Four years ago, my husband kept joking about how great it would be to have a July 4 baby, because the hospital on the hill would likely afford a great view of valley fireworks.
As it turns out, my daughter waited until a week after her due date. She was indeed born on the Fourth of July. And yes, we did see some fireworks from the maternity ward.
She’s four on the Fourth this year, her golden (or star) birthday. As we’ve done for her first, second and third year celebrations, we’re hosting a mid-morning back yard shindig for friends and family.
Today, along with the usual neighbors, friends, playgroup members and knitting moms, we also invited her preschool friends. We know from experience that whole families show up together, due to the whole holiday thing, which means for every one of my daughter’s friends, we’re expecting four people. It’s going to be a big bash!
The interesting thing about this year’s party is my daughter’s fascination with doctors. Let’s just say she has a very specific career plan. So this year’s July 4 back yard bash has a “hospital team” theme, as per her request. She’s so excited about her birthday she didn’t fall asleep until midnight.
Along with the red, white and blue flags and crepe paper, we created a giant hospital sign. The kids will make their own lanyards (hole punched notecards and acrylic stash yarn) and they’ll color physician-themed drawings. We’ve turned the ever-useful lemonade stand into a First Aid counter, with boxes of Band-Aids, sticky gauze wraps, Qtips, cotton balls, medicine droppers that can double for giving shots, and non-latex gloves. There are a few costumes available for sharing, including a veterinarian coat and two nurse sets, but we’ve encouraged attendees to wear their own doctor duds if they have them. I purchased medical stickers from an online supply house–you know, the glossy square kind found at doctor’s offices–for the kids to “earn” when they take their turns as patients. We have a human body floor puzzle, a body book and the game Operation, too.
All this to say, I’ve been buying cellophane goody bags, baking, cleaning and pulling grass out of our rose beds instead of writing this week. But I’ve learned a few things even before the party has started.
- It’s OK to take shortcuts.
- Nobody will pay attention to the weeds when there are stethoscopes and hospital cupcakes to enjoy!
- Creating a themed party is similar to writing a story: coming up with elements relating to a central premise, putting them together, then hoping the guests (or readers) will engage in the experience–and that nobody will hog all the Band-Aids.
- My daughter is really, really obsessed with medicine.
- Next year, we’re going camping on the Fourth.
How are you celebrating America’s birthday this year?