I knew from the moment the ultrasound technician told us “it’s twins!” to our delight (and later our exhaustion) at my first prenatal appointment that celebrating two kids born on the same day would be a challenge. Birthdays were a big deal in my house growing up – a chance to celebrate the person with gifts, special dinners, outings, and, of course, cake. Now I would have to do this for two kids born on the same day, so that as twins, they each felt special, loved, and seen.
Fast forward two years and I gave birth to our third child. And I mean fast forward almost exactly two years. Our youngest was born just two days after the twins’ second birthday. All that concern I had about celebrating the twins’ birthday tripled. Literally. (I was also in a state of perpetual anxiety on the twins’ second birthday, fearful I would go into labor and then every single one of my kids would share the same birthday. Yikes.)
Those birthdays are approaching again this year: the twins will turn five on February 20th and my youngest will be three on February 22nd. While I dread the day they request three separate parties, I have a system down for now and have picked up a few tricks and traditions over the past few years.
One big party. We currently celebrate with just our own (large) extended family. Someday I’ll have to figure out how to balance a birthday party with friends, but for now we have one big birthday bash for them all. It’s not practical or feasible to host separate parties when they’re just two days apart on the calendar! I also throw their party the weekend before their actual birthdays. It’s so nice to be done with the chaos of hosting a party beforehand so I can enjoy their birthdays with them.
Go all out on the theme. Since I only throw one big birthday party each year (okay, this is a serious advantage to having kids so close together), I go big with the theme. With boy-girl twins (plus another boy) it’s especially important to me to do something gender neutral. We’ve had a “ties and tutus” theme, a barnyard bash, a Candyland birthday, and, my personal favorite, last year’s dinosaur princess party. Their interests are essentially the same right now, and while they’ve each tossed out their own individual ideas for a party this year they are all equally excited for the Superhero theme I’m planning.
Individual birthday cakes. It’s important to me they each have their own cake at the big birthday party. How else would they get to blow out their own candles? And then I let them dig right in. I usually have cupcakes or cake pops for everyone else, but the birthday kids get to dive right into their own individual cakes. (Though others haven’t been shy about sneaking a slice later!)
Birthday outings. On their actual birthdays, we go on a birthday outing. The benefit of having three kids so close together is they all like the same things. We’ve gone to the children’s museum, bowling, and the zoo over the years. It makes for a crazy couple of days – two big outings in a short time span! This year we’re planning to tackle the Mall of America and Nickelodeon Universe on my youngest’s birthday. He’s a daredevil who loves rides, and the twins will love it, too!
One-on-one time. We’ve enlisted babysitters to help their days feel more special. On the twins’ third birthday, we had someone watch our youngest so we could go bowling without chasing a baby around the bowling alley. I’ve taken our youngest out on his own excursions without his siblings, so the day truly feels like his. Our family birthday outings are fun, but it’s also exciting to spend time with just the birthday kid(s).
Birthday shirts. Every year I give them a birthday shirt with their age on it to wear for their party and/or on their birthdays. Hopefully it helps to make the day feel more special – I will be so sad the year they decide they’re too “cool” for these!
Scale back where possible. This is a tip just for me. With the chaos of hosting out-of-town relatives, throwing a party, and the plethora of other festivities all in the same week, it’s important for me to find the time to recharge where I can. I say no to social outings and other events so I can focus on resting (or just prepping those birthday decorations!) in peace. My introvert side thanks me later when I have 40 party guests and three birthday kids hopped on cake running around a house strewn with wrapping paper and paper plates.
In a lot of ways, birthday week is more chaotic than Christmastime. There’s all the prepping and hosting and gift wrapping and presents and sugar and adventures. It’s just about as expensive. It can be overwhelming and busy and the preparation consumes my attention for most of the month of February. We (or at least I) breathe a sigh of relief when it’s all over, three birthdays in two days successfully celebrated once again. It’s also ridiculously fun. And, at least for now, the kids don’t know any different. Everyone gets celebrated at the same time, they all turn another year older at the same time, and I can even knock out those well-child checks at the exact same time. It’s all we’ve ever known, so I really can’t imagine it any other way.
Anyone else out there have kids with birthdays that are super close together? How do you make their days feel special?