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What says "milestone" more than "birthday"? And what better way to record that milestone than with cake and presents and family and friends and balloons and fireworks and pony rides and an ice sculpture in the shape of the birthday boy or girl, right? Okay, maybe not, depending on what your party style is, or maybe not at all, if you're the type who doesn't like to host birthday parties, especially for kids too young to appreciate them. Obviously, chances your kid will remember his or her first birthday are about as good as them knowing how to rollerblade by then, but does that mean you shouldn't throw a party? I've heard people argue on both sides of the issue.
We're a party family, so it wasn't even a question with us. The more parties, the better. As for Baby's first birthday party, we don't worry much about whether he'll understand or appreciate what's going on, because for us the first birthday it isn't really about the kid anyway, or at least not in the way second and third and fourth and sixteenth birthdays are. Our first birthday parties are about the baby but for the parents, and I don't think there's anything wrong with that. The party we threw for my one-year-old last weekend was a Stayin' Alive party, which, yes, was a great excuse to buy two dozen disco balls, but it more an opportunity to publicly celebrate that we--the parents--had survived the infanthood of our "challenging" baby. Did said baby understand the theme and decor and why his house was so crowded and loud for one afternoon? Of course not. But he had fun anyway.
On the other side of the coin are the parents who say, "He's not going to remember it, so why bother?" I get what they're saying--especially freshly reminded of how much work even a small party can be--but I also know that when it comes to childhood milestones, emotion tends to hold more sway than logic. Plus, I wouldn't pass up the opportunity to watch my baby taste chocolate cake for the first time.
As with any special occasion, birthdays have a way of getting commercialized and blown all out of proportion if you let them, but to me they can remain small and sweet if you remember what they're about: celebrating your child with the people you love, and the people who love you. How could that ever be "unnecessary"?
Did you/will you throw a birthday party for your one-year-old?
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