You guyssssssss, my little Peanut isn’t such a little peanut anymore! Someone took my snuggly wee baby and replaced her with this gigantic kid who wants to scoot around and lick all of my furniture. Anyway, as one does, we celebrated this milestone with a party!
Given that we have a looming move across several states to prepare for, I wasn’t really in a position to spend lots and lots of time creating a Pinterest party complete with color scheme and Chinese lanterns and mason jars or whatever is going on over there. I’m swamped with a bunch of things and I had to accept, right from the start, that Martha Stewart was not going to be photographing this party for a big spread in any of her magazines. That said, I wanted to do my best to make it a special event for Peanut. I know that she won’t remember her party down the road, but she’ll have the pictures and stories about the day and she’ll know that we celebrated her, and that’s what counts. (Plus, let’s be realistic: the first birthday party is as much for the parents as it is for the kid, maybe even more so. It’s a chance to celebrate the fact that WE MADE IT through the first year.)
I didn’t have time to go too crazy with decorations, so I opted for “meaningful” over “voluminous.” I printed out pictures from Peanut’s birthday and the year that followed and made thirteen scrapbook pages: one for her very first day on Earth, and one for each of the twelve months that followed. Hubby hung them in the family room and the kitchen so that people could see how far our little preemie has come over the past year. Now that the party’s over, we’re leaving them up for a few more days, and then we’re going to collect them in a scrapbook that I bought for the purpose. So while we may not have had a house full of balloons or streamers, we had plenty of baby pictures, and I think that’s even better.
Anyway. Peanut is a summer baby (against my wishes – I’d have preferred her to have the fall birthday we were sold), so I envisioned a nice, relaxed backyard barbeque kind of shindig. Of course, that still means I could go crazy cooking and baking all kinds of extra fawncy treats. But I didn’t – not this year. We picked up burgers and hot dogs, fruit and veggie plates, and potato salad from Costco and called it good.
Peanut was an angel and endured getting passed around by people she doesn’t know well for several hours. She was well-paid for her tolerance, though: I’m talking about presents. Peanut still doesn’t really understand the concept – mostly, she just sat on the floor and ate wrapping paper (or tried to, anyway – I was overwhelmed with jealousy and kept pulling it out of her mouth; the Honest Toddler would sympathize). Fortunately, she had some present-opening helpers, since two of her guests were little boys (ages four and six) who were plenty willing to assist in paper-ripping.
One thing that was important to me was to bake the cakes (the big cake for the big folk, and Peanut’s smash cake). I mixed up a simple white cake batter and set a little bit aside for the smash cake, then baked them both off. I did use prepared icing (from the Wilton aisle at Michaels), but I pulled out my trusty Wilton tools, mixed the colors, and decorated the cake myself. I wish the flowers had come out looking more like daisies and less like pinwheels, but my flower tip had gone AWOL and people got the general idea. At least I haven’t lost my touch when it comes to writing in icing.
For those who aren’t familiar with the concept of a smash cake (it must be a regional thing; my mom had never heard of it): the idea is basically to bake the baby a little cake of her own, then let her go to town while snapping millions of pictures to use as blackmail later. I’m not going to post them here, because that would completely derail my plan to surprise her with them on prom night. (Imagine me laughing diabolically.) But trust me – they’re funny. Peanut had never had sugar before, and once she figured out that cake and frosting taste good, she was all over that. She was a little hot pink frosting monster by the end of the party.
We actually threw Peanut’s party the weekend before her birthday (which was on a Wednesday). This was partly so that we could get it out of the way and get packing, and partly because we already had a party to attend the following Saturday. But I also wanted to make her actual birthday special, so I took the day off work. We had a rough start to the morning, since Peanut was scheduled for her twelve-month pediatrician visit, complete with two shots. But she bounced back quickly and we took her out to our favorite pizza joint for lunch (well, we ate lunch), and she got to try out drinking with a straw for the first time. (Verdict: fun!). Then we came home, Peanut caught a nap, and when she woke up, she had a long afternoon of opening and then playing with her birthday presents from Mommy and Daddy:
I think, all in all, Peanut had a pretty good first birthday. Now the challenge will be to improve upon it next year. But that’s a whole year away – a whole year of new milestones and lots of fun away. Thanks for joining Peanut on her journey this year (and for virtually attending her party, if you made it this far)! And one more time, happy, happy birthday to my little love.