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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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The Full Suburban: Birthdays in this household are vastly different among family members

UPDATED: Mon., Jan. 10, 2022

Birthday tyrant Hyrum Ditto enjoys his “birthday wish” dinner of crepes and eggs while the rest of the family dishes up their actual dinner of beef, salad and rolls.  (Courtesy of Julia Ditto)
Birthday tyrant Hyrum Ditto enjoys his “birthday wish” dinner of crepes and eggs while the rest of the family dishes up their actual dinner of beef, salad and rolls. (Courtesy of Julia Ditto)
By Julia Ditto For The Spokesman-Review

Well, I can hardly believe it. We survived the Halloween-birthday-birthday-Thanksgiving-anniversary-pre-Christmas-Christmas-new year’s-birthday festivities that have inundated the Ditto home in rapid succession since the first autumn chill hit the air a few months ago.

October through January is pure madness around here, and while I love the fall and winter months, I am definitely relieved when all the shenanigans are over, and I can find time to just get my laundry done and complete important tasks before 1 in the morning.

Our most recent celebration was for Hyrum, who turned 7 last week. If you don’t believe in miracles, consider that I remembered – just a couple days after Christmas, mind you – to buy him birthday presents before we left for our weeklong ski trip and managed to get them delivered in time for his birthday. If that doesn’t make you shout hallelujah, I don’t know what will.

As the baby of the family, Hyrum demands certain rights and privileges on his special day that the other kids don’t necessarily get. We’re not talking anything major here; he’s no Veruca Salt, the infamous brat of Willie Wonka fame.

But he definitely took liberties this year with things like brushing his teeth, forgoing vegetables at dinner, staying up late and telling us exactly where and when his cake and ice cream was going to be consumed.

Any time he would ask to do something that would normally get a “no,” he would hold up one finger and say, “It’s my birthday wish,” and Logan and I would cave. You can’t, after all, contend with cuteness like that. By the end of the night, we weren’t calling him “the birthday boy” anymore; we were calling him “the birthday tyrant.”

He gets this tendency from his dad, who declares a “birthday week” for himself every year. While most people will perhaps treat themselves to an indulgence or two on their birthday, Logan plans an entire week of fun for himself, his family and his friends, centered around things he likes to do best.

Birthday week always includes an outing with his brothers, usually to a superhero movie that I don’t want to see or even just to our basement, where they’ll play FIFA soccer on the Wii until the wee (see what I did there?) hours of the morning.

The next day, there might be a fun outing for the whole family to a trampoline park or somewhere similarly loud and smelly. At work, he’ll take some of his co-workers out to lunch at Hudson’s Hamburgers in Coeur d’ Alene.

There he’ll order his usual: a “double cheese both,” which makes no grammatical sense but, when spoken to the people behind the counter at Hudson’s, will get you a burger with two patties, two slices of cheese and pickles and onions.

The Friday night of his birthday week is usually reserved for going out to dinner with me and maybe even catching a movie afterward if there’s one we’re both interested in (ideally a romantic comedy with lots of explosions; as you can imagine, the movie thing doesn’t happen often).

“Why do you get to proclaim a ‘birthday week’ when the rest of us just get the one day?” I’ve asked on more than one occasion. “Go ahead and plan a week!” he replies. “Anyone can do it – you’ve just got to make it happen!”

Yeah, right. As an introvert who lives among chaos but thrives on copious amounts of quiet time, I’m pretty sure my version of birthday week would look a little different from Logan’s:

Monday: Stare at a wall.

Tuesday: Get a massage, order takeout for dinner, stare at a wall.

Wednesday: Watch a movie in my pajamas while the kids are at school, eat an entire pan of brownies by myself, read a book, stare at a wall.

Thursday: Recuperate from busy Wednesday, stare at a wall.

Friday: Go out to dinner with Logan, consider going dancing but decide to instead head home and feel bad about the fact that we never go dancing, fall asleep watching a movie.

Saturday: Stare at a wall.

Sunday: Go to church, stare at a wall.

Obviously, my birthday week would be nowhere near as epic as Logan’s (or Hyrum’s, for that matter). Luckily, I’ve got months and months to think about it. Maybe this is the year I’ll turn into a birthday tyrant of my own.

Julia Ditto shares her life with her husband, six children and a random menagerie of farm animals in Spokane Valley. She can be reached at

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