Texas School Stops Birthday Swats

Even decades later I remember the birthday “paddy whacks” we would dole out on the schoolyard at recess. When we were little it was cause for hilarity. When we were just beginning to “like” boys or girls it was an awkward/embarrassing excuse for a group of one sex to grab hold of one of the opposite sex (single sex liking was not socially accepted on schoolyards then, sorry).

Then, there would be lots of teasing and laughing while someone was put through the mill of whacks — imagine a line up of kids swatting the birthday kid scrambling as quick as possible past their “friends.” But even if I put quotes around friends, because it wasn’t always your closest buddies doing this, it was always your classmates. Peers. People of your own age. 

Principal Paddy Whacks

In Texas, an elementary school recently made the news after parents complained about a principal’s practice of offering birthday spankings “along with a birthday/special day pencil and a piece of candy.”

birthday swat

Texas Elementary School

The principal said in a letter home to parents that no more than five pupils had requested “something other than the birthday swat” over her past eight years. Plus, she said that the spankings were on camera and there were “always other adults in the office celebrating with us all.” (UHM, them being on camera helps her case how?).

Students who rejected the spanking had the option of a birthday hug or high five. Yet now, based on a few parent complaints, the practice has been cancelled in favor of the hug or high five options only.

In one report of parent reactions, “one said it was done in a playful manner, while another said it was a fun tradition and her kids ‘always look forward to it’.” 

A NY Daily News report quoted parent Jessica Moore telling a local TV station, ”If it was a big deal to the kid, they would’ve brought it up way before now.”

Parent Heather Redder suggested the distress was due to a lack of understanding. “They’re not used to a small community,” she explained. “And that’s what we are. People that move here from the big city, they don’t realize, and they’re not used to this.”

Mine was not a small community, but in Canada and Britain the paddy whacks are admittedly more common. Still, even being the nerd I was throughout all my schooling, I can’t imagine having the principal swatting my bottom being something I would enjoy on my birthday. In my world you tried to steer clear of the principal at all costs! Admittedly, I probably would have been pretty excited about that special day pencil though.

Matching your Birthday Month to Your Enthusiasm Level

birthday month

Image source

If your birthday is this month, according to a writer for Sweety High, you “always anticipate” your birthday “will be as awesome as [you’ve] imagined.” After all, you’re one of the “optimistic May babies” who can “seize the opportunity to celebrate outside and take advantage of the great weather.” Even if the weather isn’t so great, you’ll  “tend to look on the bright side of things.”

Of course, this article has absolutely no sourcing, so it could all be the opinion of Amanda Pillon, the writer for Sweety High (yes, that really is the site’s name). But who doesn’t love a good birthday personality predictor?

Checking out her view of October birthdays, I did not see myself in the first half of the description about loving Halloween and turning my party into a costume party. Yet, I could agree with the second half at least:

“…they wouldnt change their birth month for the world. The timing also means that fall is back in full swing, meaning the weather is cool, the style is fashionable and the candy is abundant.”

Birthday Personality

My son is February, so I checked his description next. But it was all about people having given up their New Year’s resolutions and being able to eat cake with him and looking forward to spring. This one was definitely not written for a 10-year-old boy.

On to December, for my husband who has to deal with a holiday week birthday, and would definitely agree with the statement: “they really wish they could be any other time of year.” After all, Pillon tells us, “because of all of the holiday commotion, people are either forgetting your birthday altogether, or lumping your holiday presents in with the birthday ones….Youve probably considered celebrating your half-birthday in the summer, instead.”

My friend who does celebrate her half-birthday is actually an August birthday, so I read that one next. Apparently, “August babies know that it is the chillest month to have a birthday,” and “know theres tons of potential in an August birthday and that [their] job is to unlock it.”

Me, I don’t want my birthday to be a job, so I’m glad I’m not August. January didn’t sound so great to me either:

“If you were born in January, chances are that you see your big day as a mixed bag. While youre invigorated by celebrating your birthday along with a new year and new beginnings, you dont love it when people skimp on the gifts because they just bought you ones for the holiday.”

March birthdays seem a little disappointing too: “March birthdays dont always live up to the expectations you have for them…the weather absolutely cant seem to make up its mind…Plus, everyone seems distracted by tests and school, and spring break never seems to coincide with your special day.”

Birthday Spin

April gets a positive spin though as “Everyone else has a good association with your birthday, too, because they relate it to the sun shining and the flowers blooming.”

June, too, since “June birthdays mean summertime is officially here, and June babies cherish that.”

She also had high hopes for November birthdays: “everyone is getting into the holiday spirit, but pre-holiday present-buying panic hasnt set in. Your birthday gets to sit comfortably in the middle.”

A July birthday, on the other hand, “means freedom. Youll never have to worry about being in school for your birthday, and you can essentially transform your big day into a summer-long celebration all about you.”

Now, the summer-long celebration part sounds appealing, but I think the line that most appealed to me came in September’s description.

Although it is the most popular month to be born, there’s the upside of having “the first birthday of the school year (which is also the most exciting birthday all year).” And, the part I liked best, “everyone is eager to get back into celebration mode, so they jump at the opportunity to make yours a great birthday. You love being a star for a day.”

Why, yes, I do love being the star — only in October. See you then!

Celebrity Birthday Greetings

As a huge Alias fan, I’ve always really admired Jennifer Garner. Where others might say they could see themselves being friends with Jennifer Aniston, my imaginary celeb best friend would be Garner.

Her birthday shoutout to Reese Witherspoon earlier this year only clinched it for me:
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Witherspoon and Garner are long-time “gal-pals” (man, I hate that phrase, but I would be Jennifer’s gal-pal if she’d have me!). Witherspoon sent a birthday greeting of for Garner’s birthday too:

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Of course, this tells me that Garner spells her name with just one “n,” which is a bit disappointing to this two-n Jenn, but I can accept it. We don’t have to be the same people, after all…

Nonetheless, I love what says about friendship and birthdays. It doesn’t matter how rich or poor, famous or not you are (and your friends are), you still want to celebrate birthdays and let friends and family know they are loved.

Spice Girl’s Fruit Cake Prompts Commentary

I’m a bit of a Posh Spice fan. I can admit it. Although when the Spice Girls were big I probably appreciated Ginger Spice more. But, Victoria’s last name says it all, really. She landed David Beckham. And, although I love my own husband, of course, David Beckham is very much on my list. 

Victoria’s Birthday Cake

So, when I saw a blog criticizing Victoria Beckham’s birthday cake, I couldn’t click on the link fast enough to see what the fuss was about. Turns out, the fuss was about Watermelon. The kitchn story announced: “Victoria Beckham’s Birthday “Cake” Is Just a Big Watermelon in Disguise.”

When Beckham turned 44, she posted a video of her daughter sweetly singing “Happy Birthday” as the cake was sliced in front of handmade cards on Instagram. 

birthday cake

And the commentary began: 

The kitchn columnist said, “If you put this ‘cake’ and a real cake in the same place, no one would eat this one because there would be real cake.”

She collected some of the twitter responses, and I did quite enjoy these ones:

birthday cakeScreen Shot 2018-04-27 at 9.05.41 AM

Cake Alternative Accepted

Still, I have to say there is nothing wrong with a healthy alternative to cake (at least not for someone else, that is). Not everyone loves cake. If I loved cake less, I could likely go to the gym less too…

To me, it’s one thing to have a few laughs over the cake, but quite another to bash her eating choices overall. Those comments I won’t be repeating. She was happy with the cake, and loved that her family knew her so well. 

Her daughter sang! There are handmade cards, people! In March Time reported, her “net worth is about $450 million, thanks to brand sponsorships, modeling contracts, and a massively popular fashion label.” That’s just her net worth, without David. The kids could probably afford greeting cards — but they made them! And they made her a fruit cake instead of having a seven-tier something-or-other custom-made by some celeb chef. 

Say what you might about the watermelon having seeds or it not being a real cake, but it was prepared with love, which is what birthdays are about in the end!

Age calculator has to be a scam right?

I have acknowledged previously that math is not my favorite subject. Still, I am not numerically illiterate. Really, I can’t imagine why anyone would need the help of a site I came across answering the question: “How old will I be in the future?”

age calculator

Clearly the site is targeting younger people. The default year is 2000, and those of us who need to go back from there (not so far back, I swear) have to painstakingly click and click and click (not that many times, I swear) to get to our birth year.

At least now, thanks, to this handy dandy calculator I can now admit that I am exactly 45 years, 6 months, and 13 days old.

Now, I know you are going to gasp with shock and awe when I tell you this, but on April 20 2019, I expected to be 46 years, 6 months, and 13 days old (give or take a day — allowing for leap year).

You know what? I was right, I should be that age exactly! The calculator confirms it. Wowza!

But what’s my exact age, really?

You can also simply click on a year and it will do the calculation for you. In 2035, I will be 62 years, 6 months, and 13 days old, which, actually, suggests I didn’t even need to worry about the leap year messing with my day-to-day count.

If you really want specificity, you can click on the age calculator and enter your hour and minutes of birth, plus your timezone, and learn “your exact age.”

So, the real question, is why would someone take the time to develop this site? The comments don’t indicate a swell of enthusiastic users oh-so grateful for this calculator’s help:

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Although I did appreciate Lele’s sense of humor when he/she commented: “what if the world ended don don don.”

Perhaps it is just for passive income generation (note the embedded ad in the image above). The site did also feature a few famous birthdays — though it is no competition for the site FamousBirthdays.com, which is insanely successful. The age calculator site offers blogs too actually, so I clearly need to be paying more attention to my competition!

In the meantime, consider this blog a Public Service Announcement letting you know where you can calculate your age down to the minute. You’re welcome.

 

One More Birthday Power to Enjoy.

You can easily imagine this headline: “Birthdays should allow you to choose your age” caught my attention. I’m all in for anything that gives me more power on my birthday — mwahahaha!

A writer in the Zanesville Time Recorder was going to celebrate her birthday by being 45 again. She noted this meant her older son was born five years before she was. She made an interesting observation though: “why not? If I can identify as either sex or any color or nationality, I choose to identify as a 45-year-old.”

We are a society increasingly open to people making their own identity choices. So, age fluidity could just be added to the list.

The writer further admitted, “truth be told, I feel as if I should be about 25. This aging stuff never really bothered me much.”

This year my birth certificate would attest to the fact that I am actually 45. I’ve written recently about reaching a point in my life where the number is making a dent on my psyche.

But I’ve been thinking more lately that maybe the reason we get so caught up in the numbers, and surprised when we reach them (30! 45! 50! AARP’s 55!..gulp 60!) is that we have no personal context for the experience.

Birthday Age

Remember when we were elementary schoolers who thought that being 21 was just as old as a 40-something? Basically, people were sorted into “babies,” “kids like us,” “teenagers,” “adults,” and “grandparents.”

Even in our twenties, we had the groupings: “younger than us,” “adults,” “parents” and “grandparents.”

But now that I’m in my mid-40s, I have to recalculate. Forty-five has always seemed old before now. But then I look ahead at how old people are getting (those 110 year olds I wrote about), and have to realize I could have another 45 years to go! If I feel old now, what am I leaving myself for later? Ancient? Crone?

I wish I could agree that the “aging stuff never really bothered me much.” It hadn’t for the longest time. She’s got the healthy point of view: “The best part of aging is that age really is just a number. And as you grow old you start to forget what that number actually is.”

Maybe I’m just not old enough yet to embrace that perspective. Still, I’ll admit I’m all for the idea of being whatever age you want on your birthday. Or at least acting that way! Most who know me would argue I act like a spoiled 9-year-old girl every birthday — complete with balloons, baked goods, and a big, brassy “it’s all about me” attitude.

Humor helps gentlemen to reach 110.

Britain’s oldest men are both turning 110 this week. Yes, 110!!

The Telegraph in the UK reports, “The two have credited their old age to porridge and a good sense of humour.”

Well, I like to think I have one of those covered, but I will need to develop an affinity for porridge if I want to be a centenarian (which, honestly, I’m not sure I want to be. But surely that’s similar to the 10-year-old totally unable to imagine what it would be like to be 43? By the time I get closer to 100 I could be surprised at how awesome it really is).

Another great thing about these two men? Although they have never met, they have exchanged birthday cards for years! It’s as if they have embraced the idea of having a birthday twin! Both Robert Weighton and Alf Smith were born March 29 1908.

Secret to Old Age

Former farmer Smith’s recipe for longevity? “Porridge is helpful and having a job you enjoy.

Weighton, an engineer most of his life, said: “I think laughter is extremely important. Most of the trouble in the world is caused by people taking themselves too seriously.”

birthday longevity

Photo by sandeepachetan.com on Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

Weighton also “dismissed smoking as ‘horrible’ and ‘absurd’ after trying it in his early teens and is equally unimpressed by wealth, saying he ‘never wanted to become rich.’”

Some would say, though, he is rich with family. The father of three has 10 grandchildren and 25 great-grandchildren.

If I do make it to centenarian and they are interviewing me about what I attribute my longevity to, I hope I’ll still be able to say “good friends, good books, and the occasional sweet.” (I put occasional in there assuming I’ll have to cut back more to get to 100!).