Today is my son’s 6th birthday! As a celebration of that big event, I thought I’d share some memories of his past birthday celebrations in posts over the next few days.
Age 1 (2004)
To celebrate his first birthday, we attended the Disneyland Birthday Celebration that they offer a couple times a day at the Plaza Inn restaurant on Main Street. At this event, everyone gets an undecorated cupcake along with small cups containing frosting and sprinkles to use to decorate them. A character named Pat E. Cake hosts the event and Mickey and Minnie Mouse also pay a visit. Quite a few of our friends were able to join us at the park for the party as well.
The first birthday also started our now usual tradition of going out somewhere for a bigger party, but also having a little family-only party at home with cake and the opening of his presents from us and various relatives.
This was also the one time that we attempted to make his birthday cake instead of buying one from the store, but we found that we generally lacked much cake decorating talent.
Age 2 (2005)
Andy’s 2nd birthday was probably his most low key birthday celebration to date. Originally, his grandparents (my wife’s parents) were planning to come out and visit during his birthday. Pretty close to the last minute, the trip was postponed until early December. This led us to do a small party at home with just us. A trip to Disneyland the following weekend gave us an opportunity to get together with some of our friends, but that wasn’t really treated as a birthday party.
For this birthday, we bought an ice cream cake from the grocery store, which he enjoyed very much. In fact, the ice cream cake has now become something of a birthday tradition for the family. Generally, Andy wants us to get one for his birthday each year and also strongly encourages my wife and me to have them for our birthdays as well. It looks like I somehow didn’t get any pictures of the cake that year, but I did get several of him eating it and the aftermath.
Of course, he also had quite a bit of fun opening his birthday presents, which were mostly toys that year. This was, I think, really the first time that he was very aware that the packages all contained fun things for him. I find it pretty funny that the photos generally show him with such a serious expression of concentration. Opening gifts is serious business!
Age 3 (2006)
For Andy’s 3rd birthday, we decided to take him to Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlour in Santa Clarita. Farrell’s was a very popular, party-oriented chain of restaurants when I was a kid, but it pretty much went out of business in the 1980s. In recent years, new owners have been working to revive the chain and the Santa Clarita location (which is located inside the Mountasia Fun Center) was the first location they opened. Remembering the fun we had there as kids, it seemed like a perfect place to take our son.
We decided to go ahead and buy one of their formal birthday packages, which included pizza, small ice cream sundaes, drinks, and a number of Mountasia game/ride tokens. Andy ended up using the majority of the game tokens for repeated rides on a little coin-operated merry-go-round. For some reason, he has a kind of sad-looking expression in all the photos that I took of him riding the merry-go-round, but I promise that he really did seem to be having lots of fun on it!
This was the first year that my wife and I decided to try and get Andy the hottest toy of the year as his birthday present, which was the special 10th anniversary “TMX” edition of Tickle-Me-Elmo. This toy was difficult to find, having been very much in demand following a generally impressive demonstration on Good Morning America on TV. After several weeks on a waiting list, but were able to get it from a local toy store in time for his birthday. While we found the toy pretty amusing, it actually was never really all that popular with Andy. In fact, he found it kind of scary at the birthday party and he never warmed to it entirely.
The Farrell’s party was actually the second of two birthday parties that we had for Andy that year. My wife’s parents visited a couple weeks before and we had a pre-birthday party where we served another ice cream cake and let him open his presents from that set of grandparents.
To Be Continued…