Your baby is turning one! This is a momentous occasion for your child but most especially you, the parent who successfully kept a human more or less alive for 365 consecutive days. This calls not only for a celebration but a HUGE celebration, one that is memorable for all who attend. There's so much to think about! Decorations, food, invitations, gifts, the theme! Not to mention—what are you going to wear? I've got plenty of advice for you on how to throw the party of a lifetime.
Here are the three things I am definitely NOT doing for my (second) kid's first birthday:
RELATED: Are Kids' Birthday Parties Worth It?
For a hot minute, when contemplating our kid's party, I flipped through my cookbooks looking for my favorite easy crowd-pleasing brunch dishes. Then I finally snapped out of that party-related amnesia I so often come down with. All that's going to be work, from planning to shopping to putting the groceries away to taking them back out to prepping to cooking to making sure it all gets put out at the right time to getting put away and cleaned up after . I'm sorry, but screw that noise. I'm not turning on a single burner or oven for this kid, whose favorite food is everything. Here's what's on the menu:
· Mini bagels and cream cheese (with the toaster out for guests do their own bagels themselves.)
· Yogurt, granola and berries for make-your-own parfaits (so I did have to dirty a cutting board, but that's OK—your kid only turns one once.)
· Juice and milk for the kids, coffee, mimosas and bloody Marys for the adults.
· Store-bought cupcakes for dessert.
· Fancy quiches from the bakery—because I deserve it.
Unless you truly enjoy party planning, doing a themed birthday party is just making your already-difficult-life more difficult.
If it were possible to go back in time, I'd like to go visit the person who decided that children's birthday parties require a theme and punch him/her in the nose. One of my favorite mom moments in my life was observing my cousin when a kid asked her once what the theme was for her kid's birthday. "It's birthday," she said. "Cake, balloons, presents."
Unless you truly enjoy party planning, doing a themed birthday party is just making your already-difficult-life more difficult. Without a theme, I was able to hurriedly pick out some Target paper plates and napkins that didn't offend me too badly and didn't need to send my husband on a wild goose chase when it came to selecting balloons. Cleaning the house is hard enough. Doing it and making sure it's festooned with cowboy/nautical/fireman stuff for a kid who can say one word (and that's being generous) is not worth it.
We didn't buy any gifts for our first kid's first birthday and we won't buy any for this kid's either. First of all, one-year-olds don't know what presents are. And let's be real, the second kid doesn't know old from new things—he just knows he wants either whatever looks most dangerous or whatever his big brother has (sometimes he just wants his big brother, period.)
Technically, I did buy one present—a tiny stuffed animal "from" the baby for his big brother so that he didn't feel left out and resentful. I know some people find the consolation gift a sign of indulgence and that the end times are nigh, but as an older sibling, I get it. I also don't plan on buying goodie bags for the children who will attend the party. Goodie bags, to me, are for older kids' parties and actually only really make sense at children's parties where the guests are forced to watch the birthday boy or girl open presents, sort of an apology for what they had to go through. I'm sure we'll put some out in the years to come but not this time. Sorry, kids.
And that's it! In fact, "Sorry, kids" should be the theme of this party. First birthday are really more for the parents than for the kids, and as I get older I'm getting slightly better at figuring out what I really want from a party I throw.