Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The First Birthday Party

You know how people say the first birthday party is really a celebration for the parents? A big, “We did it! We made it through the first year!” party? Well, its not. At least not for me. I thought the idea was kind of bogus from the beginning anyway, but I was hoping this is how I’d feel at the party, because if you’re throwing a party, you’d like to think you’re getting something out of it. And I did – watching Meg enjoy it. I loved the party and am so glad we did it, but it was a bitch to plan and execute. And the fact I’ll have to do it again just makes me tired. So tired. To me, it felt like another one of those things you do for your kids, because you love them, NOT because you want to.

Part of the problem is that I’m terrible at keeping the house clean. I just don’t care. So to get the house party-clean, it took a week of cleaning. And by the end of the week, I was so exhausted, the last thing I wanted was 20 people coming over.

Also, its so expensive! We decided first birthdays deserve a special cake, so we ordered a cake shaped and decorated like her kitty. It was $50. Which I suppose isn’t outrageous for a specialty cake, but its much more expensive than a cake from a box (which is what she’ll get for all subsequent birthdays). We don’t have enough plates for 20 people (and I didn’t want to wash that many plates afterward anyway), so I decided to go to the party store for 1st Birthday plates…and napkins…and a banner…plus plastic forks and spoons and aluminum roasting pans for all the meat. I spent $30. Again, not outrageous, I guess, but not cheap.

Food: My husband smoked 3 pork butts (I think we only ate 2 of them, though). 25 pounds of meat. Plus charcoal. And a vegetable platter. And baked beans. Though, luckily, my mom brought fruit salad and my mother-in-law made potato salad. We probably only spent $50 on food. Which is pretty good for 20 people.

And the presents. We didn’t spend too much, but we kind of let that one get away from us. Originally, my thought was, we’re throwing a party! An expensive party. Isn’t that present enough? She’s 1, she won’t know the difference. So that was the plan. But then I decided to buy her a little Bible. And then my husband went to Wal-Mart and came home with this. Then I decided to buy this. And suddenly like half the presents at the party were from mommy and daddy.

All in all, it was a great day. For HER. And that’s the point. Meanwhile, all mommy wanted to do was take a nap and figure out where $300 had gone. And the worst part was that by the time the party was over, it looked like I hadn’t cleaned at all. Even with using paper plates, the kitchen was covered in dishes, like before. Except they were all serving dishes, so harder to wash. And the living room was covered in wrapping paper and cake plates. And there were new toys EVERYWHERE.

I am very happy with how the party went. I just wish I could have enjoyed it more. I spent the whole party rushing around: getting more food, more serving utensils, more cups, directing people outside to eat, inside for cake, downstairs for the video*, taking away new toys so she would agree to open more toys (because when you’ve just opened a new toy, isn’t it more fun to play with it than to tear wrapping paper off another gift?)

*My husband made a first-year video for her and it was ADORABLE. (I stole the idea from Maureen and Arwen and made my husband do it).

P.S. I am considering attempting to give birth to all future babies near a 3-day weekend. Having Monday off was AMAZING and definitely needed after the party. Plus, it was her actual birthday, so we got to spend the whole day with her.

P.P.S. I'll post pictures as soon as I get some. My dad has a $600 camera, so we just let him take pictures. I forgot to download them after the party, so I'll have to wait until I see him next. Which is kind of hit-or-miss, so I don't know when...


  1. Hi! First-time reader here, found you through Maggie's blog and decided to check out your blog.

    My daughter is 2 and I totally remember feeling the EXACT same way about my daughter's 1st birthday party. So much so that I found a way to avoid throwing one for her 2nd birthday. (We had my parents over for dinner and met my husband's family at a restaurant a day or so later... and we're taking her to Disney World later this year as her main birthday celebration!)

    I'm pretty sure I blogged about her first birthday party back in Feb '09 so if you want to hear about it you can check out my blog archives! :)

  2. Thanks for the comment! I told Maggie she'd be the first comment on my blog, but you beat her to it:) I'm glad to hear I'm not the only one who thought the first birthday party was more trouble than it was worth. I'll definitely check out your blog!

  3. I LOVE throwing parties, but I have some friends who feel like you do and it totally makes sense. I've found that kid parties, especially, are a lot less exhausting when the guest list is verrrry small. I know you can't really not invite all the grown ups for the FIRST party, but the rest of the parties won't have so much pressure! It sounds like an awesome time, though. Well done!