Life in Laos through the lens of a diplomatic wife raising twin toddlers.

M&O Birthday Snapshots

On M&O’s birthday, I witnessed for the first time the Montessori preschool birthday celebration which is pretty special. They use birthdays as a learning moment about the passage of time while also learning a little bit about the solar system. The birthday boy/girl stands in the middle of a circle representing the earth while holding a globe. As the teacher explains the age of the child, they then walk around a candle for each year of their age, just as it takes a year for the earth to circle around the sun. Brilliant! A living example of how the solar system works. And after each year, a volunteer gets to walk around the circle showing a photo of the birthday boy/girl at that age while the teacher discusses what that child was able to do at that age. I loved it and so did the kids…


M&O waiting patiently to walk around the candle.


A friend showing a photo of M&O as one-year olds.


After the candles get blown out, each child gives a hug or handshake before leaving the room to have their cake.


O with his friends eating their panda cupcakes (no, I did not make these).


M having some lively discussions at her table.

For their family and friends celebration we decided on a very low key, very simple, pool-side brunch. The only thing fancy about this event were their cakes which a very talented friend of ours made to order (including the 50 panda cupcakes for the school celebration). I only showed her a photo of M&O’s current favorite toys which included a Hello Kitty doll and an airplane, and she did the rest. In fact, the photo of the kitty only showed her wearing a simple red jumper with a red bow in her ear, but my friend’s rendition put her in a full kimono complete with white socks and flip flops and with multiple flowers in her ear. For the airplane, she special ordered white cotton candy for me to spread around the cake as clouds, wow! Sounds great in theory but didn’t work out in the implementation since I failed to distract O enough amidst the chaos of setting up the brunch and keeping M out of the pool before she put on her swimsuit and receiving guests all at the same time. Within the barely two minutes that I left O next to the cake, he had already eaten the decoration letters from his name and birthday message and was threatening to eat a wing!

Clouds or no clouds, the kids couldn’t believe seeing their toys in cake form, they enjoyed playing with their friends, and they had their fun swimming – all the things that counted the most and made the day special.


A very dressed up kitty, and notice three letters missing from O’s birthday message…yummy!


Trying to blow out the candle before the overhead fan did it for her.


Who ate all the letters Oakley?!

Well that’s all for the birthday marathon this year. Next year we might just have one giant celebration for all of us in one go. We shall see.

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2 comments on “M&O Birthday Snapshots

  1. Dani
    December 4, 2012

    Happy, Happy Happy Birthday M & O!!!! I hope it is a beautiful, beautiful year of learning and growing for all of you!

    Those cakes are so so neat! And I love the Montessori birthday tradition. I’m just starting to think about preschool here in Delhi. I want to wait to send Will until he is speaking at least a little bit (especially here where I’m not quite as comfortable with educational norms) but I’m debating between finding a Montessori school somewhere around town, potentially a long drive away, or sending him for a year to the pre-school here on the American compound, 500 feet from our front door. It’s more like a daycare than a real preschool and I’d prefer Montessori, but the proximity is hard to beat. Oh well, I think we’ve got at least 6 months or a year before we really start considering it. And that was a long tangent. What I meant to say was just happy birthday (and I love O’s face at the end eating his letters!!!)

    • Wanderlustress
      December 5, 2012

      Thank you Dani. I still can’t believe they are 3 already! I can tell you that our first foray into daycare was at FSI and I couldn’t value the proximity more. Just knowing how accessible the school was helped me mentally with leaving M&O there all day (although we never just popped in no matter how much we worried since they advised against it for the sake of the kids’ adjustment). So while a “Montessori” might sound nice, proximity and trust (given other FS kids’ experiences) can also go a long way. Good luck with your decision!

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This entry was posted on December 2, 2012 by in Laos and tagged , , , , .

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