32 Going on 33

I don’t understand people who don’t like their birthdays. What’s not to like? You’re getting a year older. Big deal. Actually, it is a big deal but not the “one year closer to death” fest most people make it out to be. You shouldn’t lament your age, you should celebrate it. Most of us (including myself) know too many people who weren’t fortunate enough to get older. So lighten up, and live it up!

I love my birthday. I always have. I don’t go as far as taking off from work, and I don’t really get off on throwing parties for myself (I love it, but don’t expect others to love it as much as I do), but I usually take at least part of the day to treat myself to a pedicure, a fun lunch and do something special with my family (those I can force guiltlessly to share the love). I’m also a gift whore. Being rather particular, family members usually opt for the DIY route when it comes to presents. My parents are “getting” me this necklace from Smart Glass Jewelry. It’s from the Eco Meets Edge line, with a bronze chain (easier to maintain than sterling silver) and the circle’s made from white wine bottles. Mom and Dad have such good taste:)

Large circle on large brass chain, $54, smartglassjewelry.com.

Not sure what the hubs has in store for me. I think he’s out on the hunt right now. He’s not allowed to just hand me a check (that was written in our ketubah), so the pressure is on!

Tomorrow, I turn 33. (You will not see this on my Facebook page. Facebook birthdays are one of my social media pet peeves.) It’s not a monumental age. At 18, I could vote. At 21, I could drink. At 25, I could rent a car.

But, a recent survey showed that 33 is the happiest age (someone tell that to Jesus). According to the British website, Friends United, 70 percent of people over 40 chose 33 as their happiest year. I’m not sure why this is, but I look forward to finding out!

The budget-friendly, eco-friendly birthday gesture.

Today, a best friend’s son, Jack, turns three. We grew up together (Emily and I, not Jack). And as tempted as I am to spoil her son with presents, I have to hold back. Because I want to shower all of my friends’ kids with gifts. And well, that’s a lot of birthdays. Sure, for now, the little ones are satisfied with a sheet of stickers or a plastic piece of crap from the dollar section at Target. But it’s only a matter of time before they have to have the latest gadget and will turn their noses up at the cheapy things Aunt Lindsey (or “that lady with the wine glass in Mommy’s pictures”) can afford to send. And that’s the other problem. I have to send these gifts. All of my childhood and college friends live in other cities, so a birthday present for their kid might mean a few dollars, but then tack on taxes, shipping and handling and all of a sudden a simple toy car or book becomes a $20 ordeal.

A card is nice, but it gets thrown away. I’m happy to say that I’ve found what I feel is the perfect birthday gesture. It costs the same as a card (even less in some cases), and it’s sent electronically so there’s no carbon footprint. It’s an app.

Now, I’m just as much a fan of screen-free play as the next parent, but sometimes, an interactive, educational app is just what the doctor (or frazzled mother) ordered. My favorite kids’ apps come from a company introduced to me by Daddy Drinks, called Duck Duck Moose. His twins have about eight months on Jed so he knows of what he speaks. It changed my life.

Two dollars so I can sleep for ten more minutes, finish my meal at a restaurant, check out at the grocery without Jed freaking out. It’s worth it. A gift for the child and for mommy.

When you select an app from the app store on your iPhone, it gives you the option to gift it. Jed helped me pick this one out for Jack, called Musical Me:

These games are adorable, educational and totally tailored to the toddler skill set. Nothing angry or birdlike about them.

I have five Duck Duck Moose apps on my phone and use them as incentives for going potty, cleaning up, you name it. So the next time you feel torn about what to get your college friend’s little girl for her second birthday? Don’t stress. There’s an app for that.