STFU Parents: Parents Who Wish Their Kids The Weirdest Birthdays On Facebook
Birthdays are such a pervasive part of social media, you wouldn’t think that I’d dedicate entire columns to how parents talk about them. Ever since the beginnings of Facebook, we’ve been able to tell our friends and one-time acquaintances ‘happy birthday,’ which remains a popular “in the know” feature. It makes sense, then, that parents are so eager to wish their children — who aren’t on Facebook and in many cases can’t read yet, much less talk — a happy birthday online, where their adult friends can all chime in with Likes and smiley faces. There was a time that I wondered why parents did this at all, as it seems counterintuitive to “talk” to people who aren’t actually in your network or on the internet, but I’ve started to come around on that as more and more of my friends have written heartfelt messages about their kids, and not necessarily to their kids, on their birthdays. Their kids’ *real* birthdays, that is.
You see, right around the time that I conceded to accepting these maudlin, annual birthday updates, parents began their love affair with “monthly” birthday updates. It started with text-based status updates or nondescript photos, but has blossomed to include custom wardrobes and props. Whoever came up with the idea for the “monthly birthday” onesies is a fucking genius, because parents absolutely love scooping up a 12-pack of those bad boys for their baby’s first year. It’s an easy way to convey information (a baby wearing a onesie that says “I’m 6 Months Old” is pretty self-explanatory), and it’s a decent excuse for parents to share a monthly image of their growing baby on Facebook. I get it. Sometimes there’s even a note about how much stuff the baby knows, or what the baby’s favorite foods are, as if anyone is going to read and retain that information. To me, that’s like posting a screenshot of a page out of a baby book (and no one reads those, not even the kids after they’re grown), but hey, to each her own.
But I digress. The point is, monthly onesies are totally commonplace Facebook fodder in 2015, and while I understand parents’ desire to post them, what I don’t understand is the occasional use of the word “birthday.” I guess you can technically have a “3-month birthday,” but can you really? Doesn’t it take away from the concept of a birthday when it occurs every month? I’m not so sure the lasting effects of wishing a child a monthly happy birthday (i.e. “Congratulations, time has passed and you got a little older!”) are good for a kid’s psyche. Shouldn’t we be celebrating children on the actual day they were born, rather than every 30 days, or worse, every SINGLE day? If someone clapped their hands every time I put on pants in the morning (when I do choose to put on pants, that is), I would probably start thinking that I’m hot shit just for yanking up a pair of dirty jeans. Perhaps we shouldn’t set the bar so low that we’re encouraging children to feel as though *every day* is their birthday. We could raise those standards a bit, right?