There are many memorable birthdays in ones life, but turning one is probably not one of them. Nor is the actual birth day, but I suspect that nature is doing us a favour by not granting us the ability to recall that moment! Imagine the shock of arriving in this world after 9 months floating in a cozy warm swimming pool, where all your needs were taken care of 24-7.
However, for new parents, the first birthday of your little one is a big one! And even if he can't remember it, we wanted to make Finley's first birthday memorable.
This year has been so full, I feel like I've done more than a year's worth of living. But on the other hand, I'm realizing the truth behind the saying: "The days are long but the years are short." I am amazed to look at this little dude - who is standing, cruising and climbing stairs, who drinks from his own cup, doesn't want to be spoon-fed and is pretty much over breast-feeding - and think of how quickly he's growing up!
Finley's birthday at the end of May is one day before one of his good friends, Vi. With Vi's parents, we decided that since we know a lot of the same friends, that we would host a combined party. The weather had been unseasonable warm and we planned a potlatch picnic to be held in the common green space at our townhouse complex.
There were only two hiccups:
- While we know many of the same people, we also know lots of not-the-same people. And when you get the common friends & uncommon friends together, you end up with a full house...
- Yes, a full house, not a full green space. It is May in the Pacific Northwest... Sunny weather doesn't usually stick around for too long in the spring. It was raining pretty hard on the day of the party, and the idea of 15-20 one year olds playing in the rain is nobody's idea of a good time.
It was a pretty chaotic scene. I meant to keep a tally of guests, but there was too much happening. Everyone brought something to share & we had lots of yummy food, including banana cupcakes & chocolate cupcakes. Finley was having fun until his nap time rolled around, then he had to excuse himself for a little sleep. I thought there was no way he would sleep with all the noise, but he had a really deep nap and missed most of his own party. He even missed the cake. I think he may have inherited some of his dad's introvert genes!
Not everyone was having a good time.
Zambo was just starting to understand the ways of a toddler, but she didn't quite know what to do with a whole room full of them! But did she leave and go hide? No, she stubbornly stayed put on the couch, surrounded by 15 pairs of grabbing little 1 year old hands. Finally I put her out on the back deck for everyone's safety. An hour later Connor, a little friend from daycare, tried to rescue her. Connor is 4 years old and has a very proper English accent. He came over to me and asked: "Can I let the cat in please, because I like cats ever so much." It was cute! But I still had to say no.
Pop quiz: what is the most like outcome of putting your child in a room with a bunch of other children?
Germs are part of childhood, this is a fact. It's a drag when Finley gets sick, but it's a unavoidable part of hanging out with other kids. The day before his actual birthday (3 days after the party), Finley woke with the classic croupy cough. It was nice to be able to recognize it easily & know what to do for him. I took him to one of my colleagues at the walk-in clinic & she gave him a dose of medication that made a huge difference. He still had to spend his birthday and the week to follow with a runny nose, cough & crummy energy, but it could have been worse.
For Finley's actual birthday we had a quiet lunch party. Grandpa Bruce & Grandma Sharon had been visiting from Ontario for 2 weeks and they came over for the party. I made a lunch spread with some sandwich fixings and salad. The highlight, however, was the banana cupcakes I made. They were quite delicious, if I do say so myself! Finley threw the cupcake aside on the first three offerings, but when he finally bit into one, he seemed pretty happy with the taste!
Finley got lots of really nice gifts for his first birthday:
|Awesome quilt made by Yoyo (Grandma Janet) and a lovely book with matching bib|
|Percussion set from mom & dad|
|Super cool ride-on toy from Grandpa Bruce & Grandma Sharon|
|Lovely photo from Finley's nanny (who is currently away in the Philippines but still arrange for this gift to be delivered!)|
|Custom growth chart for his "under the sea" bedroom|
From Finley, thanks to everyone for coming to the party, for bringing delicious food, for thoughtful gifts and birthday wishes. And from the mom & dad of Mr Toddler, thanks to everyone for your help, advice, love and support in our first year as parents! It's been a wild, but amazing ride, & we are so grateful to have awesome friends & family around us! We love you all!