part Deux

For Truman’s actual day, we focused on doing some of Truman’s favorite things which right now mostly involve staying home and playing pretend games, doing some sort of work around the house (will it last, please say it will last!), and doing anything involving trains.  So on his birthday weekend we braved the frigid temperatures, put on our long johns and headed out to the museum of transportation (a mostly outdoor experience).  We had great fun exploring inside the caboose (not to mention it was a bit warmer in there), and ringing the bell on one of the locomotives.  But far and away Truman’s fave thing there is conducting the “Big Boy.”  Big Boy was one of the largest steam engines ever built, and you can go right inside and handle all the bells, levers, pulleys etc to your hearts content–which would be all day for Truman!   We capped it off  when our fingers (despite the gloves!) started to go numb. 

That night, Mama read a special poem before we blew out the candle for sleep.  It was taken from Druitt et als, “The Birthday Book” (an excellent book worth borrowing or purchasing) and goes like this:  “When I have said my evening prayer, and my clothes are folded on my chair, and I blow out the light, I’ll still be four years old tonight.  But from the very break of day, before the children rise and play, before the darkness turns to gold, Tomorrow I’ll be 5 years old.  5 kisses when I wake.  5 candles on my cake.”  Truman enjoyed this poem so much, he is still having me read it to him (almost 3 weeks later!) such that I have also created his very own personalized 5-year old poem we read at night before sleep.  Anyway, back to the birthday.  In the morning when he woke, we gave him 5 kisses and I asked him to go check under his pillow–the birthday fairy might have paid a visit.  Indeed, there was a silver coin imprinted with an angel waiting for him.

Then it was time to go to breakfast.  When he opened the door to the hallway, there was a fairy walk waiting for him.  Golden stars led a trail through a jungle of pastel rainbow colored streamers, hung like vines from the ceiling.  Little dark chocolate almonds waited for him along the way (which he stopped to eat as he went), as well as a few treasures–a pretty rock, a wooden heart, a special jewel.  His chair at the table was also decorated and had a surprise present waiting (an old ring of mother’s which he has asked for and fit his little chubby middle finger just fine), a birthday crown (made by mom-mom) and 5 birthday paper lanterns (made from some of our watercolor paintings) had been added to his birthday ring, hung from the ceiling.  We made his favorite breakfast–waffles and fresh squeezed juice and spent the morning playing.  As an added bonus, mom-mom and Auntie Alice were in town. so he was in play Heaven.  Lunch was homemade macaroni and cheese, followed by blowing out candles and cake (another Chocolate Sheet Cake) and having a scavenger hunt for his present.  Ribbons were tied to his chair, leading to different spots where members of a family of dolls awaited him, wrapped in paper (again made from some of our watercolor paintings).  Next was story telling (his rainbow bridge birthday story from the party), followed by a rest time, and then more playing. 

That evening, we had his favorite meal–“pasta bazoo” (pasta & cannellini bean soup aka pasta fazioli), with homemade rolls and more cake and homemade ice cream.  We lit his birthday lanterns, and after our meal two special presents, two of his favorite books were waiting for him–“The Story of the John J. Harvey” and “The Tomten and the Fox,” “My very own copies, Mommy?” he asked.  “Yes” we said.  He went to sleep that evening after another telling of his birthday poem and his rainbow bridge birthday story.  It felt like a magical day for us, so I am sure he enjoyed it, and hopefully we have created some lasting family birthday traditions!




    love you all!

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