Congratulations, you’ve made it 12 months! Your baby — excuse me — toddler, is healthy and happy and oh, so cute. Look at her trying to climb the TV cabinet. Yeah, you’d better grab her before she breaks something or eats a cable.
Now that she’s safe, let’s talk birthday parties. The big question is if you should have one. On the one hand, your baby is one — yay, birthday party! On the other hand, she doesn’t even know what a birthday is; she’s still grappling with the concept that her toes belong to her. It’s a tough debate, so to make it a little easier, here are five great reasons you may want to organise a first birthday party, along with five reasons why you may want to give it a miss.
So what are the pros?
1. The memories
One day, when you regain feeling in your hand after having frosted 50 cupcakes, you’ll look back on the day and smile. You’ll flip through the photos and remember how much fun it was to see your baby surrounded by love on his special day. You’ll smile about the adorable first birthday outfit, the fun theme and how beautifully everything came together. Then, when your baby grows up, she’ll be able to look through the photos, too. The memories may just be worth the madness.
2. You made it!
Growing a human from a helpless newborn to a feisty toddler is hard work. It took 12 months of rocking, sleepless nights, several tons of spit-up and more nappies than you’d care to count to get here. So even if the baby doesn’t really know what’s going on, why not party? It’s as much a celebration of your parenting skills as anything else. You made it! Damn straight you should have cake!
3. Family love
It’s not every day that both sides of the family and your closest friends can be herded into one place at the same time. That kind of nuttiness is rare and should be embraced. It is the perfect opportunity to make memories, reminisce about the past and just have fun with the people who’ll be in your and your baby’s life for a lifetime.
4. It only happens once
Your baby will only turn one once. That’s it. This is your only shot at a first birthday party. Hosting a first birthday when your baby is five because you’ve changed your mind won’t go down well. So why not just go for it? Balls to the wall. No regrets!
5. First birthday parties are fun and cute
Come on! A tiny person dressed in a birthday outfit with itty-bitty snacks, cupcakes, decorations and games? The very first birthday cake ever? What’s not to love? Plus, this will be one of the last chances you’ll have to decide on the theme of the party; once your baby gets older, he’ll call the shots. No input needed, mum.
Still not convinced? You might be onto something. Here are the cons:
1. That family member — you know the one
Every family has one — the token crazy relative who has to be invited but will almost certainly do something weird. As the party nears, you’ll lose hours of sleep imagining the worst-case scenarios. Your suspicions will come true when your aunt announces that she hates kids and then spends the rest of the party talking about anal glands.
2. It’ll send you broke
“It’ll be small,” you’ll lie to yourself, “just a handful of the most important people, some candles and a cupcake.” But before you know it, everyone you’ve ever met will descend into your backyard, you will have bought every balloon in town, hired a caterer, cake maker, photographer, bought three separate birthday outfits and organised a personal appearance by Oprah Winfrey.
3. Your baby’s reaction
Despite all of your hard work, your little princess or prince will probably remain oblivious and ungrateful. The guests, the cake and the decorations will all terrify her and no amount of clapping, singing or smiling will convince the guest of honour that this is a fun way to celebrate the moment she came into the world.
More: 9 Kids’ birthday cake fails that will probably traumatise them for life
4. The stress
Coordinating all of the bits and pieces — food, decorations, cake, outfits, invitations, a venue, etc. — while taking care of a baby is a bit like trying to prune a garden in the midst of a tornado. It takes dedication, patience and just a touch of insanity. With that comes stress. Is there enough food? Should you have games? Should the tutu be pink, green or green and pink?
5. The emptiness
Just as quickly as it came, it’ll all be over. Months of planning, hours spent on Pinterest and Etsy looking for the perfect birthday banner and evenings devoted to sticking and sewing will all fade into the past. In their place, emptiness. Nothing. Just restless hands, the feeling that you’re forgetting something and the startling realisation that your baby is now a toddler.