I believe this is an oft-described phenomenon, but I have been noticeably more lax in my approach to planning my second child’s first birthday. By “lax,” I mean that the afore-mentioned “planning” has consisted of me making a mental note every time I look at my calendar and remember that the baby is turning one, um, next week.
I have had my hands full with my still relatively new business, between engaging clients (hooray!), doing timekeeping and invoicing (boring!), and opening my operating and trust accounts, which can get me in some serious trouble if I mishandle them, even inadvertently (scary!). When you have two kids under three, including a budding toddler, things can get kind of crazy nuts. Add to this the fact that I am not a huge fan of planning parties to begin with (yet I love the idea of being a wedding planner, somehow, in my “fun job” fantasy world), and basically, I just haven’t put the effort into planning Aurelia’s first birthday party.
With Mackenzie, I had similar feelings: no time to plan, and I’m really bad at this. Yet, because she was the first kid, and this was the first birthday, I felt compelled to do something … big. Now, understand that “big” for me in terms of party planning normally involves little more than rounding up the tumbleweed-like cat hair strewn over my hardwood floors, buying one of those stupid veggie platters with the ginormous tub of ranch dressing in the middle, and placing an open jar of salsa next to a week-old bag of Tostitos and a bottle of Absolut that was opened last year. BAM–now that’s a party. It occurred to me that a child’s first birthday should perhaps be, um, a bit more kid-friendly. I’m not so comfortable with those big party play places (Chuck E Cheese? Is that still a thing?) so we opted to grill some food and throw in some drinks and a birthday cake. I actually baked the cake — two, actually — which is a really big deal for me.
But who to invite? Check out your Facebook feed. Do you ever notice that your “friends” post pics from their kids’ birthday parties — the ones you weren’t invited to? That’s because they are your “friends,” not your friends. And I’m not saying that’s a bad thing; that’s just a reflection of the new way we interact thanks to social media. But don’t you think it’s weird when you see this stuff going on and realize that you’re not a part of it? Or worse, perhaps, when you get invited to an event created on Facebook, where clearly the event organizer invited every single person in his friends list? Social media makes life more complicated. But even with social media put aside – who to invite? Is the first birthday for close family only, for friends with kids only (which will probably come as a relief to your friends without kids, anyway), or for some awkward combination of some family and some friends only? This is the stuff I can’t handle, and the reason why I so rarely throw parties: fear of offending someone, somewhere, whether due to being left out or being overly inclusive with my guest list. Oh, and I’m an introvert, which of course makes social events super fun for me!
Well, we pulled off Mackenzie’s first birthday party over two years ago, and her second birthday was marked by a small family celebration and a trip to Mystic Aquarium. By that time, Aurelia had been born, and I knew this day would come … I really need to (a) find the time to plan a party for her, and (b) get over my discomfort with kids’ birthday parties in general.
Since we have two summer birthday kids, here is the default plan we’ve been working with: put off the “big” (gulp) celebration until smackdab in the middle of the two summer birthdays, which will fall right around late June or early July. Do an outdoor thing again, since that seems to work well for us. I’ll try to bake another cake that doesn’t suck, or, if I feel the pressure mounting, I will pick up a very nice professionally done cake. No mom on this forum is going to judge me for that, certainly. And in the meantime, since it is baby’s first birthday and we want this one to be special, I will make her my own little cake on her actual birthday, pick up some delicious ice cream to go with it (Mackenzie and I both love cheesecake or birthday cake flavored ice cream), and take lots of pictures of the first of what will hopefully be many cake experiences in her lifetime.
We will have the big party over the summer, for both kids, and the baby’s first birthday won’t be any less special just because she’s the second child. It will just be a bit different this time around. Happy Birthday Aurelia! Mommy loves you so much!