Tuesday, August 10, 2010

How Not To Plan Your Baby's 1st Birthday

<- Melissa's head on her birthday bee costume :)

When I'd read other moms blog about their kid's first birthday, I'd think, "Ha! I'm NEVER going to get this carried away." I bet I'd never feel like a needed a special outfit, or invite over 40 people. "So silly", I'd think. "The child won't remember it. It's all for the vain, silly mommy."

Well, today, I am this vain silly mommy. This has even kept me up at night. I mean, how?? Couldn't I just get a cake from Safeway and call it a day? Absolutely not. This isn't just a birthday - it's a celebration that we've survived one full year of baby caring. And considering we live far from our families, it's HUGE accomplishment.

So while this whole party planning is kicking my butt, I'm here to share with you what has NOT worked for me so far... So that you, my several pregnant friends, can avoid these in the future (though of course, if any actually works for you, rock on :).

Inviting the ENTIRE World
I was surprised my initial list was well over 40 people - and I'd thought it was funny when I read some other mom saying she'd invited this many. Now, I don't know what to do with all the friends we care about (thank goodness, there's a lot of them). You know those cases - if you invite one, then you need to invite this other, and the list goes on... So, if you happen not to get an invitation, PLEASE don't take it personally - take it as a testimony of how tiny our apartment is.

Spending Too Much
No, I did not spend too much, yet. But I thought about it. Oh yes, I did. If I was rich, I'd go all out decorating every space of our walls, maybe even hire entertainment for the kids, and for sure really nice favors for everyone. Unfortunately, that's not the case. I was tempted to get annoyed at this, but remembered that if we filled our small apartment too much, we'd all have to come out.

Forgetting How You Function
Worried about my long list of potential invitees, I wondered if we should do this somewhere else. Like the park (bugs), or the Little Gym (expensive), or even ChuckeCheese (would completely ruin my bee-vision for the party). Then I had an epiphany - even if we could fit more people, I don't want it to be a humongous event. I don't want to spend the entire party trying to make everybody comfortable when I'm not. I'm an introvert who just happens to talk a lot when given the opportunity, but an introvert neverthless. Too many people can drive me crazy, even if I love them all. So again, if I don't invite you, please don't doubt my love. And pray that we have a house with a huge yard one day.


Tina said...

I don't think you're vain at all. You're a proud mommy! It's the only first birthday your adorable daughter will ever have...even if she won't remember it later, she WILL feel love and happiness on that day. So enjoy it. Visiting from Lady Bloggers.

Anne Prado said...

Thanks Tina! I needed that encouragement :).

Stephanie said...

That task sounds daunting. I have a fear of the party because my family lives nearby and my hubby's family lives states away. His parents both work retail and won't ever be able to take time off before Christmas to celebrate a birthday.

Unfortunately for our baby, my family is anti-social and full of drama. As it is right now, my step mother and 2 step sisters are skipping the BABY SHOWER because my step mother is holding a years old grudge against ME.

So, the family that doesn't deserve to be invited to our baby's bday party (in 2011) is the only family that will be available.

I was just recently invited to a 1 year party at a picnic pavilion at the local park. We're really buggy in the midwest, but I don't think this will be bad because it's mid-day. Perhaps you could do something like that?

Anne Prado said...

Aw Steph don't be discouraged... You know, a baby does wonders to heal a family sometimes - like, people get the distracted with the baby's cuteness, and bond over how much you all love him. So maybe this will happen with your family! You could send them an invitation regardless - it might be the perfect opportunity to extend the olive branch... But regardless, don't let it steal your joy! It's a joyous occasion! :) Besides, you don't even NEED a party, you can also just have a special day somewhere special with your hubby and baby... Whatever makes you guys happy!

Tracey - Just Another Mommy Blog said...

From experience on doing LOADS of kids parties (over 23 when you put in friend parties. Holy SHIT) can I give a few pieces of advice?

1. Buy a banner that is unisex and non-themed. Just a "Happy Birthday!" banner in bright colors (not pink! What if you have a boy?) and you can decorate a room in less than 60 seconds. And it LASTS. So buy a good one. It'll be worth it. (under $10 good, not $100. That's just nuts).

2. buy party plates/plasticware in bulk. A LOT. Even with an apartment, it's a good thing to just have before it's time for a party. Put everything in a bin marked "party supplies" and store any unused plates, cups, napkins, etc. for the next party. If you keep it neutral or just rainbow colors, it won't matter if it doesn't match the next addition to the pile. NO ONE WILL CARE!

3. Goody bags. You know what? You can skip these. I swear to you. YOU CAN. If you feel compelled to do one anyway, go for ziploc baggies with stickers and candy. No one wants the cheap toys (especially parents) and the kids don't really care what they get. They just like a little something to make them feel better about not being the birthday kid.

Hmmm... What else???

Oh yeah, did I say GENERIC STYLE and NEUTRAL yet? :)

Anne Prado said...

Thanks Tracey for so much good advice!! I have my heart set on this pink-bee themed decoration set though, and I know, it's not the most practical thing, but you only have the first birthday of your first daughter once right! :)

Welcome said...

Anne, I felt the same way about Ava's first birthday party. I thought making a big deal about it was silly, until she turned about 9 months and I couldn't help but want to celebrate my baby girl with anyone who lived within 30 miles! I'll tell you what we did - just in case it gives you any ideas...

I chose the theme of Butterflies, so some of this could translate well to a Bee theme! We had her party at our church's outdoor pavilion. I chose to focus on entertaining the other children who would be attending, instead of impressing all the adults, too. We set the time in the afternoon, so we would only be feeding everyone snacks, cupcakes, and lemonade or water. For the little kids, we had a butterfly hunt. We hid craft foam butterflies all over the pavilion and surrounding area, gave the children decorated paper bags (nets would have been cute), and let them hunt for the butterflies like they hunt for eggs at Easter. When the hunt was over, they chose one of their butterflies and made magnets out of them with clothes pins and self adhesive magnet strips. I also printed a butterfly picture off the internet and let them color. The magnet and coloring picture went down in their paper bag and became their party favors. For the older children, I bought several different packages of beads and let them make keychain dangly things (I don't know what else to call them). Of course, Ava also opened her presents and we all had cupcakes. Cupcakes are a little simpler to serve than cake, if you have a lot of people. And I made them and decorated them myself to save money. We decorated with butterfly wrapping paper for tablecloths, some helium balloons, and fake flower vines down the tables. I put pretty butterfly stickers on cardstock with wire attached at the bottom and them stuck them all over by winding and bending the wire to make the butterflies look like they were flying around. We all had a good time, and while it took some planning, it wasn't too overwhelming.

Now I have Landon's first birthday coming up in a month, and while I think it's going to be super cute, I won't be inviting as many people. Good luck and most importantly, just have fun!!!

Welcome said...

Oooo... one more thought :) If you want to carry out your theme for free, you can draw black stripes on yellow balloons to create a bee pattern.

Anne Prado said...

Oh Kim, you're so awesome!! I so wish I was a crafty lady like you are :). Amazing how so many ideas come to naturally for you! I'm still considering my options, I actually thought that if I please the parents, then they'll be happy enough to contain their children hehe... But that's because we want to do it here at home, and there isn't much space for the kids to run around! *sigh*

Welcome said...

Makes sense to me, Anne. That's how we are doing Landon's 1st party this year. In fact, besides Ava, I don't know that there will be ANY kids. I'm sure yours will turn out great! Have fun!

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