Parental Advice: 1st B-Day

Is it important to have an ‘event’ for your child’s first birthday?

I moved a few months ago and do not know any others in the area who have young children. Is birthday number one too soon to be worrying about other kids? At what age does this become important? Is it only after the child has started school?

I would like for all of the family to come out. We will have a cake, we will take the obligatory messy-cake-face pictures, and we will give her a few wrapped items which she can open by creating bite-sized pieces of wrapping paper which she will inevitably go straight to her mouth. Beyond that am I missing anything or depriving her of something which will warp her forever after?

Do I need to decorate? Balloons and banners and such?

Tell me, what is a child’s first birthday all about?

Thank you.

You can do what ever you and your family want to do for your child’s first (and every other) birthday. My family only ever had family parties until we were 12 or 13. The main attraction at the family party was the cake.

She isn’t going to remember her first birthday anyway so don’t go to a lot of trouble planning a party you don’t really want.

You can have ballons and stuff if your family and your baby would enjoy them. Otherwise why bother?

My neice’s first birth was the most recent in my family. It was family only. The only decoration was funny hats because they are fun. :slight_smile: She opened her presents (or rather we opened them for her). And then she sat in her highchair and ate a big peice of cake which we let her make a mess with. Then we took pictures and gave her a bath. Good times.

What? No pony? No clown making balloon animals? No moonwalk? No band? No live satellite feed for the nightly news??

Sorry. Kinda got stuck in the sarcasm mode there. I blame the cold weather - I’m really a kindly person. :smiley:

My advice - celebrate birthdays in whatever way you wish. There’s no law that says you have to make a grand production or hire a hall for toddlers or drag a dozen preteens to an amusement part. Don’t get sucked into the mindset that you have to do certain things for kids’ birthdays. It’s not a competition - really!!

Incidentally, I giggled at the description of bite-size pieces of wrapping paper!

Something very small. For ours it was just Kate and one set of friends with a kid. One year olds don’t play together much anyway.

We had family only for both of the boy’s first birthdays, but of course people all do whatever they like.

Once your child is older, you’ll start to see her personality developing a little more and know more about what her preferences are. With my first son, when he was old enough to have kid parties, he found it all a bit overwhelming and played in the corner with one or two other kids only. (Not that it matters.)

We’ve spent tons of money on special birthday places like the Playdium, Chuckie Cheese’s, bowling and movie parties, etc. All too overwhelming for my older son, but my younger one loved them.

It’ll be easier to judge when she’s older. For now, family only parties are totally fine and alot less aggro IMO.

We took the family out for pizza, and had cake and funny hats.

Unless you need to cement your client base and need an event as an excuse to do so, just make it simple. I started my son with the “party with friends” thing at around 4.

Keep it simple and you’ll enjoy it a whole lot more. The kid really only cares about the cake, anyway.

The first birthday is more for the parents, I think, than the baby.

Keep it small, just family, and take lots of pictures to embarrass the child when they hit puberty.

Emmy still can’t really be around other kids or large crowds so for her one year, we had a family party with cake, hats and drinks. We had a party tablecloth for pictures and let her make a mess with some cake. It was wonderful fun!

Board Boy’s first birthday was just grandparents and us. We took pictures, did the cake, opened a couple presents, blah, blah, blah. The first birthday is DEFINITELY for the parents and grandparents. The kid will look at you and wonder why you’re all acting so strange.

The 2nd birthday, however, made ME cry. I invited three neighborhood kids and NO ONE CAME. NOT ONE. And no phone call or anything, either. He didn’t care, but I was totally bummed.

For our daughter’s first, we had a small get-together at my in-laws. Some presents, but she really didn’t understand what was happening.

Except for one thing: We gave her her first taste of ice cream, a little bit of vanilla. She took one taste and then opened her mouth really wide.

I was trying to remember my daughter’s first, then it occurred to me - we didn’t have one. I sent cupcakes and a camera into her daycare and they took pics for me. I don’t think she had a real party till she was 4.

Maybe not at all relevant to your situation but, in latin cultures the 1st birthday is a huge deal. This is the one where we go all out, not really sure why, my guess is that this is the only bday opportunity where the child will have little say in the party theme so the parents are free to live vicariously.

We had a family celebration for my son’s first birthday. I went to a first birthday party for some other babies that year, and the babies always seemed to burn out long before most adults would’ve felt like it was time to go home.

We decided that other than the photo op, it was really about celebrating us making it through that first year, all of us. So we also celebrated by asking a few of our close friends to go to dinner with us at a family-friendly restaurant. It was nice.

We did decide to do something for my son’s 2nd birthday, but I was uncomfortable with the idea of everyone buying him gifts. So we hosted a party at the local petting farm, and I told people that if they wanted to bring a gift, to bring an art supply contribution for our local nursery school which caters to low-income families. After the party, I took it all to the school. The beauty of that plan was that I felt comfortable asking many more of our casual acquaintance (who had kids) to come, even people with whom we’re not in a usual gift-exchanging type of relationship.

Both my kids had family parties for their first birthdays.

My son is Korean, so both my kids had some elements of the Korean Tol in their day.

Cake, presents (that they really weren’t up to unwrapping or caring about). Kept it short, because a one year old tires out fast. We did have balloons, which both of my kids responded to well at that age (the mylar ones, that are somewhat more difficult to pop and choke on - and last forever).

My son is now four. We had his first friends party this year and it was a HUGE HIT with him and his friends. Pirate themed. A big deal. It was in August and his daycare friends still talk about it.

My daughter is three. We didn’t do a friends thing for her, since she is still too little to really be able to name her daycare friends - and I didn’t want to be the first to start that horrible reciprocal arrangment of child birthday parties - but we did rent a superjump and have all of OUR friends and their kids over.

So the friends thing happens between three and four.

We’ve been to a number of first birthday parties for friends of ours - usually when the extended family is out of town.

In my family, barties were few and far between, not the expected norm. We celebrated with family, grandparents if they were around, and had a great time. We took cupcakes to school for our friends and usually the school office would announce our birthdays during the morning announcements and that was about it. I didn’t have a real “Birthday Party” complete with friends, decorations, and sleepovers until I was 10 or 11. I may be biased ;), but I don’t think I’m warped because of it either.

I have the pictures from my 1st birthday. It was just me, my mom and dad and a small angelfood cake I decided to wear as a bracelet. :smiley:

barties = birthday parties

Dang insert key!

We had family only, and it was mostly for them. There’s a lot of family, though, so that was more than enough. We just had a BBQ in the backyard, a few presents, and an applesauce cake (I just couldn’t bring myself to give frosting to a 1-yo. Obviously I am an uptight first-time mom…). She really liked the ice cream. It was basically a family get-together that featured cake.

Our neighbors did it up right.

They rented a room at a local hotel and invited family and neighbors. They had the usual puppet show, presents and food.

Then the placed the kid, naked but for a diaper, in front of his very own 6" frosted chocolate cake. We gatered around to watch the fireworks.

What was better was hearing dad cleaning up son in the mens room sink when another fella walked in: “Really, this isn’t what you think it is!”