The other day I had a brain fart moment, struggling to remember what we did to celebrate Kyle’s first birthday. Keeping in mind, the kid is a million years old already and his first birthday probably happened when I was 12 (I was a teen mom, remember) and reckless and not Martha Stewart enough to find serviettes that matched cleverly picked out balloons. Yep, feelings of “bad mom” befell me faster than the speed of light and I had to calm myself down, because, let’s be honest, the kid probably doesn’t even remember his first birthday. (I asked, so I’m sure) But wait, hey, this means that none of my kids remember their first birthdays. Right? And if they don’t remember, then why the heck am I trying to find serviettes that matches cleverly picked out balloons for Jo’s first birthday?! I mean, does any of that even matter? Is having a first birthday party necessary?
If you’re able to spend those extra ronds on an elaborate first birthday party – that’s amazing! Celebrate your baby, girlfriend! You’ve managed to parent the kid for a whole year without losing your sanity. It’s a milestone worthy of celebration.
BUT since I have a big family and many a birthday to consider, I’ve decided to not do a big first birthday party for Jo this year. Honestly, the boy is much more concerned with how he can get his own toes into his mouth. Needless to say, my matching serviettes and cleverly picked out balloons will not impress him one bit.
Instead, I’ve opted for a cake smash shoot with Cutepix (Michelle did Kari’s cake smash shoot as well). I love this concept because it documents all the elements of a birthday celebration – the cake, the decor etc – and puts it altogether in one beautiful taken photo shoot, giving us those important first birthday memories (and baby pics to share at his 21st).
But, of course, a cake smash doesn’t include people and fun! So my spreadsheet brain and I decided to have a birthday PLAY DATE! What is a birthday play date and how on earth does it differ to a birthday party or a normal play date, I hear you ask. Good questions, Margaret, good questions. Well…
1. A birthday play date’s emphasis is on the word PLAY. I wanted to incorporate a lot of fun and toys and interaction with other kids HIS age. So yes, that meant that the invite list comprised of “one and unders”… no older kids. And yes, that also meant ALOT of playing because it’s his day and I want him to have fun (and possibly conk out afterwards, hello Greys Anatomy my old friend, how I’ve missed you)
2. The birthday play date would have NO: matching anything, birthday cake, elaborate decorations. Those things don’t matter… well, atleast not to my Jojo. And as for the pics… the cake smash took care of that, remember?
3. The birthday play date’s emphasis was on: Interaction. The mommy’s were encouraged to hang out and chat (I even told them to come wearing flip flops and yoga pants if they wanted) and the kiddies were encouraged to have fun. Instead of focusing on “what must happen next” ala birthday party vibes.
4. The birthday play date allowed me to celebrate my baby boy but it was minus the formalities, minus the stress and minus the copious amounts of spending money I dont have on stuff I don’t need… stuff that is probably not important to my 12 month old. Stuff like matching serviettes and cleverly picked out balloons.
The result? Probably the best birthday celebration we’ve had! I’ll share pics and more on what went down tomorrow. But I’d love to hear your opinion: Do you prefer a big birthday bash for your one year old? Or something more low key? How much money would you spend on a first birthday party?
Header image taken by Cutepix. Will share more about the cake smash pics on Friday!