About Birthday Party Planning

Some time after emerging from the postpartum fog that is adjusting to life with a newborn, I joined an online group for moms in my area. I introduced myself and read the posts for awhile, hoping it would be the type of thing where I could eventually get up the nerve to type out a message and maybe make some new mom friends. ("Sticking the kid in the stroller and going for a walk. Anybody want to meet me at Starbucks?")  Except I forget that, I live in a fairly affluent 'burb of Washington, D.C. and the moms seemed more interested in nanny shares and barre classes.

Other moms would post things like: "Looking for a new stylist who can work with my super thick hair. Suggestions?"  And I happily responded with the name of my girl at the salon I go to in the mall... Only to see that people were suggesting these crazy stylists who have done Michelle Obama's hair and have worked New York Fashion Week. Same thing with mani-pedis. I was glad to toss out the name of the shopping center nail salon that I go to, only to have all the other ladies suggest day spa after day spa.

A lot of the posts and discussions aren't really my cup of tea...  I don't need an au pair recommendation. My kid isn't ready for tae kwan do, lacrosse, or Suzuki music lessons. (If you're wondering WTF that last one is, I had to Google it myself.) but reading them has been helpful at times. Thanks to that group, I've learned a little about daycare and dentists and found a great pumpkin patch to go to for Halloween!

The posts that really threw me for a loop, though, were the ones where moms discussed birthday party preparations. When I first joined the group, I was shocked to see someone ask for "suggestions for venues for a first birthday party." Wait. What? A venue? Are you planning your kid's first birthday or their wedding? I thought people just had baby birthday parties at their house. But no... 

There were suggestions for parties at baby gyms and The National Zoo. A few moms suggested restaurants. One even said they had their kid's first birthday at one of those Japanese steakhouses where they cook in front of you and fling shrimp at your head. Another mom shared, in great detail, her experience of RENTING OUT HALF A BALLROOM AT A HOTEL. For their kid's first birthday. (AND they had an open bar.)

Then they started talking about themes and caterers and photographers and vegan bakeries. For a birthday party. For someone so young they wouldn't remember any of it.

I kept my lips zipped and fought back the urge to ask if these ladies were all joking (or nuts, or rich, or all of the above?) for going so crazy over a baby's birthday party, but figured, whatever, to each their own, they can celebrate their babies' birthdays however they want.

My baby was going to get the free smash cake from the bakery at Harris Teeter (Look into it!) and we'd just have people over and hang out in the backyard. There wouldn't be a theme, because who knows if he likes dinosaurs or trucks or turtles or ducks or...?!?! He's a baby, and right now, it kind of seems like he likes everything. I imagine he'll like whatever we end up doing for his birthday, and I know he'll love smashing his hands into his sugar-loaded, dairy-laden, gluten-filled cake, even if we don't rent out a private dining room at The Palm for him.

But now that we've fast-forwarded a few months, and Jacob's first birthday is right around the corner,. I started actually giving his birthday some thought. It went a little something like this: 

We just remodeled our patio, so we could do his party outside. And if we're doing it outside, maybe we can barbecue. Oh, hey, his birthday is right around Memorial Day. We can do it that weekend. Oooh... Memorial Day. Red, white, and blue! When I order his free smash cake, I'll see if they can decorate with red, white, and blue frosting. OH!  I'll get red, white, and blue paper plates and napkins and forks, too. Let me just look on Amazon and see what... Oh! Look at that! They have all kinds of patriotic party supplies. Oh, streamers! And wire garland! And red, white, and blue paper straws! HOW FUN!

What the hell was wrong with me? Only it didn't stop there. Because, Pinterest:

Oh my goodness, look at these ideas for a patriotic birthday picnic. Layered red, white, and blue fruit punch. Pinning that! Oh, look at the picture of the kid in the crib with all of the balloons. Gotta do that and take pictures. Oh. Red, white, and blue sangria? Screw the punch. Who's going to drink punch, anyway? Oooh, they painted mason jars to look like American flags to hold silverware. Cute, but I'm not going to all that trouble. I wonder if I can just find something like that on Amazon. Probably. Amazon has everything. Oh my goodness, look at that, they have their kid fingerpainting and then when you peel the stickers off the canvas it spells their name!!! Pin, pin, pin! Doing that!

I swore to my husband that I wouldn't go nuts. But since we started talking about it and planning it, we are now both so excited that our son's first birthday is almost here. How the heck is that possible? A whole year has gone by already?! The kid has teeth! He's on the move! He makes us laugh every day. And the most important thing... We've managed to keep him alive! He survived. And we did, too!

So, I'm starting to get it. Jacob won't remember who's there, or what presents he gets, or what snacks we had. He won't even remember the flavor of his cake. But WE will. As parents, we have a lot to celebrate. We have an awesome kid. His first year has been full of love, excitement, laughter, and a whole bunch of amazing memories. He's happy and healthy. And we're so happy to have him in our lives. So celebrating his first birthday is a big deal. And so what if I've gone a little nuts? (I did order personalized M&M party favors for the guests.) We're celebrating our first year as parents, too. So, happy birthday, kid!

Check out my Baby Gaga post about first birthday party ideas!


  1. Totally agree that the first birthday party is more of a celebration for the parents - you did it, you survived and kept a little human safe - now party! But really, I pinned all the awesome pins, but ended up doing a simple thing at our house because who has time and energy (and money) for extravagant parties for babies.

  2. Lol! This is too funny! I love all the Pinterested birthday parties, but I'm never very good on the follow through. Always winds up making me feel anxious and nothing gets accomplished lol. Hope your little man has a fantastic birthday party!

  3. This is incredible! It all starts out innocently enough, and before you know it we're the pinning queens with the outrageous party! You are exactly right though, your son won't remember it (he'll love the photos some day), but you will. Being a parent means you have so much to celebrate! And red, white, and blue sangria?! Sign me up for that!


Thanks for commenting!