Oh, What Fun! I’m Turning 1!
Hurray! You made it through the first year of being Mommy and Daddy! Now, it’s time to throw that first birthday party for your little human. Don’t fret—you’ll find many ways to commemorate the day beyond the traditional birthday party. After all, this is really about celebrating you and your new family.
The first year can be a challenge as you and your spouse settle into your new roles as parents. Make sure you take time to celebrate the both of you for surviving sleep deprivation, adapting to the demands on your time and finding a new rhythm as husband and wife—as well as parents. To recognize this milestone is important. You may want to turn on your favorite romantic movie over champagne and pizza or ask a grandparent or friend to watch the birthday baby while you two go out for a night on the town. A nice way to create something that Baby will enjoy when he is older is to jot down some of your reflections on this first year in your journal or baby book, or make a list of the top 10 parenting highs and lows on which to reflect.
Of course, you will want to make sure your little one gets to attack a cake of some kind. Remember, you can always place a cupcake in front of her, which is easier to pick up and devour.
When you are planning the party, keep it to about an hour and a half. Babies have a short attention span and run out of energy and interest quickly. Plan the party for late morning or late afternoon, or pre- or post-nap, when your baby is lively and awake.
Theme the party to what your little one likes to make the gathering more personalized. Highlight some of your baby’s favorite things over the first year, such as his first word, first food or favorite stuffed animal. Create a poster to display at the party. Remember, your baby won’t care whether it’s Pinterest-sworthy or not!
Take photos before anybody arrives, before Baby gets too sleepy or starts screaming from all the new commotion. You even can go ahead and take the “cake” photo ahead of time by making a small cake before the big day and conducting your own low-key photo shoot without guests around. That way, Baby will be all smiles and nobody will know the difference when you show photos later.
If older children attend, put them in charge of games. Cousins and friends’ children love to be given extra responsibility at parties and are great at getting the attention of younger ones. Try face painting, music-making, singing songs and more. Remember to keep your guest list small so your babe doesn’t get overwhelmed and to keep costs down.
Designate a play place that is baby-proof, filled with age-appropriate fun items for tiny guests. Be sure to ask whether any guests have food allergies to consider, and keep any snacks super simple, such as chopped fruit and graham crackers for the kiddos and possibly cheese and crackers for grown-ups. Because these munchies are self-serve, you can enjoy the fun yourselves.
Weather permitting, take the party outside to a park or playground, and all you’ll need to bring are the cake, balloons, party favors, snacks and a table to put everything on. A blanket works for the kids, and they can have space to run around.
Another idea to commemorate this special milestone is to create a time capsule. Ask guests to write the birthday child a short letter to read years from now. Give them themes, such as advice, a memory of the party or first year or wishes for the future. Store the notes in a marked container that reads, “Don’t open until you turn 21,” or whatever age you choose.
Remember, this is your day to make your new baby feel special … and yourselves. Happy first birthday to you all!
Judy Goppert lives in Lee’s Summit. She enjoys drawing on her personal experiences to write about the nuances of everything wonderful about life.