It was Max's first birthday on Saturday - can you believe that! A year since he was born. I know it is a terrible cliché, but seriously - this first year has flown by. As hard and long and intense as the first year with the twins was, is as easy and quick as the first year with Max has been. With the twins, my whole life was turned upside down. Max has hardly disrupted my life at all. Perhaps it is because my life is pretty disrupted anyway, so one other baby is not going to shake things up too much ;-) Actually, I think it is because I already have kids (so I am in the 'zone' already), plus there is only ONE of him (<-- can't stress this fact highly enough! One baby = fun, two babies = not so much fun), plus I am an experienced mom, plus he really is an easy baby. I really hit the jackpot this time around.
Poor Max, he is already suffering from second/third/last child syndrome. Hand-me-downs, hardly any new toys, far fewer photos and a first birthday party that was spartan in comparison to the twins first birthday party. The twins had 25 kids and 30 adults attending. Max had his siblings, one set of cousins and the daughter of a friend of mine. 6 kids, 6 adults. However, his party might have been smaller, his gifts fewer but there was no lacking in the love. I love love LOVE that child. So much. My totally delicious no-so-little baby. Yum.
I have a question for you, am interested in your opinion....
I recently came across a charity that really touched my heart. In fact, I had met the person who runs it about five years ago and then lost contact. Then recently I heard of them again. They are an elderly couple who run a safe house for abandoned and HIV positive babies and young kids. With no government funding, relying purely on their savings and a few donations from the local community, they take care of about 25 kids at a time.
I remember 5 years ago, sitting in the paediatrician's rooms. I saw an elderly white lady holding a tiny black baby. I started chatting to her and she told me about her charity. I asked her for her website details, and she smiled at me. No website, they are an elderly couple, they dont know about websites etc. It was my turn to see the doctor and when I came out, she was gone. There are many, many needy charities in South Africa but this woman struck a cord with me.
Then, about a week ago I was at a kiddies play place (in fact, the best kiddie play place in Cape Town - Kidzone - run by my friend Bev) and Bev was telling me that she wanted to raise funds for a particular charity and would I help. She started talking about the charity and I realized it was the same couple! This was meant to be. I am going to post about them soon (I am just waiting for some pictures), but this brings to my question...
Adam and Kate (and therefore by default, Max too) have lots and lots of toys. More toys than they can possibly play with. I have already donated bags full of their hardly used toys that they have outgrown to other charities, but honestly - Max does not need any new toys. There is more than enough stuff for him to play with.
So what I wanted to suggest to family and friends is that they don't buy him a gift for his birthday, and instead buy something for the charity, or donate the gift to the charity. They need it much, much more than Max does. Max has enough clothes, toys etc. But then I thought, I wonder how fair that is to Max? Is it ok for me to decide on his behalf that he shouldn't get gifts for his first birthday? *I* think it is ok, but should I be making that decision for him? I don't know. I was very close to telling people that is what they should do but then another thought struck me (I think too much) - maybe I am being unfair to the grannies and family etc, maybe they want to give Max a gift? Aarrghh! In the end, I left it. I thought that I would allow Max to get his gifts, but I would help the charity as well. I would do both.
What do you think? Do you think it would have been ok for me to ask people to donate to the charity instead of buying Max a gift? Or not? Unfair to Max? Unfair to grannies/family? Or is it ok for me to decide as his mother?
Some pics of his birthday here http://www.flickr.com/tertia