I’m in a reflective mood today.
I’m very much still trying to get my head around the fact that we have a one-year-old and a two-year-old, after Emi’s birthday – which is incredibly just over two weeks ago.
I wanted to recap that day a little bit and also give some advice to anyone who may be planning their own little one’s first birthday party.
First of all, let me make it clear, there is absolutely no ‘need’ for a party for a little one’s first birthday, none at all.
For us we made the decision that’s what we wanted to do, as we did with Rupert 18 months ago. With his party though we weren’t restricted by Covid-19 and were free to have all of his family there in a nice church hall. With Emi though, we were only allowed a limited number of people and we had to be outside too.
Because we have Rupert we know we need to plan something that he’s going to enjoy as well, and we originally planned to go to Whipsnade Zoo, as both of the children seem fascinated by animals. So, all week we checked the weather forecast and with a week to go saw that it was due to rain on the Wednesday. Each day though, it changed. One day it was raining, then it was only cloudy, then it was due to rain at 1pm, then back to just cloudy, then hang on a minute? Sun?
So, we decided to risk it, got the BBQ out and invited our closest family over so they could see our baby girl on her birthday.
And that would be my next piece of advice. Not only do you not necessarily need a party, but you only need those closest to you to share the day. Yes, it would have been lovely to have had ALL of our families, and friends, round to see her, of course it would, and in years to come I’ll tell Emilia that Covid is the only reason she didn’t have a party like her brother.
The point is we get sucked in by the pressure of it all. We see pictures on social media, we hear what others have planned for their little ones and we instantly feel this need to compete, so we can tell everyone that we did X, Y and Z and it was incredible, and we had 100 people there etc.
The truth is, people are free to celebrate in any way they want. If you want to invite everyone you’ve ever known and spend thousands on it then you can. But if you want something more intimate, then that is also great. The main thing you’re doing is commemorating a fairly significant milestone in your baby’s life – you’ll remember it, they most certainly won’t.
We played it simple in the end. We had a balloon arch, some extra balloons and some ribbon for decoration, as well as some balloons in three boxes that spelled out ONE. We put up some of our wedding bunting in the garden, we put a speaker out there too for some tunes and just had a chilled one.
We did the usual birthday bits too, we sang happy birthday, had cake and opened presents, it was just a bit different to a usual celebration.
So, overall, my advice is this – don’t put too much pressure on the day. Yes, it’s a significant milestone but at the end of the day, your children will remember your love much more than they’ll remember whether or not they had a party with hundreds of guests. By one you usually know what they like to do and their routine, so plan a day with them in mind and everyone else can fit around it.
In the early years a party is more for the parents than it is for the children, so put your effort into getting some age appropriate, developmental toys and forget about that five-piece band you hired – you know they’d rather listen to the Hey Duggee theme song on loop anyway.*
*Note: That’s definitely Rupert, that or the Moana soundtrack.