Today is my baby clone’s birthday, she is seven years old! Last year, when she was in kindergarten, we were allowed to bring cake and ice cream to celebrate her birthday. However, this year, her teacher has a policy of no birthday parties. I am a bit glad to hear though that she is not the only one who has this policy. Drstel also had the same situation with her son.

Happy birthday, too, by the way! Anyway, I can understand why they instituted this no birthday celebration policy. Not only are they promoting healthier snacks to curb childhood obesity and concentrating more on academics rather than parties; birthday parties are also hard on the children whose parents cannot or choose not to celebrate their birthdays at school, as the clones teacher pointed out. I can understand this, for even though all the kids enjoy having the extra treats at the time some of them may feel badly when their birthdays come and they don’t have a treat to bring at school for some reason or another. It could be that their parents are busy, they can’t afford it, or maybe their parents are not familiar with this practice.

The later I think is geared more to the growing number of Latino students who are now attending their school. Many of their parents do not speak English and don’t always understand what is going on at school or how things are done. The school system is trying hard to reach these families though, through English/Spanish classes and interpreters during PTA meetings. All the announcements sent home are also bilingual English/Spanish.

Back to the subject of birthdays, the clone’s teacher came up with what I thought was a very novel idea. She asked that I send a list of milestones for each year of the Clone’s life up until now. She has a ceremony to celebrate their birthdays. First, she has the class sit in a circle. In the middle of the circle is a yellow ball, symbolizing the sun. The celebrant, walks around the circle while the teacher recites the milestones in her life so far. She circles the class and the sun, seven times, one for each year of her life. At the end, everyone claps and if they have questions they can ask.

I thought that was a great idea. The Clone sure did like it, and she didn’t even mind that she didn’t have a cake in class. We’ll have a cake for her at home. She has requested her Dad’s famous chocolate cake (thank goodness I’m off the cake making duty!)

Here is what I sent (this was last minute again, I typed it up Friday morning before she went to school, so I probably missed something or could have probably thought of something more fitting if I had taken more time):

THE CLONE Born October 24, 1997, 2:47 a.m. at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, NC

1997 – Grandma Virginia came all the way from California to witness her birth. Her whole family was so happy she was born that they had a big party to welcome her, and she received lots of gifts.

1998 – The Clone’s first birthday was celebrated at the state fair in Raleigh. She can walk by then, but she was too little to walk around at the big fairground, so she rode in the stroller. She loved Teletubbies, and her favorite one was Po, the red one who was the smallest one like herself. Her Aunt Jackie made her a Teletubbies birthday cake. (This part, embarassed her. She said she could have done without the mention of Teletubbies. I guess she is growing older.)

1999 – When she was two, she experienced going to school for the first time by visiting her sisters at their class during parties and special events. She even went on their field trips!

2000 – The Clone and her family welcomed the new millennium at her Dad’s new studio in downtown Durham. By this time, the teachers at her sister’s school knew her so well that they let her spend the day in class. She loved big kids school!

2001 – The Clone spends her summer vacation in California with her grandma and grandpa, for the first time without her mom. Her grandpa took her and her sisters fishing.

2002 – The Clone wanted to go to school so bad because she wanted to learn how to read. But she was too young to go, so she went to pre-school at La Petite Academy where she started learning her letters.

2003 – The Clone starts Kindergarten at EK Powe in Ms. Prince’s class. Her sister Jade was in 5th grade so they rode to school together.

2004 – She is in Ms. M’s first grade class and learned to be a good reader and writer.

Since her birthday is in October, we have had a halloween themed party for her, and we’ve also gone to the fair on her other birtdays. This is a picture from her third birthday party, which was a costume party. My girls all decided to wear their chinese outfits.

I can’t believe they were ever that little!


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