Our little bear is five years old now! He had a good birthday.
The first thing we did for Russell's birthday was actually on December 15th, because that was the last school day before the holiday break when we could do a school celebration. At Russell's preschool they do a nice ceremony for the birthday child; the parent brings in some pictures and information chronicling the child's growth over the years, and Teacher Jory presents all that to the children, one year at a time. After each year's description, they chant something like "the earth moves around the sun" while the birthday child carries a small globe around a candle. I'm going to put the pictures and text I chose in a post here, too, above this one, so you can see it as well (probably already have by the time you read this).
On Russell's actual birthday, David took a vacation day from work (one person asked if he was celebrating the Solstice) and we had a lunch party at Metta and Roger's apartment, where we had the presents and cake. Russell was very appreciative of all his presents; the biggest hit was undoubtedly the huge present from Grandma and Grandpa, a foam log cabin playhouse that he can put together himself.
Russell loves it when we have "Kids' Night" at our house, and that was how he most wanted to celebrate his birthday with other kids. On Kids' Night (known among parents as Date Night!), nine kids from five families -- four about Russell's age (including Russell) and five about Silas' age (including Silas, who's actually the youngest by about five months) -- gather at one family's house, and from 5-8 pm, the parents from that family watch them and feed them and play with them and (eventually) plunk them in front of a video. The kids all love it, and the parents have a reasonably good time babysitting and a great time on their four earned nights off, too!
So anyway, the night after his birthday, we hosted Kids' Night and included a few birthday things like cupcakes they could decorate. You won't be surprised to hear the party favors were mostly from SCRAP -- we got some neat, pretty red boxes there, decorated with beads, and filled each with stickers from SCRAP and some little modeling clay packs and some mints. Russell did most of the preparation of the boxes, too. It seemed just the right amount exciting; Russell had a good time without any emotional crash. He was very pleased with the whole thing, including some lovely presents from his friends.
Then, on the 23rd, it was back to getting ready for Christmas!