First birthday parties are for the parents {Rookie Moms Challenge #52}

I can’t believe it’s been a year! Beyond the fact that my son morphed from an amphibian-like newborn to a caveman toddler in 365 days, I can’t get over the fact that I’ve survived and kept him alive through all of those changes! Rookie Mom’s Challenge #52, “Celebrate Your Way” is aptly named – I’m a firm believer the first birthday party is truly for the parents, not the child. (Although I’m hoping someday my son Eli will look back at the photos and believe it was all out of love for his tiny little self that we threw a huge bash, rather than his mother’s self-indulgent tendencies…)

My husband and I decided to throw a pretty big party for our little one year old, inviting lots of our family and friends to help us celebrate one year of parenthood, er, Eli. Okay, both. But mostly parenthood. Let’s be real.

While we had lots of family staying in town for his party, it was pretty quiet the morning of his birthday, so we filmed waking him up (the CUTEST) and then threw balloons into his crib to celebrate. He LOVED it. They were a huge hit and we had so much fun watching him beat and play with them. Of course, I watched him super carefully to make sure nothing popped to protect him from swallowing any balloon parts and we had a blast throwing them in the air and watching them fall.

Our party was scheduled after most children’s afternoon naps, from 4:30-7 p.m. and we ran it open house style. We had lots of young families coming, so we wanted to be sure they felt comfortable to come and go as they pleased. Since we hosted it at a community center, I and a few other people ran over a few hours before the party started to get everything set up and ready to go. Eli stayed home with Grandma to get his beauty rest, with firm instructions to be dressed and at the party by 4:30 p.m. (Seriously, planning this thing felt like I was planning a mini wedding and Eli was the bride.)

We kept everything super simple at the party, no real program and we also asked for no gifts – so there was no formal opening ceremony, but people were generous enough to still allow Eli to make out like a bandit. And to my surprise Mike and I were gifted with a few things as well. From wine and beer to movie tickets, people were so thoughtful to include us in the gifting (And they apparently share my view that the party is really for the parents. Right on.)

We did gather everyone together for about 10 minutes, and my husband gave a short little speech thanking everyone for coming to the party and he said some super sweet things about Eli and me.

Then before we knew it, it was smash cake time! Eli has a mild obsession with his pointer finger, so there was lots of that going on, poking and prodding the cake before he actually took a taste.

His cousin also jumped in there to give a play-by-play of Eli’s pointing and to let everyone know ten times over that it was Eli’s birthday. Which really meant, “Aunt Laura and Uncle Mike’s celebration of parenthood,” of course.

All in all, the day was so fun and the time and energy to plan his party was totally worth it. I truly do hope Eli looks back on these photos someday and does see how much we loved him, even as a destructive, incoherent, unintelligible, adorable, sweet, sensitive toddler. On the surface, the party may have been to celebrate our survival as parents, but it would have never happened had this little boy never come into our lives – giving us so much joy, delight and happiness – and that’s what we were really celebrating.

Find more baby activities with the 52 weekly rookie mom challenges.

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