Growing up wasn’t meant to be easy

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“The whole crying-when-your-sibling-has-a-birthday thing drives me bananas. Surely he can suck it up and just let his sister have her birthday? Apparently not, yet,” writes Mummy columnist KATE MEIKLE.

ONE of the things I clearly remember when telling my mum the due date of my first born, was her saying how we hadn’t planned his birthday very well. And she’s right! 

Having a birthday in early January isn’t the best timing, especially for a little one who has ended up absolutely loving toys. 

Kate Meikle.

Birthdays are a long wait for all kids, but coming off the back of Christmas gifts, apart from picking up some birthday bargains during the Boxing Day sales, there’s not a great benefit. He asks me often how long away is his birthday, for a five-year-old it seems an age. 

It’s made it harder lately when his little sister turned three. This year she was really into it – counting the sleeps and choosing her cake design. It was an exciting time for her and us as we celebrated the end of the “terrible twos”. 

Part of parenting I had no idea I had to actually do is teach my kids how to receive gifts. It became clear when the kids started crying when a friend gave them a lovely, thoughtful and useful plate as a gift. To be fair, it’s hard to get pumped about a plate when you were hoping it was a Transformer! 

The kids also directly ask this generous friend if she has got a present for them every time they see her! Total parent cringe. 

But it made me realise the intricate social codes that we all work around when it comes to presents. 

I imagine my kids would say to me, after they complete their present training: “So, mum, let’s get this right, I can’t ask for a gift; I must act surprised and delighted with whatever I receive; I must wait until everyone is watching until I open it; I must thank them and tell them how much I like it (even if I don’t, really); I can’t cry when my sibling gets a gift and I don’t, and I have to wait an eon before my birthday comes around again…” 

Yes, kids. Growing up is tough! 

The whole crying-when-your-sibling-has-a-birthday is one thing that drives me bananas. Kind and generous people gave my son a small present to alleviate his sadness that he felt during his sister’s special day. It cheered him up, but I felt frustrated and a bit embarrassed by his whingeing. Surely, he can suck it up and just let her have her birthday? Apparently not, yet. 

This was until my big brother recently went through the family photo albums. There he was, turning 16 about to blow out the candles on his cake. What was I, his 13-year-old (and way too old for these shenanigans) sister doing? Having a big old cry in the background.

Like mother like son perhaps? Total parent cringe. 



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Kate Meikle
Kate Meikle is a staff reporter for "CityNews"

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