Let's Start at the Very Beginning

Eliza Clark
June 3, 2008

It's a good place to start: the miraculous day they were born. The birthday. "MY birthday!!!"

Yes, it's a big, big deal.

Birthdays loom large in the preschooler consciousness. But not necessarily in the ways we immediately picture. They do get wildly excited about the parties and the presents, no doubt. There's more to it than that, though, isn't there? Because a little one's fascination with his own birth is hardly limited to one day a year. Oh no. He loves discussing it pretty much any time. And when we do talk about it with him, we can really see the wheels turning. It's a lot for a small person to process: there was a time when he didn't exist, then he came out of the tummy, and got a name, and grew and grew until...he became so big! Wow. It's an existential mystery that we adults have gotten used to, but that children are compelled to turn over in their heads -- over and over and over.

So, we say, talk about birthdays all year long. Read about them. Look at pictures of that unforgettable day. Have pretend birthday parties. There's no better way to help your little one sort out some of the big questions like who am I, what am I, and where did I come from?

And since it's List Day today (and every Tuesday), here are some of our very favorite books and toys on the subject of that most definitely "All About Me" day.

To relive the glorious day (or night) when your precious one was born or adopted:
-On the Day You Were Born by Debra Frasier
-On the Night You Were Born by Nancy Tillman
-Tell Me Again About the Night I Was Born by Jamie Lee Curtis

To fantasize about birthday celebrations:
-Happy Birthday to You by Dr. Seuss
-The Little Gorilla by Ruth Bornstein
-Mr. Rabbit and the Lovely Present by Charlotte Zolotow and Maurice Sendak

To play pretend birthdays, again and again:
-Birthday Party Birthday Cake

And for an extra special treat, create a personalized book about your little one's birth and first steps in this world:
-The First Adventures of Incredible You

From the Parents

  • Parent # 1

    Birthdays are fun !

    over a year ago

  • Parent # 2

    I love the half birthday idea, my niece's birthday is during the summer when all her buddies are gone on vacation so she doesn't see as many friends. By having a few over for sleep over on the half birthday makes her feel special.

    over a year ago

  • Parent # 3

    The half birthday is especially great if your child is a Christmas baby so they can celebrate in the summer and have their own special day!

    over a year ago

  • Parent # 4

    Another fun idea is to celebrate your child's "half birthday." We never make a big deal out of it, as we do our kids' actual birthdays. But they like being able to mark the day in some way. And when you're four AND A HALF rather than just plain old four, that's a pretty big deal.

    over a year ago


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