The First Birthday
In L.A. you have two choices for a first birthday party: intimate or obscene. While turning one is a huge milestone, and for us, a victory lap celebrating fertility success, we didn’t want to go all Tori Spelling and hire an event planner to light up our yard with crystal chandeliers, find Cirque Du Soleil performers who do face paintings, and have pony rides (and pony waste in the yard).
All the reputable baby books advise choosing a simple kid theme like Winnie The Pooh, limiting the party to one or two hours (in between naptimes), and inviting only close family and friends, so you don’t overstimulate your kid to exhaustion. Well, simplicity is a tall order…
We settled on a more adult, yet festive, Caribbean theme, and hired Prince Bernard, an affable steel drum player from Haiti, who we found at the Farmer’s Market. We invited 70 of our closest friends and flew in out-of-town family.
On the day of the party my mother and I tied dozens of purple, pink, and green balloons to the pool fence. We rented high-top tables with white linens, had it catered by a local Caribbean restaurant who provided tray-carrying servers who could navigate the narrow yard. We were happy not dealing with the food ourselves. And Caribbean was a big hit, despite the jerk chicken being spicy for the kiddie guests. Another good idea was rolling out a big bouncy castle in front of the house to keep the neighbors’ kids busy and out of our party. Also, we snuck a snow cone machine in the back by the bar, which featured a thirsty parent mixed drinks station and a uniformed bartender (A.K.A. our nanny). We topped it all off with a big fancy cake, with a relief buttercream version of baby’s favorite bunny, which she may or may not have recognized. However, the real icing on the cake was witnessing our baby take her first steps and stroll proudly around her own birthday party.
The party lasted three hours to the minute. Right in between naptimes. Prince Bernard packed up his drums and synthesizer, told everyone to “God Bless,” after he got paid, and disappeared. Presents were opened- mostly girlie girl dresses (*see prior Apples and Oranges post) and people left like magic. We’re told (they could be lying) it was tasteful and not over-the-top. Only the price per hour was obscene.
Now the million dollar question: will the baby remember it? Probably not. But that’s what digital cameras are for. We celebrated her and that is priceless.« Top »