Academic Leigh Speaking

A professor, four kids, and a crash course in work/life balance

Too Much Birthday? November 15, 2015

After a year in which the boys didn’t go to many birthday parties, it seems like they’ve been to a lot this fall. It’s been really fun, but some weekends are busy with them and other weekends are not. It can mean a lot of cake in one day! I generally like birthday parties for other peoples’ kids, despite my misgivings about hosting birthday parties for my own children. It’s still hard, but I notice as the kids get older, they are more likely to be having a good time at their own party. Seamus’s fifth birthday was an exercise in patience because he was so tired.

The subject has come up again of when can they have birthday parties with friends. We are going to allow something small this year for Seamus. He’ll get to pick an activity (bowling, movie, bounce house place, somewhere else?) and a couple of friends (I’m going to resist trying to tell him who to invite) and maybe a place to eat (pizza?) for after. He thinks this will be fun, but I think he’s still hoping for a big deal in the backyard.

Incidentally, we went to a party recently where the kids were swinging in a tire swing and a hammock. There was a game of flashlight tag, a fire pit, and plenty of potato chips. Both boys had so much fun! When we left Gilbert nearly cried, “Why don’t we ever have potato chips?” (They were Ruffles! I don’t know why we never have them; it simply doesn’t occur to me!) When we got home Seamus asked, “Why don’t we ever have parties?” When I reminded him that we do have parties, at least one in the spring, he said, “Well, we should have another one.” That’s a long way of saying that the boys like parties, especially those that have a little something for the kids (even if it’s just a soccer goal) and a little something for the adults.

As they grow and develop their own sense of the other children they like to spend time with, games they like to play, and activities that engage them, they are enjoying the parties they go to more. I’ve noticed in the last few months that the parents, if they are at the party, are able to be more hands off. And really, I had to chase Porter around the other day, but he’s pretty happy toddling after some bigger kids and watching them from a perch he climbs to on his own. I miss having them with me all the time, but the time I do get with each of the older boys is special now. Gilbert went to a party by himself yesterday, and Seamus was allowed to pick an activity he wanted. He chose going to the pizza by the slice place for a piece of pizza. He wanted to sit and talk with me. That was a neat difference in what he might have chosen (or looked to me to choose) before. When Seamus has been at a party by himself, Patrick has done something special with Gilbert. They don’t get a whole lot of one-on-one time with us, but they try to take advantage of it when they do!

And Porter likes the party favors:

Ready for Mardi Gras!

Ready for Mardi Gras!


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