Sharing A Birthday With Your Spouse

share birthday

Image source: Globe and Mail

 

Here is something that would be a recipe for divorce at my house — sharing my birthday. I know I’m a little (OK, a lot) birthday crazed. But I can’t be the only person who would NOT want to share her birthday with her significant other. Ugh! Worse would be having to share with your child…then, you’d have to be the grown up about it and all that kind of stuff.

Canadian John Beattie recently provided a personal essay to The Globe and Mail with the title “What it’s like to share everything – even your birthday – with your wife.” Of course, this first person account read like a horror story to me.

Beattie and his wife Zuraidah on July 30th each year compare themselves to a Hollywood power couple that share the same birthday too. They “wake up asking each other ‘what would Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones do?’” Since Christo and Jean Claude, the artists that wrap buildings and parks also share a birthday, I’m not sure why they don’t ask about them (although perhaps the answer there is too obvious — wrap something).

Statistics for Sharing

Beattie guesses there are other couples that are not so famous that are also “birthday sharers” but comments there is no special word to describe this occurrence. Yet, he writes, “there really should be. There are at least seven billion people on Earth. If everyone’s birthdays are spread out evenly that would mean each of us shares a birthday with more than 19-million people. That merits a word.”

It would have to a romantic one, apparently, since “just about everyone who knows [Beattie and his wife] as a couple thinks it’s really romantic.”

But as you can already guess, I do not agree. There is no romance in having to spoil my significant other on the day I want to be spoiled. Even my husband, who already has had to endure a December 30th birthday all of his life, would probably stick with his winter doldrums bday over having to share the birthday spotlight with yours truly.

Nevertheless, at least those who share a birthday don’t have to worry about forgetting their spouse’s birthdays. Yes, apparently it’s an issue. One third of those in an evite poll of 2,000 had done so. Men were twice as likely to space, and 9/10 of them were in serious relationships when they did so. Unsurprisingly, 12% of their relationships hit the skids because of the birthday gaffe.

Keep the Birthday Going As Long As You Want

 

Last blog I admitted my interest in American actress turned English Duchess, Meghan Markle. Kristen Bell is a celeb I pay even more attention to. C’mon she rocked as Veronica Mars and now is a treat in The Good Place. She also seems super-sweet and uses her fame for good (follow her on IG). Plus, she married Dax Shephard, who I also admire (after binge watching all of Parenthood earlier this year).

So, imagine my joy when I read this couple keep the birthday celebrations going as long as possible in their household!

Bell told Entertainment Weekly, “We have a rule in our family that it’s your birthday until you decide it’s no longer your birthday…Last year, I went well into September.”

You might need to know the actress turned 38 on July 18, 2018. Her hubby posted a fun pic of her. She posted an IG pic of her morning “makeover” courtesy of her daughters and the egg sandwich they served her in bed.

And before you think this actress just uses her birthday to soak up the pampering, note that she shared a follow-up Instagram video about donating $4,457 to help an immigrant mother reunite with her child. “What I really wanted for my birthday this year was a peaceful feeling,” she said.

Since Bell extended her birthday into September, it’s probably a good thing that Dax was born in January. Their daughters, Delta Bell and Lincoln, likely love the rule too!

In the meantime, since she may still be celebrating, I guess it wouldn’t be too late to send these to her social media accounts?

This is Valentino, a sloth at the National Aviary, celebrating his second birthday October, 2017.

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Or this one might make her smile too:

Birthday Bear Marketing Mayhem

When I was younger, I was a teddy bear collector. I loved plush bears, but all sorts of accessories with bears on them too. So, I probably would have lost my mind over Build-a-Bear’s “Pay Your Age” promotion — if I’d lived somewhere with the store.

Apparently, I would not have been the only person ready to lose their mind over the marketing ploy. Hundreds of people got in line to take advantage of the sale. Thousands of people received vouchers inviting them to purchase their toy another time. The company’s original July 12 event was so popular they had to call it off.

birthday marketing

“Based on the unprecedented response to our Pay Your Age Day event in our early opening stores, we are experiencing significantly longer than expected lines and large crowds. Local authorities are requiring us to limit the lines and crowds due to safety concerns,” the company stated.

Build-a-Bear stores, usually found in malls but also at tourist attractions in North America and Great Britain, let kids (and kids at heart) create a stuffed animal from scratch. The stuffed toys are not cheap — typically running $20 or more when you add in accessories. So people were excited over the idea of even kids as young as one-year-old being able to get in on the deal.

Build-a-Bear CEO’s Sharon Price John even ended up TODAY doing damage control. “We did see it wind up in social (media), and we did put a notice out for people that we thought the lines could be long, and we worked with the malls, but it was beyond anything we could’ve ever imagined.”

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Birthday Marketing Mayhem

In bringing back the promotion, the company has linked the idea more effectively to birthdays. On your birthday, you can “pay your age” to get a Birthday Treat Bear. The smiling brown bear, which normally costs $14, is available through the new “Count Your Candles” program. 

The kerfuffle was meant to launch the new Birthday Treat Bear, the CEO said. “Because up to one-third of our sales are actually associated with kids’ birthdays. It’s their most special day.

With the new iteration of the promotion, Build-a-Bear joins a long line of retailers marketing birthday-related deals. Based on a blog last month, though, in which a guy wrote to Ms. Manners to complain about embarrassing birthday attention — only ask about the birthday deal if you’re ready for a serenade or having someone else pick your dessert.

 

Two Birthdays = Big Wins

birthday lottery

I’ve written before about two birthdays as if it was unique. At least this year’s earlier blog about a baby actually being born twice remains distinct. But, I am learning it’s not as uncommon as I’d thought for a clerical error to give someone two special days. Nevertheless, I can’t resist this story about a 79-year-old Maryland man playing both his birth dates in the lottery and winning 1.9 million.

It’s like a trifecta — two birthdays and a nearly $2 million lottery win? That’s Uber-lucky!

The man, whose name was not released in the news report I saw, was born in Louisiana on April 21. But, it was recorded as April 23, and not officially corrected until recently.

When buying a Multi-Match ticket recently the man played his lucky numbers (based on his two birthdays) and scored the jackpot in the Maryland Lottery’s May 7 drawing.

“I was scanning the newspaper and flipped to the lottery section first, and when I saw the numbers my eyes just grew bigger and bigger,” the man said.

The winner quickly called his wife. “When I told her how much we had won, at first she didn’t believe me!” he said.

The man planned to enlist the help of a financial adviser and use some of the windfall to pay off their bills and donate to their church.

Another Birthday Lottery Win

At the same time, I also came across a young woman who hit the jackpot purchasing her first ever lottery ticket to celebrate her 18th birthday.

birthday lottery

Charlie Lagarde purchased the scratch ticket alongside a bottle of champagne (18 is the legal drinking age in Quebec, Canada). Given the choice of $1 million Canadian as a lump sum or $1,000 a week for the rest of her life, the 18-year-old decided on the weekly allowance.

“It’s without taxes so it’s equivalent to a salary of more than $100,000 a year, so it’s a great start in life for that young lady,” Patrice Lavoie, a spokesman for the lottery corporation, told the Canadian Press news agency.

The teen plans to invest in her education and travel. She said, “I want to study photography. One of my dreams would be to work for National Geographic.”

No word on what numbers she played, but seems safe to say her birthday was a lucky one.

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!

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.

Birthday Popularity — An Interactive Map

Clearly, I am not the only person out there who thinks birthdays are interesting. People with a lot more talent than I have for visualization and processing data have put together a cool heat map demonstrating the popularity of different birth dates.

Any loyal readers of this blog know already that September birthdays are the top-ranked for popularity, but on his “digital sketchpad for data stories” site, Matt Stiles provides an interactive way to see where your big day lands in comparison to others in the world.

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Birthday Popularity Ranked

To get the results, two decades of American birthdays, from 1994 – 2014, were averaged by month and day. There’s even an estimated conception date, for those who don’t shudder to think about that reality about their own parents.

Birthday popularity

It’s interesting to see that only one of the dates in the top 10 is outside of the month of September. Apparently October 14th is a particularly appealing day for parents to get busy!

While we’re at it though, let’s take a moment to reconsider the fact that you share your birthday with an estimated 11,000 people in America alone! That’s the median number of births per day.

A couple of other things I learned? Selfishly I of course looked up my own birthday. Turns out it is more common as a date of conception (netting a June 29 birthday at 111th), than it is a date of birth (115th, with a date of conception estimated at January 13 — no, Dad, if you’re reading this, I don’t need further detail about that critical January so many years ago…some things can be kept private between you and Mom, OK?).

I may not be a fan of data and statistics if I have to do any of the calculations. But I do love it when someone makes it so easy for me to sort through and find out cool stuff. Enjoy!

 

My Little Man is in Double Digits

 

birthday love

The kiddo in the picture above is turning 10 today. Ten! That’s double digits. As his Mom, I can tell you it is completely shocking to me that the 8 pound, 4 ounce (yes, I had to look it up — sue me) that used to span the length from my palm to my elbow is now an energetic, creative, funny, bright and (sometimes) sweet ten-year-old.

In his first year I described him as a boy whose likes and dislikes included:

  • “I like chilling on couch with Dad. I dislike sleeping for more than three hours at a stretch”
  • “I dislike being put in my crib or being left to my own devices. I like water (once I get used to it)”
  • “I dislike getting my ears checked and eating food with texture (other than Crackers/pretzels). I like cruising the furniture and eating Cheerios.”

Bigger Version of the Same

Amazingly, he’s now just a grown version of the same baby I described in that first year. For instance, I wrote at three months, that his favorite toy was “people.” It’s pretty much true still today. Sure, he wants those people to play Xbox One with him, but he’s definitely a people person.

He still doesn’t like going to bed or being left to his own devices! Judging by the opposition I face when I suggest it, he is still only a fan of water once he is actually in the tub. Plus, he still hates foods with certain textures, enjoys Cheerios, and has simply turned “cruising the furniture” into climbing all over it.

Really, the most shocking thing about I learned by getting out his baby book was how prescient his baby traits were for the boy he is today. Even “It is fun to show something (as if to give it) and take it away laughing” still fits. So does “I babble constantly.” Or “I loathe peas.” But a favorite that he hasn’t yet outgrown? “I hug.”

Thanks for putting up with this personal blog. You know I’ll be going all out today to fete my birthday boy.

 

 

 

Officer Brings Birthday Happiness to Boy

This one is sweet and sad. When an eight-year-old boy didn’t get picked up from school, and staff couldn’t reach an emergency contact, the police were called.

When Officer Darryl Robinson of the Green Bay Police department in Wisconsin arrived to collect the boy he recognized him immediately. He’d had a history with the family and knew the boy’s parent was incarcerated.

Even though no one had arrived to get him, the boy “was in good spirits,” Robinson said. Why not? It was his eighth birthday!

birthday generosity

Officer Robinson courtesy of GBPD

Officer Robinson courtesy of GBPDRobinson gave the birthday boy a ride in his patrol car. “He was very excited to ride in one,” he said.

Then, after reaching the grandfather to confirm it was OK, he brought the boy to McDonald’s. And just like that it was a happier birthday: “He loved playing with the toy in his Happy Meal.”

The Response is Sweet Too

People commenting on the story on the Police Department’s Facebook page thanked Robinson for his efforts. One woman offered to drop presents for the boy off at the police station to be delivered. Another commenter wrote:

“I think I just felt my heart break…Thanks to the officer for making that boy’s birthday a little better.”

I second that emotion. The officer did an admirable thing, but it’s sad to think of this boy sitting alone at school on his birthday. The good news is that it only took an hour or so before the boy could be reunited with his grandparent and siblings.

Makes me think of the blog I wrote earlier this year about being there for a kid’s birthday, and another one about agencies doing their part to make sure every child gets to celebrate a birthday. Glad to have a heartwarming tale to share though about birthdays even in the heart of this holiday season.

Appreciating the Birthday Spirit

Birthday kindness

Today marks the official end of my birthday week. Really, it’s been more like a birthday fortnight. Since, I started treating myself to “birthday” treats once Oct. 1 rolled around. As one more way to battle the letdown that I must now wait another year before celebrating again, I thought I would share some thoughts.

On my actual birthday, I started the day doing laundry and loading the dishwasher and…wondering why on earth I was doing these things on my birthday. Just as I was about to get grumpy, I reminded myself the birthday should be seen more as a state of mind.

Really, it shouldn’t matter what day I do what, as long as I am willing to actively appreciate the good in the day — any day.

Appreciating this Birthday

On this particular birthday I appreciated:

  • A lovely voicemail to start my day from a friend who was so happy to be on her way to see pandas. The joy in her voice would have been infectious any day, so I was happy my birthday gave her cause to call me that morning.
  • Having lunch with a friend who announced to our server it was birthday. The restaurant then responded by bringing a decorated plate to the table after our meal (shown above).
  • Taking the time to go to an art gallery I’ve walked by so many times before. Turns out the property is being reclaimed to be build up into business/residential, so I was extra lucky to check out the Charlotte Art League’s space before it was bulldozed.
  • Treating myself to a pedicure while reading a new book. Really, why is it so hard on other days to allow ourselves the time to just sit and relax for an hour and not feel guilty about it?
  • Getting to catch up with family members and friends by phone.
  • Going to dinner with “my guys” and having the excuse for all of us to dress up a little more than normal (my nine-year-old even brought out his fedora for the night out!).

Now, I originally did not appreciate going on to the next restaurant, where we planned to have dessert and watch the US World Cup qualifying soccer match, and finding they did not have 3 out of 4 of their offered desserts available. But, even this I could turn around as an opportunity to get frozen yogurt that night and get chocolate cake a different night.

You’ve got to love birthday versatility.

Ultimately, though, what this day made me realize is that so many of the aspects I enjoy about a birthday can and should be replicated on other days of the year too. Take it from a birthday queen — embrace the birthday spirit every day!