Monday, July 18, 2011

Flagrantly Unfair Birthday Flip


Birthday son playing in honor of day his mother bore him

With scorn and derision, Little Prude would read in her Childcraft ‘Customs Around the World’ book that  some backwards nation like Norway* honors MOTHERS on their children’s birthdays.

“How silly,” she would say loftily. “Everyone knows that the kid is the important one on her birthday. ON MAY 18.” She would say it loudly in the direction of Norway, hoping a scornful and derisive tone would prevent the barbaric custom from hitting American shores.

A few decades and 3 sons later, The Prude recognizes the role, however peripheral, a mother plays in childbearing.

But she is not one to buck tradition.
Birthday son (and cousin) preparing to spit on cake his mother made him

So she baked her middle son's favorite cake for his birthday. She made his favorite pretzel salad along with her fifty-eleventh potato salad of the summer and sallied forth to honor the child who did nothing but complain about the lighting, the temperature and the quality of his food on the day he was born.
Birthday son opening gifts in honor of the day his mother bore him

Next year, we celebrate in Norway.



*The Prude is not positive the Mother-honoring nation is Norway. She can’t find her Childcraft issue to confirm.

6 comments:

Lori said...

Very funny!!!

I haven't thought of Childcraft for ages. My favorite was the music book. I don't recall reading about Norwegian birthday traditions, but my parents' set is down in my basement and I think I'll go check it out today.

The Prude said...

Lori, my set is from 1962! I still have most of the books- at least I thought I did. No music one in the set, but great little fictionalized history stories that got me started on my love of history.

Lori said...

I have the 1960 volumes 1 through 6 and 11(the music one) on my shelf. The rest must be packed away. I looked but couldn't find your Norway birthday story. It must be somewhere in 7-10. Someday I'll find those. Fun!

Robin J. Steinweg said...

I laughed--out loud!--though there's no one here to hear. I will wait breathlessly to hear the outcome of Lori's research (or yours).
Happy Kirk's Birthday, Prude!

bethBA said...

Well, ladies: first, I didn't know anyone else who still had their Childcraft books and now I find two of you! Second, I have the 1954 set of Vol. 1-15 (and yes, #11 was also my favorite, Lori. :-) ) I looked thru the "Life in Many Lands" and didn't find any such story. And the Table of Contents for the set didn't list anything for b'days - just celebrations and holidays where you could learn how to make b'day party invitations and learn how to play "Button, button - who's got the Button?"(sorry Anita!). And thirdly, sometime in my early 20's when I was single, working, and had money I got the idea that I should honor my mother on the day of celebrating my birth. I sent her flowers during the day and went to her house for b'day dinner. She was happily dumbfounded and asked me why I sent them to her. I replied that, after all, she is the one who went thru the blood, sweat, and tears. I continued the bouquets for some time and don't remember when or why I stopped...

The Prude said...

Oh Beth, now I have to tear my house apart to find that Childcraft! I didn't dream it (did I?)
What a wonderful thing to do for your mom! This year on my birthday I thought of my mom. She had such hard labor that she tells the story of how she came out to tell my dad everything was fine, and then went to the delivery room to die :)