Keeping Birthday Traditions by Matt Schneider of NYC Dads Group

Matt Schneider, a founding member and co-organizer of the NYC Dads Group, is a stay-at-home dad of two boys, ages 6 and 3. Since co-founding NYC Dads Group in 2008, the community has grown to more than 500 active fathers in the New York City area.

When I was growing up, birthdays were a celebration with my parents, my sister, and my extended family—grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. I have fond memories of the whole family singing “Happy Birthday,” followed by cake and ice cream. My wife and I don’t have any family in New York City, but we do our best to recreate these simple parties by inviting friends over to our apartment to celebrate.

For my oldest son’s first birthday, we invited our closest friends over for dinner, cake, and ice cream. We were the first of this group of friends to have kids, so Max was the only child at the party. He had a blast toddling around to each person handing them balloons and bits of food from the snack table (we have very

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patient and generous friends who are easily kept happy by free flowing wine). For dinner, we made my Grandma Honey’s macaroni and cheese and we even made the cake and ice cream from scratch—Max’s first taste of all three. We put our newly minted 1-year-old to bed around 6:30, and the celebration went on late into the night (almost 9pm).

As our kids have gotten older, we’ve caved in to having parties for their school chums, but we always follow up at our apartment with that original group of our friends. The after-parties seem to get crazier each year, as many of our formerly childless friends now have kids of their own. We still keep everybody happy though—we have both wine and milk flowing, we have added a few more chairs around the table, and we now make two pans of Grandma Honey’s macaroni and cheese instead of just one.

Matt Schneider is a founding member and co-organizer for the NYC Dads Group, a diverse community of more than 500 active fathers in the New York City area.

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