Ah, the first birthday party. It’s a tone-setter, a significant moment in your life, in the grandparents’ lives, even in your friends’ lives. It says – look at us, we made it through year one! It’s a celebration of the triumph over sleep loss, stained clothing, and insane childcare bills. It’s that opportunity you have to breath for a second because your child is just mobile enough for you to be excited and want more, but not yet at full capacity so you can actually enjoy a sip of coffee again. (Don’t get too excited, that only lasts about one day.)
It’s also a time for people to go completely overboard. In planning not one, but two first birthday parties for our little man, we learned a bit about what counts. Here are my top five lessons learned:
1. The best gift from the child’s perspective is tissue paper – lots of it, in any color, preferably old so it’s easier to tear.
2. The best gift from a parent’s perspective is college funds – lots of it, in green, preferably not given to the child so that they don’t tear it up. (Books, toys, clothing and love are also all appreciated — thank you amazing family and friends!)
3. You don’t need games, events, or gift bags. You need toys. Invite the kids over, put out the toys and let them go to town – this worked wonders at party #1. Also good to have for the party is the pool – it was magic at party #2. We had everyone meet at the local YMCA (who let all 20 of our guests in for a whopping total of $15 – small towns are awesome sometimes) and families swam. That was followed up by cake, pizza, mac and cheese and long naps.
4. Schedule the one-year check up after the party. Vaccine shots and blood tests don’t make for a good pre-party event.
5. Love on your tiny human like it’s nobody’s business because even just three months later, you won’t believe how much they have grown.