Our third [and final] child turned four on September 9th. I think he had a nice day and felt celebrated, but I felt badly because his birthdays are so different than his two older brothers were at the same ages.
With the first two boys we had parties with friends, games, decorations, treats, pinatas, crafts and adult beverages. We planned and prepared weeks in advance, allowing each boy to select a theme or a special party location. At the ages of three and four, the two older boys had preschool friends and had been to age appropriate places, like Build-A-Bear Workshop.
In most ways, Toddler Child is much more exposed than the first two boys were. Oldest Boy and Middle Boy were not allowed to watch shows like SpongeBob SquarePants or Rugrats. My friend T was visiting one time [he doesn't have children] and even he commented on the garish and off colors of animated shows for kids.
Oldest Boy  and Middle Boy  eventually watched SpongeBob SquarePants [Thankfully, Rugrats is off the air.], but it wasn't until they were seven or eight. We're stricter than most parents we know when it comes to movies and media that we allow our kids to view or play. Childhood is fleeting. There's time. I'm not worried about them missing anything.
Oldest Boy and Middle Boy are beginning to enjoy shows that many of our friends allowed their kids to watch at a much younger age. The problem? Toddler Child sees some of these movies and is now one of THOSE children that I used to shake my head in judgment and say, "WHAT are they thinking letting their child watch THAT?"
I called Chris one day in a huff because Middle Boy came home from kindergarten asking me if he could watch Mr. & Mrs. Smith like one of his classmates. Uh, no.
NOTE: Brad Pitt didn't stand a chance when he agreed to do that movie. Angelina Jolie was in her prime and looked stunning. I might have considered leaving Chris to go adopt babies all over the world with her too. Poor Jen. I can't believe she didn't see that one coming.
Sadly, as exposed as Toddler Child is to certain media, slang, and social ideas [via listening to his brothers], he's not exposed to many social experiences outside of our home. We don't have him in preschool, by choice, so he and I spend a lot of time together. He's not quite the parasitic head he once was. [Read here.] But we remain very attached to one another.
For his birthday I planned for the two of us to spend a few hours at a dinosaur museum near our home while Chris was at work and the older boys were at school. Toddler Child was happy with the idea. I felt guilty because I wasn't throwing a little party, but in reality, he doesn't know what he's missing. A day out with me when we don't have to hit Costco sounded great to him.
I called Supermodel and asked if Supermodel Jr. could go with us. Supermodel Jr. was available. She's the youngest of six children so she's more exposed than her older siblings were at her age also. She carried a purse, wore sunglasses and applied her lipstick with more skill than I currently do. Toddler Child was very interested in her. I was very impressed by her.
[Click all photos to enlarge.]
She had Toddler Child hold her purse while she colored. He looked a little uncomfortable, but politely obliged.
After the museum, we had lunch, visited a children's farm then stopped at the bakery on the way home to get Toddler Child's cake. I watched those two little kids interact, observed their differences and similarities, and was pleased to see how kind and polite they were to one another. It was a fun and memorable day for all three of us.
Even though it wasn't a party with lots of kids and a pinata, I like to think our third child felt celebrated, and I know that he will always appreciate the gift of enjoying your own company.