Peanut Party

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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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:

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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.

12 thoughts on “Peanut Party

  1. I think this was a great idea! Of course you don’t want to go all-out with a huge, fancy party when you’re packing up all of your belongings and leaving town soon. Your daughter will love her scrapbook pages and photos to remember the day when she’s older.

    • Thanks, Zan! I think she will love looking back at her scrapbook and seeing how much she’s grown. Hubby and I were looking at the pages today and I realized that she didn’t really lose her “preemie look” until she was ten months old – seems crazy, because now she’s a cute little butterball!

  2. What a special day! It was so great to share it with you, your friends and neighbors. Uncle Dan especially liked the smash cake. I think he wanted one for himself. Our little one year has had SOME year! It has been great watching “peanut” grow into an adorable “nut”!

    • We were glad that you were able to make the party! There will be plenty more fun bonding times ahead. And tell Uncle Dan that if he wants, I’ll make him a smash cake for his next birthday. LOL!

  3. Happy Birthday, Peanut! Jaclyn, congratulations to you and your husband! My twins’ first birthday was a bittersweet occasion for us because, to borrow your words, we were sold a Spring birthday and yet had them in time for Christmas. BUT, we did get two celebrations out of it: their birthday and then their D-Day (discharge day), which felt like their actual birthday for the first few years. Do you have plans for a second celebration?

    • Thanks, Amal! In a way, it was good to have her birthday in the summer this year, because we treated it as the “last hurrah” in Virginia. (Still can’t believe it…) But I still wish that we were planning an apple-picking party, instead of a summer barbeque.

      We’re definitely going to celebrate Discharge Day, for sure. Not with a party, but I think we’ll take her on a special outing and she will get a few books and a fun dinner. It was such a momentous day for us that it seems right to commemorate it. I did want to ask you, though… We’re not thinking of more kids for a couple of years, but I’m hoping that the next kid, if and when he/she arrives, will be full term and healthy and come home immediately with me… which would, of course, mean no Discharge Day celebrations for baby #2. I know that your youngest came home much sooner. Do you celebrate her Discharge Day? If not, are you worried about any kind of jealousy when the kids are older? Like, of the “How come the twins get an extra celebration?” variety? I’m just curious how you deal with that issue or plan to deal with it when it arises – because I want to celebrate Peanut’s homecoming every year, but I’m wondering if it might create problems down the road if the next baby doesn’t have a long NICU journey and a momentous homecoming (and I don’t WANT those things for any future kids). You don’t have to answer this question, of course, but I was wondering and I can’t think who better to ask.

      • Hi Jaclyn! We’re always concerned about equal treatment in our house, all while trying to treat each child as an individual. We had bigger D-Day celebrations when my twins were 1-3 years old. Now that my twins have shown few repercussions of their early birth (thankfully!) and now that it’s become easier to celebrate their actual birthday, D-Day has lost some of its importance. So, I don’t think it will be much of an issue for Zayla, even though we haven’t been celebrating her D-Day the way we’ve celebrated her sisters’ D-Day (Zayla was discharged from the NICU 5 days after her actual birthday, while my twins’ D-Day is 78 days after their actual birthday).

      • That’s helpful – thanks! I know that kids are especially sensitive to any perceived inequalities (whether they’re real or not) so I was wondering how you planned to address the D-Day thing when Zayla was old enough to notice. I expect the trajectory will be the same for us – it’s a really big deal now, but by the time Peanut is five and her NICU stay is a distant memory, we probably won’t make it into quite as big of a celebration. October 11th will always be a special day for me, though!

  4. Love the term “smash cake”. My niece had a birthday cake and the first thing she did after seeing it was smash her hands into the pink icing, look at the icing on her palms and then gaze up at us, as if to say, “What the HECK is THIS stuff??!!”

    • Isn’t it so funny to watch their goofy little facial expressions? Peanut was into the cake almost immediately, and the look of dawning bliss when Daddy fed her ice cream for the first time (also at the party) was priceless. But my favorite is the look I get EVERY BLESSED TIME I feed her – this distrustful, worried look she gets when she tastes what’s on the spoon for the “first” time (even if she’s on her twelfth of twelve portions of a puree I’ve made her) – as if to say, “What are you trying to poison me with now, Mom?” And then she realizes, oh, this DOES taste good… and everything is fine. But seriously. She doesn’t trust me! Every blessed time.

      • That’s so funny. Maybe it’s the texture she’s reacting to.

        Wonder what’ll happen when Peanut discovers pizza? With whole wheat crust, lots of veggies and low-fat cheese, natch.

  5. Pingback: Happy 2014! (And a Look Back at 2013) | Covered In Flour

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