Well, it's official. We have a one year old, a toddler.
The weeks leading up to Will's big day were emotional ones for me. I simply couldn't believe that our precious Little Man, the baby we longed for, would no longer be a baby. Though he will always be my baby, of course, facing his first birthday meant facing the reality that he is growing up so quickly.
I was really concerned for a few days there, that I would be such a mess during his party that I would embarrass myself. I was crying over everything, couldn't even talk about his upcoming party or really do any planning for it without getting upset. Then, in the last few days right before his actual birthday and party, I found myself getting excited. It was as if I had fully mourned the passing of his infancy and was now fully ready to embrace all of the exciting times of toddlerhood. I threw myself into planning his party with great zeal.
If I do say so myself, the party turned out very well. I felt as if it really couldn't have gone any better. We did not attempt to make food ourselves, and purchased pre-made veggie and fruit trays (on sale, with a coupon, of course!) and had pizza delivered to the park. I did 2 liters of soda and bottled water to keep the cost of beverages down. I went pretty minimal on the decorations, as we were at a park, and I figured the playground would be a hit enough with the kids. Since it was a monkey-themed party, I was able to just use a lot of the things that Will already had to help decorate the tables.
The morning of the party, I had help from a good friend and my sister and brother-in-law also pitched in. Mike kept Will at home so that he could get in a good morning nap and arrive at the park ready to party. We got there a couple of hours earlier and had plenty of time for setting up and getting everything ready.
I was nervous about a few things . . . the parking lot of the park was small and there are several picnic shelters there that were all reserved, so I was worried there wouldn't be enough parking. But there was plenty. I was worried the pizza delivery guy would not show. But he was right on time. I was worried we wouldn't have enough pizza. But we had plenty, actually just the right amount. I was worried Will would not nap well in the morning and be overtired and not have a good time. But he napped for two hours and had the time of his life at his party. He loved every single second. We did end up with even more people than I thought we would have - 35 - but it was so wonderful to look around and see all of these people that love our little boy and care enough about him to come to his party. I don't think we'll do such a big party next year, but I have to say, I feel as if this one was a success. I kept it simple and tried to incorporate things that I thought he would enjoy.
I guess that would be my advice now that all is said and done with his party. First off, try to keep it as simple as possible. Ask for help and accept whatever you can get. Don't make food if you can avoid it, so it's one less thing on your list of things to do. And, above all, remember the point of the party: to celebrate your little one's first birthday. Try and make it fun for them and yourself, and I think your guests will feel that. I didn't feel stressed at all by the time the party started and Will didn't stop smiling and laughing the whole time. I had so many people tell me that they had never been to a nicer, more stress-free party for a little kid. I loved that.
His birthday itself, we actually just spent as a threesome. We came into his room when he woke up and sang happy birthday - the look he gave us was priceless, it's exactly the way he will look at us when he is a teenager. All that was missing was an eye roll! We gave him our present to him, which was a Power Wheels car he can sit in and drive himself. He loved it. I made his favorite for breakfast - blueberry pancakes - and we spent the day hanging around at home. We did take him Coldstone Creamery for his first ice cream treat. Well, actually, he had watermelon sorbet with blueberries, but he polished it off and seemed to enjoy every mouthful.
That might be the only disappointment (if you could call it that) from his party. He wasn't into his cake so much. Given his love for all things food, I was expecting him to mash into that cake and eat the entire thing. He just kind of picked at it and didn't seem to enjoy the bits he did get in his mouth. But we still got some good cake pictures.
All in all, it was really a wonderful celebration. This has been an incredible year of growth for us as a family, for him as a person, and for Mike and me as parents. I thank God every single day for this miracle that He has given us. Our lives our so much more complete, filled with so much more meaning with this Little Monkey here to remind us what is really important. I look forward to all that the toddler years will bring and sharing it here with you.