Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Top Five Tuesday: The Birthday Edition

You knew this Top 5 Tuesday would be all about birthday party tips, didn't you? Obviously.

1. Lists, lists, lists. I must have made 8,547 lists in preparation for this little party. Okay, that's an exaggeration. But I did make A LOT of lists because there were so many details I didn't want to forget. I wrote down what to buy, what to bring, what to cook, and when to have things done by. It may sound like overkill, but I reallyreallyreally recommend making yourself tons of reminders when you're planning something special like this for your kid, because you will have so much stuff on your mind that remembering to make the cupcakes ahead of time so they can cool before you frost them will absolutely be the last thing you're thinking about.

2. Keep your kid at the forefront of your planning. The party is for the kid, right? Even though I realize that Natalie will have zero recollection of her 1st birthday party, we still planned the party for her. That meant picking a place that was kid-friendly, at a time when she would be rested & fed & cheerful for visiting, with food and activities that were made for her as well as our adult guests. I really recommend having a kid's birthday party that isn't really long in duration. It felt like the party FLEW by, and it was sad to have to clean up and start tossing stuff when it seemed like we had just set everything up, but Natalie had definitely had her fill of visiting and being the center of attention, so that was that.

3. Remember the camera! This one is hopefully a no-brainer, but make sure you have your camera, video camera, and fully charged batteries with you. I would take it a step further and designate someone to take pictures and video for you. (Thank-you, Natalie's Uncle Harper, for stepping in and getting so many fantastic pictures of Natalie opening her gifts and eating her cupcake!) That way, you can focus on your child and not lug a camera around your neck the whole time. We failed in the video department--it just completely slipped my mind. Luckily, rumor has it that there are some short video clips out there that some of our guests took.

4. It's her party, and she can cry if she wants to. Don't set your expectations too high for your child--parties are overwhelming, and having all eyes on you is a lot for a little one to handle. No one is going to be disappointed if your one year old needs to get away from the party for a bit, or if he/she gets upset. Natalie definitely makes it clear when she's feeling like it's all a bit too much (hello, Christmas), so we did our best to follow her cues and let her do her own thing at her party. That meant that, yes, there were some tears, and definitely plenty of moments when Natalie wasn't even in the same room as her party. Oh, well--it was her party, so we figured she could take it in at her own pace.

5. Plan for clean-up. Somehow, with help from all of our thoughtful party guests, Natalie's first birthday explosion was cleaned up in a flash. I had done zero planning for the clean-up portion, though, so if everyone had not pitched in I would have been there all night. Also, cleaning Natalie up was a huge chore. My sister-in-law Marissa had warned us that the frosting was going to be a major job to deal with, and, boy, was she right! We brought tons of wet wipes and planned on just stripping her down after her cupcake to eliminate some of the mess until we could get her home for a bath. I am SO glad we anticipated that mess!


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