So N turns one on Thursday. ONE. As I’ve found to be the case most of the time, nearly every parenting cliche holds true. I CAN’T believe how fast it’s all going, he DOES get more fun every day, and I AM so proud of us all for getting through this year more or less intact. Also I wish Dreft would stop showing that goddamn commercial that ends with, “you have a child forever, but a baby for just one year.” SHUT UP, DREFT. Anyway, I love him to pieces and he has truly changed my life for the better in this his first year. However:
I don’t want to throw a birthday party for a one-year-old. I hate throwing parties, period. I cannot have three people to dinner without breaking out in hives. The idea of competitive mommying in the arena of birthdays makes me want to puke.
A few weeks ago, I asked facebook whether it makes me a bad parent that I don’t see the point of giving a party for a person who still puts his hand in his own poop during diaper changes. I mean, if you can’t remember not to do THAT, you certainly aren’t going to remember your first birthday. I get great, supportive responses:
“That makes you a SMART parent! Go, girl!”
“It makes you an ADULT parent!”
“Family-only birthday parties until age four!”
And so I go on with my life feeling good about my choices, since the people who really matter, my facebook acquaintances, approve of me.
Slowly but surely, though, things start to turn around. People close to us start to lament that nothing “big” is happening. The voices of “you only get one chance to celebrate a first birthday” get louder. When I tell people he’s turning one, I get “ooh, how exciting! Are you having a big party? Are you having all his little friends over?”
Ok, first of all, a one-year-old doesn’t have friends. N’s best friends are me, C, the doorstop in the bathroom, and the two flowered pot holders that he takes everywhere with him. Putting babies on a blanket together doesn’t make them friends. A similar interest in bright colors, small mammals, and cheerios doesn’t really count as being like-minded. Second, what would we even do at this party? It’s not like they can play games or slow-dance. They can bite each other and drop things in the toilet. Good times. At the tender age of one year, they are not going to remember that the tablecloth plates cups napkins hats balloons streamers centerpieces and cake all had the same monkey theme. I, on the other hand, will be haunted by the image of that smiling monkey for the rest of my life.
In what I hope is a tolerable compromise, I’ve agreed to a teeny-tiny family birthday “party.” There will be cake, and maybe 1/3 of the available monkey-printed paraphernalia. We will love on him and take photos and let him smear cake all over his face, and we will drink to our survival of the first part of this great adventure. Just family and one or two grownup friends.
And the pot holders. Obviously.