Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Celebrating Birthdays and Bringing Back Old Technology

For Sly's birthday, we gave him an old-school Fisher-Price cassette tape player (very similar to the one I had as a kid), and a little box of tapes.  I had been lamenting for a while that there were no good modern ways for kids to listen to their own music.  I wouldn't trust a three year-old with cds.  And he couldn't use an mp3 player without being able to read (right?).  I wanted a way for Sly to play his own music in his bedroom, as I did when I was little.  "There's just no modern equivalent that works as well for kids as tape players!" I remarked in frustration to Tom. Then it dawned on me: we could just get him a tape player.  Who cares that it's not the newest technology?

There were a few failed attempts to snag one on eBay (I wasn't willing to pay more than $20), and then one day - as always happens to us if we just wait long enough - there one was, sitting on the shelf at Goodwill, just waiting for us.  For $5!  I still have some - though certainly not all, and certainly not a few of my favorites - tapes from my own childhood.  We rounded out the collection with a few more we picked up at thrift stores for 25 cents each.  Sly loves it, and has been listening to music at naptime every day.  I can't explain how heartwarming it is to hear him (via the baby monitor) begin to learn and love some of my own childhood favorites.  We also gave him a toolkit which has been a huge hit.

We gave Stella a Rock-a-Stack, which is amazingly one of the only toys we don't already own (or so it feels some days...) and Good Night Pittsburgh - a cute book featuring local places (I think they make them for other cities too).

And of course they got a billion other gifts from friends and family, and we're feeling a little overwhelmed by toys once again, and I think another silent purge is in order soon.


The birthday party went well.  I did a Peter Rabbit/Beatrix Potter theme, mostly because it involved very little work for me.  That's the theme of the kids' bedroom/nursery, so I just kinda raided their room for decor a half hour before the party.

It's not a party without punch!  This is just the traditional pineapple juice+ginger ale+sherbet.  Always a big hit.

Table is still a little bare because Sly's cake was in the fridge.  Stella got Beatrix Potter cupcakes.

Utilizing bookends as a napkin holder.

Sly loved his dirt cake with worms and dinosaur candles.  The plants are real, but edible - it's mint!  I saw the idea in a magazine, and would never have thought to do it, but it makes a nice touch.

This cutie pie kept her party hat on the entire time :-)

There were only two other children as guests, and both of them were with their parents.  We kept the invitees to family and a few close (adult) friends.  But it was still pretty exhausting dealing with my hostess duties as well as a much-too-hyper birthday boy all afternoon.  I am definitely not ready for the type of kids' parties where you invite just other children and then have to keep them entertained for a few hours!!


  1. I remember the Rock-a-Stack toy from when I was Stella's age! We even passed some of the rings down to my son Daniel.

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  3. You are so right about tape players and that sounds like the perfect present. I guess I haven't seen a picture of Sly for a while, because I can't get over how big he looks there!!