My mom used to tell me these cute little stories when I was growing up and before my own children were old enough to speak. These seemed like cute little things that she just HAD to be making up. She also told me what she called the “mother’s curse” which I also believed had to be just another story. Well, all I can say now, 9 years after my first child was born, is LISTEN TO THE STORIES YOUR MOTHER TELLS YOU! These stories probably aren’t made up, and mom isn’t telling them to you as a joke….it’s real!
The first birthday party. Always good fun, a great celebration, a wonderful excuse to gather the family and to show off what you little one can do. I was lucky enough to listen to the stories on this one and cone up with a solution that worked for me.
No matter what you do to celebrate this occasion, there are three things that 95% of first birthdays have in common: guests, presents and cake. If the guests are ones that the now one-year-old doesn’t see very often this can cause problems. If the little one isn’t used to large gatherings of people or constant attention from a stream of different people, this too can cause problems. Neither of these are the root of the cute story.
Presents are always fun, so we can rule that out right there. The cute story is the cake. Lesson number one when it comes to the cake: make it while little one is sleeping, this helps it survive the first ten minutes. Lesson number two: put it up high or in the fridge once it’s made….it doesn’t matter how high your counters are or how far you think that cake is pushed back…five seconds is all it takes for little fingers to find icing.
That being said, everyone wants to get a picture of little one and little one’s first look at their birthday cake. This involves putting the cake near the bubbly, smiling one. You can try to stand to the side with the cake, behind the high chair or anywhere else sort of nearby, but to get the excited reaction, you have to get near the child with the cake.
It does not matter how long (or short) you THINK those chubby little arms are, they will turn into Go-Go-Gadget arms. There will be chunks taken out of the cake, gobs of icing flying, crumbs bigger than the kid’s hand hitting the floor, and (I hope you remembered to remove the child’s “adorable” birthday outtfit) icing, cake bits, and “what is that?” smeared down the front of a child positively shrieking with glee. By the time you have gone through the “how did s/he move that fast?” and “how did that much icing already end up plastered to my child’s hair?” thought process, nearly half the cake is gone and the last piece removed is flying at your face.
Now I know, if you have never seen a first birthday you are thinking “My 6, 8, 10, 11 (whatever) month old already makes a mess with their food. It gets everywhere. There is no way the mess of birthday cake can be that much worse than last night’s mashed potatoes, spaghetti, whatever…” Yeah, I thought that too. The first birthday cake is “wear a garbage bag, go outdoors if it’s warm enough, cover your furniture with plastic if you can’t, remove anything that could possibly be ruined by icing, sugar, water, etc from the room, better yet, remove EVERYTHING from the room” messy.
My advice? Make the kid a large cupcake that is a mini version of the real thing. Play on camera distances and angles to make it appear closer to the size of the real thing. Than let the birthday baby go to town!
No matter how dark the day, the sun is always shining somewhere!