Happy birthday to Ella!

Ella Fisher, 2yo, February 2008
Ella received several fairy/princess costumes and when each gift was opened, she wanted to wear something from each set. By the end of the party, all she was wearing was a pair of bright pink undies and these "butterfly" wings. Very cute.

At Ella's party on Saturday, February 2008
David, Ben, G and Ye, February 2008

The Fishers invited us (and most of their neighbours) to a casual morning-tea-that-turned-into-lunch to celebrate Ella’s birthday. We had a really good time getting to know everyone, and it’s great that Ben & Ye have fantastic neighbours. (One set of neighbours even gave a babysitting voucher as a presents — priceless!)

Aïcha is fascinated with the birthday-party idea, and we are deliberately trying to play it down, so Ella’s birthday was a good opportunity for her to participate in a party without it being hers.

Our current philosophy regarding our girls’ birthdays (and who knows how long it will last this way without changing) is that they should know that they change an age, but without a party, and without presents. We will make a deliberate memory to mark the occasion, and that will be the milestone for the girl to hold on to as her birthday. This year we plan visit Seaworld, as Aïcha will appreciate it and remember it for a while.

I guess this is a natural progression of our no-personal-possessions philosophy where all items are shared by the family and used by individuals in turn. The only possessions that we permit the girls to think are theirs are their security blankets. Everything else is “ours”.

We don’t want our girls to expect presents at a certain time of year, or because clever marketing and popular culture endorses it. We don’t give gifts to our girls except as rewards or with spontaneous generosity. No birthday gifts. No Christmas gifts. If something comes in the mail, it is opened when it arrives. (And no, I won’t wait until a specific date even if the parcel is marked with clear instructions.)

So that’s how we do it, and we’ll see how long we can continue it. Without the influence of television, the girls have no idea of the heavily-marketed characters and do not recognise advertising as pushing something desirable.

Brioni, 17 months, February 2008

Aïcha, 2yo, February 2008