First Birthday Party Lessons

Probably like most new moms, I went into my daughter’s first birthday party wide-eyed and excited (with a tinge of sadness that my baby is growing up so quickly). As a busy working mom without a lot of free time, I tried to keep it simple. Although not residents, we were able to reserve the clubhouse at The Preserve at Alafia, a new apartment complex beautifully situated on the AlafiaRiver in Riverview. It was a pool party so there was no need for added entertainment, although my husband had a coloring table available for non-swimmers.

The Preserve at Alafia
The Preserve at Alafia

Between Facebook events and the Walgreens’ online photo store, this procrastinator finally managed to get the invitations sent. Word to the wise: plan your party with as much notice as possible to ensure more kids can make it. Families, especially those with multiple kids, tend to be pretty busy and have a much harder time making it to last minute events.

On the day of the party, we had a blast and Bailey powered through from set up to clean up without a nap (although there were definitely times when I thought she would have a meltdown). She loved being in the water and didn’t hate the chocolate baby smash cake we let her devour. Whether it was the sugar rush or the few minutes of alone time we gave her to check out the presents, she got a second wind. It was definitely a fun time, but I learned a few important lessons that day that might have helped me out.

Apparently, moms don’t actually get to eat during the party. With a suddenly shy baby glued to my hip and guests to entertain, I had completely forgotten about food until my stomach was grumbling in protest. I really wished I had eaten something before I left the house. Half of a double-sliced piece of pizza and three sips of water does not a lunch make. Just saying.

Ready for the pool!
Ready for the pool!

Also (and this is key), when it comes to blowing out the candle on your child’s cake be very wary. Don’t just be wary – I was just wary. I was certain my husband and I could help her blow out the candle and snatch it away before her tiny paws could reach for it. After all, we were holding the cake away from her at what we thought was a safe distance. In case you didn’t know, my daughter is somewhat of a ninja. I underestimated her curiosity because her perfectly timed lunge landed her with a palm covering the hot wax (the flame was already out, thank God) before I could stop her. (She may someday snatch the pebble from her sensei’s hand – she’s that fast.)

As a parent, you know all about the slow cry. This was the slowest of the slow cries. This was the one where you keep hoping it won’t actually develop into a cry. It wasn’t. If you’re not keen on feeling like you’ve failed your kid on her first birthday in front of all of your friends and family, be very wary of that candle. (She was fine, by the way – not even a mark on her hand. It was just the shock that scared her.)

And then came the tears.

Another helpful tip is to have at least two outfits handy. Luckily, I had the foresight to do this. You don’t want to find yourself with a chocolate-covered kid and no clean clothes. (Although I suppose a quick spray with the hose might do the trick.)

When it comes to the smash cake, you’ll need to tag team. One person handles the camera while the other keeps a wet cloth at the ready. Of course you’ll want to let your child dig in and have fun with the dessert, but be prepared for the sleepy, frosting-covered eye rub. You haven’t seen messy until you’re wiping chocolate icing from the corners of your baby’s eyes.

She had finally had enough!
She had finally had enough!

The last tip, and possibly the most important, is to make sure lots of pictures and videos are taken. So busy with hosting and fielding an overwhelmed infant, I didn’t have a chance to take a single picture. Not to mention we completely forgot to grab the camcorder. I’m now at the mercy of any pictures taken by our guests in order to document Bailey’s first birthday party.

What lessons did you learn from your child’s first birthday party? Did you have any major mishaps?


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