It was a stiletto-shod, champagne-pouring, ribbon sandwich, mini quiche-type affair.
You know the one - complete with the multi-layered fondant-lacquered cake, metallic pink helium balloons, and floral arrangements with lengths (and lengths) of pink… bunting.
Just a regular snotty-nosed kid’s first birthday, but one that would make a Kardashian blush. As stunning as the food, the hall, the cake, and eventually, the balloon-making-magnifico (and visit from Elsa and Anna) was, I couldn’t help but ask who this was all actually for.
Everyone loves a reason to celebrate, but for what it’s worth, before getting started on your own ‘Evite’ masterpiece, take a license to pause and consider the following.
1. Pinterest and Co. have already spoiled the affair
Take Pinterest and combine it with misplaced enthusiasm, some pent-up creativity, a pinch of sleep depravity, and some competitive drive and you have a cocktail designed to obliterate the well-intentioned birthday party.
Fairy bread and rubber balloons from IGA are surely all that’s necessary.
My son was recently invited to a superhero party, the invitation came complete with an embroidered, silk cape and felt eye mask. The note attached? ‘looking forward to YOU celebrating ME’. Please!
Mums and dads of pending 1-year-olds, you don’t have to feel guilted into raising the birthday party standard. Take it easy (on yourself and the rest of us!) and save the money and sweat for something that will count (and that she’ll remember).
2. She hates a crowd
A big mob + big noise + big fuss = 1 spooked toddler. Plus, remove her daytime nap, and you will in all likelihood, witness an undiluted birthday baby meltdown.
Everyone wants a piece of her, and she doesn’t want a piece of them. The hugs and fondles are well-intentioned but this birthday bundle won’t want a bar of it.
The friends of hers that come are not actually her friends. She has two friends, mum, and dad, the rest, she’s wishing, were not there at all.
3. She’s TOTALLY clueless what all the fuss is about.
She’ll be the least excited there. She’ll be sitting perplexed… wondering, what the heck...
4. Presents are a waste of money
You know those cute chubby hands she has? No good for unwrapping.
Don’t worry though, in two years' time, she’ll screw up her nose at your friend’s gifts. You’ll have the challenge then of addressing her under-developed sense of gratitude and her inversely proportioned sense of entitlement.
You have a couple of years where the wrapping itself is the most enjoyable part of her gift-receiving though. If you’re going to spend money, make sure the present has an excellent box or cellophane wrap. Win!
5. She’ll probably sleep through it
If everything’s been going well this past year, then baby’s ‘routine’ by now is rock solid and non-negotiable. You’ll need to ask yourself if you’re willing to ‘ruin’ her day by forcing her to stay awake!
6. Thank you notes...
Because you’re such a great parent you WILL scribe the obligatory thank you notes for all. You won't be thanking yourself.
7. Cake time!
Imagine… a sea of unfamiliar faces overly-enthusiastically singing at you and you don’t understand why. Youtube this. It’s educational. Do it.
You may be thinking, Lucy, what’s gotten into you? Why so dark and surly?
My response to you….
Let’s face it, birthday #1 is a moment like no other!
Mum and dad, you are now one year into an extraordinary journey. This day is a landmark for your family as you undertake the immense project of socializing your own homo-sapien into our wild world.
A year ago, you were thinking ‘I can’t believe I’m expected to raise a child’ and look at you now! You’re nothing short of remarkable and have accomplished so much.
Who’s the party for? Make it about your family and the life that you’re enjoying together. Celebrate the trials and delights that family life has taken you through this past year and anticipate all that’s to come.
My encouragement to you on this momentous first birthday?
Dumb it down a bit and get that cutie into bed (where she really wants to be). Then, put your feet up, crack open some bubbly, exchange a high-five and give yourselves three cheers… for a first-year well done!