Wednesday, 3 December 2014

How to really celebrate a 1st Birthday.

My twin babies recently turned 1. With two other kids to think about, there was temptation just to mark the day with a couple of presents and a cake and to give the whole party thing a miss. But as the day crept up on me, I realised that I needed to celebrate the occasion.

Sure, a one year old baby will have no recollection of a birthday party. And of course they'd know no different if we decided to skip it altogether. We'd already done the 1st birthday party thing with our other two. Some would say, 'Meh, why go to the fuss all over again?'

Then I realised that I don't care about any of that. I've just had one of the biggest years of my life. The 1st birthday is a big deal and completely worthy of celebration. If you have a 1st birthday party coming up, I say make all the fuss you want. Get the caterers in,  invite everyone you know, hire a dancing clown if you like. Because the 1st birthday is a unique, emotional experience. And your baby only gets one of them.

But here’s what I think: the 1st birthday is really about celebrating YOU.

I mean, think about what you've been through for this kid. Pregnancy, birth, all those sleepless nights. For me, when a baby approaches its first year , it makes me think about all of this stuff. And how blissful, surprising, frightening and stressful it’s all being. Yep, all of these emotions. Sometimes in the space of 10 minutes.

Because the first year of having a baby, no matter how many others you’ve got, is intense and relentless. For me, it feels like I’ve just come up for air. There’s no greater learning curve than figuring out how to care for your baby.

I get major flashbacks as I near the end of the first year. I remember the anticipation about meeting my baby (or in this case, babies) for the first time, and the excitement I felt when my waters broke in the middle of the night. I well up when I think of meeting my babies for the first time. I love thinking of those early days with a newborn, spending hours feeding, cuddling and just staring at them in wonder. I remember checking their breathing and just constantly worrying about them. And I remember all the milestones: the first smile, the first roll, when they started crawling, and how proud I felt.

So at the end of that first year, after going through all of this stuff and making it to the end of that first year learning curve, you deserve a medal. And some sort of parade. This might be a bit stressful to organise though. I mean, you do have a baby, after all.

But my point is, you deserve every minute of fuss. Getting a baby through its first year is a huge achievement. So if you’re wondering what to do for your baby’s first birthday, and it really doesn’t matter if this is your first or your fourth, I say go ahead and plan a huge shindig to celebrate getting through that first year. Enjoy every moment, take lots of photos, revel in the fuss. And if it’s your cup of tea, book a babysitter and go out for celebratory drinks. It’s probably been about a year since you’ve had one, right?

What about you? Have you got a 1st birthday coming up, or have you recently celebrated one? Or do  you think there’s another birthday equally worth celebrating in a large fashion?

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