Would You Choose To be Born in December?

We aren’t consulted on when we make our entrance into the world. Anne Shirley reminds us of this fact in Anne of Avonlea, saying of her wintry March birthday:

That wasn’t my fault… If my parents had consulted me it would never have happened then. I should have chosen to be born in spring, of course. It must be delightful to come into the world with the mayflowers and violets. You would always feel that you were their foster sister. But since I didn’t, the next best thing is to celebrate my birthday in the spring.

Anne of AvonleaParents have some control over their children’s birthdays, but not necessarily as much as Anne thinks. My twins turn 8-years-old today, but if I’d had my way, they’d have been born closer to when they were due, which was in March. Of course, in Anne’s time, 26-weekers wouldn’t have survived, one of the many reasons I’d never choose to live in any time period other than my own.

We’re extremely lucky that our children’s only remaining repercussion of their prematurity is a December birthday.

Right now, in our neck of the woods, the average high is 45 degrees, the sun sets around 4:30 in the afternoon, and just about everyone is too preoccupied with the holidays and New Year to celebrate anything else.

Nevertheless, my children love their birthday. They love it so much that they’ve decided to share their birthday with the main character of Anusha of Prospect Corner, a story we’re writing together that’s loosely based on L. M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables. I tried to tell them that Anne’s birthday is in March, but the vote was two against one.

The Anne of Green Gables series is in the public domain, which I told my twins means that we’re allowed to borrow characters and plots from it because of how old it is (which I explained to them was “way older than their grandparents.”).

We’re 16,000 words into the project. Each week, I write a chapter or two, and my twins critique them. Then, I re-write the chapters and write the next chapter based on their suggestions and reactions (see the image below). With this input, we’ve developed new adventures for an updated Anne and her crew.

Twins Do Not Always AgreeOur version of Anne is named Anusha, a redheaded little girl who is a quarter Sri Lankan (just like my redheaded daughters). She lives in a multicultural community that is based on where we live, a community that is quite different from Anne’s racially homogeneous Avonlea. (See Racial Diversity in Children’s Books: The Pros and Cons of Subtlety).

In case you’re interested, here’s the first paragraph of Chapter 1, entitled “Mrs. Lowry is Surprised” (this is a first draft–it will probably change quite a bit over the next few months!):

Ruth Lowry had always kept a sharp eye on 1818 Prospect Avenue, the house across the street from the stone colonial she’d lived in all her life. Like Mrs. Lowry’s home, number 1818 was also a stone colonial, but one so heavily covered in ivy that it looked nothing like its neighbors. It had been abandoned, left to Mother Nature to reclaim, until an orange truck pulled up and deposited a pile of large boxes on the overgrown front lawn.

Can you guess which Anne of Green Gables character is the inspiration for Ruth Lowry?

M S and Z

41 thoughts on “Would You Choose To be Born in December?

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  10. Happy birthday to your girls AMB 🙂 How brilliant – writing a book together. And they critique and everything, with such gorgeous natural handwriting. You and Mr AMB must be so proud of them.

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  12. Happy birthday to the twins. You are raising future authors. It is great they are writing and editing your work and it really must make you proud they are following in your passion. I suppose a December would be the same as any other month, except in how it is celebrated if one lives in a snowy climate. Not many outdoor picnic birthdays.

    1. Thank you! It’s so much fun to write a story with them. I’m teaching them about character development and plot structure, and they’re teaching me about what they like to see in a story (I’m learning so much about their personalities and interests!).

      In my area, there definitely aren’t many outdoor picnic birthdays in December… except for today! We’re having their birthday party in a couple of hours. It’s supposed to be 71 degrees. There will be an outdoor component to the party this year. I’d love this, if it weren’t for the fact that my hyacinths and daffodils are already coming up. 😦

  13. Wow, 26 weeks is seriously early! I’m glad your twins are okay. Happy birthday to them! 🙂

    Your story sounds very interesting. I loved Anne of Green Gables as a child, and I also enjoyed L.M. Montgomery’s Emily of New Moon trilogy.

    1. I love Emily of New Moon too!

      Yes, 26 weeks is extremely early. My twins were 922 and 760 grams when they were born and spent 77 days in the NICU. Eight years later, you’d never know they were preemies! We’re very lucky.

  14. Happy Birthday to your December girls! I love that you are writing a book together. My December kid got some blank books for his birthday and he has been excitedly writing some Star Wars and Angry Birds tales!

  15. Nobody answered yet? Rachel Lynde is the inspiration (RL, nice)! Love the beginning of your story, and the adaptations you are making. What a wonderful idea! I’ll give you the PEI seal of approval.:)

    1. Thank you! I’m so happy to have your seal of approval. Anne may have been born in Nova Scotia, but she belongs to Prince Edward Island. Have you seen Green Gables Fables? It’s a very cute YouTube adaptation of Anne of Green Gables. At first, though, I found it a little jarring that the story takes place in Avonlea, Saskatchewan. I’d be hesitant to remove Anne from her natural place. Anusha isn’t Anne, though. She’s reminiscent of Anne, and someone I feel very comfortable putting in my family’s hometown of Philadelphia.

      And yes, Ruth is our version of Rachel!

  16. Lael

    The Happiest of Birthdays to your girls! It must be fun to write a book with Mum.
    I was born in early June and of course my birthday suits me fine but I can’t help but wonder, if a Winter birthday would suit me fine also? Perhaps it would give me a finer view of the season!

    1. June birthdays are lovely! Where I live, that means we can have outdoor parties. This year, the weather is unexpectedly gorgeous for December. On Sunday, when we’re having my girls’ party, the forecast is 70 degrees (Fahrenheit, obviously!). If it happens, that will break the record. It’s usually about 45 degrees here this time of year. January and February are colder, but the days are longer and there aren’t as many holidays.

      As for Anusha of Prospect Corner, I am having a wonderful time writing a story with my girls. I’m learning so much about them in the process, and they are learning about character development and plot structure in a fun way.

      1. Lael

        We’re having a warm winter also. It’s only -2 C right now. It’s so weird!
        We’re usually well below -15C *shiver. Enjoy your warmth!

  17. SF

    Happy b-day to the twins! Your WIP sounds like a huge amount of fun. How cool that your kids are contributing to it. Is it just an educational tool for them or are you planning to publish it or both?

    1. Thank you! They had a very nice birthday.
      Writing Anusha of Prospect Corner has been a lot of fun. I’m teaching my girls about character development and plot structure, and they’re teaching me about their interests. I’m not sure what we’ll do with it in the end, but we’ll probably share the chapters for free on a blog.

  18. Happy Birthday to your twins! My niece’s birthday is in early January, her father’s birthday is 2 days after that, and my sister’s birthday is the day after that. By the time it’s her turn, everyone is tired of parties and cake. I can’t blame her for not being happy with the timing. So every year I keep telling her that having a birthday is better than not having a birthday. I think she’s tired of hearing that by now. 🙂

    1. Yes, having a birthday is better than not having a birthday! It’s tough to have so many birthdays at one time, though. We’ve got three in December (my husband’s is December 31st, which is far worse than the 10th!).

  19. I just celebrated a December birthday. Depending on the year, that can be the best or the worst. My friends and family are pretty good about making it a separate thing, but too often I’ve been the recipient of gifts wrapped in Christmas paper, holiday cupcakes, or dual gifts. That’s in addition to celebrating among Christmas decorations, dealing with holiday crowds whenever we go out to celebrate, hearing Christmas music, and hoping people will actually be free to celebrate. Then there’s the snow and wintry weather.

    But all in all, I realize how grateful I am to even be able to celebrate. So all the things above tend to be pretty minor annoyances.

    1. Happy belated birthday to you! One of the biggest challenges we have is finding a time for their birthday party. It just isn’t easy with all of the holiday parties and other events that happen this time of year. Our weather is surprisingly gorgeous. The forecast for Sunday–which is when we’re having their party–is 70 degrees! If it happens, that will break the record. Two years ago, we’d already had many snow days by now, including on their birthday.

      1. Agreed! It’s always hard to get people together. Your weather does sound amazing, though – here it’s been 50s and 60s, which isn’t as bad as years past. Happy birthday to the girls and happy holidays to you all!

        1. Happy holidays to you too! Our temperatures are still way above average. I’d be enjoying it if my spring bulbs weren’t making an extremely early appearance! Ugh.

  20. Anusha Narasimhan

    Coincidentally, my name is Anusha and my birthday is in December. Where I stay, December is the most pleasant month. Our climate is mostly sunny, so we rejoice winter.

    1. I love your name! I noticed from your blog that you’re based in Chennai. My mother grew up there (she is Sri Lankan, though). I haven’t been to Chennai in December, but I can imagine that it would be a lovely month there. Happy birthday to you!

  21. I’d take the 10th over the 21st any day 😉 But like I said last year, I think, as I get older it’s easier to say oh just do this for both birthday and Christmas. Especially as it’s the only time of the year a lot of family sees me. I know my sister who is younger doesn’t see any of the family on her birthday because it’s in the middle of spring, so I guess the family is nice too even if it’s a bit tedious because of adult reasons haahaa (aka politics, religion and anything else that’s possibly controversial).

    1. Yes, the 10th is easier than the 21st! There are so many holiday parties around that time. You do raise a good point about being able to see family members. That’s definitely a benefit. Happy birthday to you (in advance)!

  22. My birthday is Feb. 3, and I can’t imagine a worse date to be born. Deep in winter darkness, and during a month when everyone is so tired of cold and snow, celebrating anything is the farthest thing from their minds. They’re hunkered in, determined to sulk and suffer until spring arrives, and if you live in the upper Midwest, that means at least April. I always hated my birthday. When I got old enough, I stopped celebrating it.

    Now I live in south Florida, and at least it’s warm and people don’t get cabin fever. But I still don’t celebrate it because, well, it’s another birthday. 😉

    1. February is a bleak month, but at least there’s more sunlight and fewer holidays. My mom and my nephew have February birthdays. I’m a March birthday, the first day of spring, which I’ve always liked. April would’ve been better, though!

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