April 5, 2007

Happy Birthday Baby!

A child's first birthday. Either you host the birthday party or you are part of one at some point and they are always, always over the top. When we started to plan our daughter's first birthday party we thought it would be something small, no fancy decorations, just an easy homemade cake. Well, that's how it was supposed to be anyway.

The whole event started at The Party Store where there are rows and rows of childhood necessities to make the ultimate birthday party. You're roped in when you hear the saleswoman say, "Oh, I've seen people spend $400 on their child's first birthday party."

You look in your cart where you have one Happy Birthday Banner, the cheapest invitations you could find, and a package of balloons to blow-up.

By the time you leave, you have everything matching in a certain theme of course, whether it be Strawberry Shortcake, Winnie the Pooh, Elmo or the tons of other child themed cartoon characters that are out there. By the time we left, we had matching napkins, hats, invitations, thank you cards, two banners; one for the kitchen and the living room, tablecloths, cake candles with press on figures, first birthday bib, first birthday sippie cup, first birthday crown and the ever dreaded piƱata.

All for a small family affair, that is until your mother realizes you aren't inviting Aunt so and so, or the cousin who just moved back to town that you haven't seen since you were eight, or her friend from work who would love to attend because she says, "What a cute grandchild," every time your mother flashes your daughter's picture.

We decided to have dinner at the party which included a whole other set of issues. My sister-in-law doesn't eat certain types of meat and the meat she does eat, my only sister pretty much doesn't eat. And that pretty much leaves hamburger.

So I run down the list of what we could easily make since all of my family live three hours away in South Bend and all parties have to be there otherwise, I don't think anyone would attend.

Hamburgers would be okay, but it is too cold to grill outside, there's spaghetti which is pretty much the poor man's dinner (I mean really, you don't go to a special event and eat spaghetti with Prego sauce dumped on it), meatballs which personally I have no idea how to make, lasagna which takes a long time, so that left tacos. All of the high school/college kids that would be there like them, my nephew engulfs them and voila, it has hamburger! Not much in the way of gourmet food but I figure it'll pass.

The party was going to be held at 4:30 P.M. so the plan was to go and buy the balloons and then buy the groceries. The party/balloon store was very busy and when we finally arrived at the counter to buy balloons the cashiers were ready to get the order and get us out.

"We need some balloons," I told them.

And then the questions boomed out at me, "How many, what kind, how do you want them attached, did you want to order the twelve for this much or the four for this much, what kind of weight do you want them attached to, blah, blah, blah."

Since I have never bought balloons for anything before I started asking questions. This was where it started to go wrong. There wasn't room for questioning, not with a line of ten people behind me. After the balloons were added up, the cashier overheard me saying to my husband that we have to go to the grocery store now.

"You're not going to leave these balloons in the car are you?"

"Um," I said, "I was."

"Oh no, no, no. You can't do that, they'll pop."

I made a mental note to myself to check out a book called Ballooning 101 the next time I was at the library because obviously there is some science and preanalyzing that needs to be done before you step inside a balloon store.

I thought I would start the party with a few games. I happen to love party games, most of the adult population (and older relatives) do not like party games. Me asking the guests to write down on a piece of photo safe/acid free paper "Why is Olivia special?" for the scrapbook I was going to make was probably asking a bit much. By the time we got to how many M&M's are in the jar, I pretty much lost them.

After the games, we moved on to the taco dinner. Just saying "taco dinner" sounds like I had a trailor park birthday party. It's like those charity luncheons where you pay $50 dollars and expect chicken or steak and all they have is a table long sandwich from Subway. I guess that's why I wrote appetizers and dinner will be provided on the invitations instead of get ready for a taco dinner made from a Taco Bell kit.

After dinner, Olivia blew out her candle on her Care Bear cake. As you can see by the picture, she was not fond of having her hands covered in frosting. She first thought it was neat to stick her fingers in the cake, then looked at her fingers like, "How do you get this stinky junk off my hands?" and then it escalated to, "Someone get this stuff off my hands now!"

By the time we got to the presents, the party had been rather long. My brother was yawning and people were looking pretty bored. But the main thing is that we have pictures and when she grows up, she'll see that she was loved, even at the age of one little year.

No comments: