For us, seven (rather than 5) seems quite a turning point and a more fitting age to mark the end of the early years of childhood (I have written about this before, here) and so we like to make their 7th birthday a little extra special.
A little extra special may not look like what a lot of families would call extra special. There is no "buy in" birthday entertainment, we don't do goodie bags, there isn't a long trail of children with endless prearranged activities.
My girls have been to a few of those, they don't enjoy them, they mostly feel disappointed that they don't get to play. I think what they miss is the connection which deep play brings.
Instead we have our faithful birthday rituals - the poem the night before, the tray, candle and crown in the morning while they wait in bed.These, I am certain, are the things they will remember about their birthdays - they love them so.
We also spend all day together each year and try to hold the sense of occasion without falling prey to having to fill all the spaces with hype - as with most things, consumerism seems to have ripped the heart out of what a connecting birthday celebration might be.
Being present with each other, feeling loved and having fun are our priorities.
One of Sky's favourite things is to be making art and so she invited an artist friend to spend the morning with her making art. In the afternoon she had invited her favourite friend for a tea party.
They had prepared for the big day by choosing a few special pieces of recently acquired jewelery of my Nana's the previous day. They also chose their outfits, the serviettes and the tea cups.
The sense of occasion was set.
Her day was a beautiful day.
A fishing hook was what Sky had repeatedly told me she wanted for her birthday.
Yes, really, just the one.
The embarrassing story is that she had got a fishing rod for her 6th birthday but we had never managed to actually go fishing! A whole year and the rods remained dusty and unused.
No excuses here but we really had no idea where to start. Bait? Hooks? Tides? Dealing with a fish with a hook in it's mouth! We thought that the fishing rod might give us the prod we needed.
And so this year we called on the help of Grandad and when we visited Wellington again last week, Grandad took us fishing.
Sky was delighted, as was Grandad.