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Planning and Preparation

While a  little girl is growing up, I’m told, they spend many an hour planning their dream wedding to their perfect man.  As they get older, they find a guy that emits bodily noises at a level they can tolerate, trade in Cinderella’s Castle for the fire hall in town with cash bar and the ‘Banker’s Club’ series of spirits in plastic bottles, and then find themselves with a large gaping ‘party planning’ void that demands to be filled.  For many (including my lovely wife), the fixation shifts to someone else’s momentous occasion – baby’s first birthday party.

Thus for the past three months, my wife has been mired in developing every detail of Justine’s first major celebration, trying to pin down everything from the date and guest list to the desired ripeness of the cantaloupe in the fruit salad.  All decisions stem from the theme though, and most of the admittedly one-sided conversations about the party over the weeks were trying to figure out what it would be.  The original thought was Baby Einstein, but then swung wildly to a Swine Flu Pig Roast, then a Cutco Knives Party, before finally landing on the baby block theme that we ended up going with.  With that decided, all efforts went full bore into picking up anything cubed, from balloons with blocks on them, a cake made of fondant blocks, and my contribution, hundreds of pounds of cubed beef.

It’s astonishing to me that newly minted parents (myself included) spend such inordinate amounts of time and energy crafting memories for children whose age is expressed in months and not years. I must admit there were times of the past few weeks where I pondered whether we were going way overboard, or whether the whole festive nightmare was even necessary, considering her only memories of it will be through pictures, video, and mental images retrieved through intensive hypnotherapy.

To be fair to my wife though, after some surreptitious research in the dark corners of the Internet where Moms congregate to discuss motherhood, TLC, and fatherly ineptitude, our shindig falls on the milder side of first birthday parties.  After all, we  only ordered a single bust of Justine’s head carved in ice, rather than the 3 or 4 that some of these crazies get.  And no over-the-top pony rides for us – we’re just putting a saddle on a neighbors Mastiff and letting the kids take turns herding our cats around the backyard.

The party is tomorrow and is the culmination of several weeks of shopping, baking, arc welding and arts and crafts.  My wife and I are beyond exhausted, and there is still much to do before the big event.  But it will all be worth it for the smile on her face as she excitedly tears open her gifts and tosses them aside to play with the wrapping paper, grabs handfuls of the elaborate cake and smears them all over her expensive dress without tasting it, and then finally passes out in a fit of over-tiredness after throwing a magnitude 7 temper tantrum in front of our horrified guests.

Honestly though, we can’t wait.  It’s going to be memorable.  For us at least.

- MWF -

Fatherhood Friday at Dad Blogs

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  • Daddy Files

    Bless you guys and I hope the party is great. But for the life of me I just don’t understand the need for a theme and crazy decorations.

    People (and you’re right, you guys are on the mild side) spend all this money on their kid’s 1st birthday party. And then I watch as the kid invariably ends up forsaking all of his presents for the wrapping paper or a big box that the gift came in.

    The party is for the parents and the parents only. Thank God my wife agreed with me and I didn’t have to fight her on this stuff. It also helped that we were broke, but I digress…

  • BellaDaddy

    Ha! We hired a sitter,. had the kids play upstairs until the cake was lit…and the adults stayed downstairs and enjoyed a cocktail party. Everyone had a good time at our littles one’s first. Kudos!

  • Jason

    We give our kids one big birthday party around age 6 or 7. Other than that it’s just our parents and my sister, bro in law, and their kids. We just order pizza and eat cake.

    Until they’re older kids don’t care, much less know about what’s going on at their own party.

  • The Devoted Dad

    My wife baked this really cool butterfly cake and decorated the house to boot for my daughters 1st b-day. Definitely not over the top like we hear about, but still was quite a big deal. We had a lunch that literally fed 30 guests, and Jalyn, well, she loved the wrapping paper. It was definitely a memory, she will just have to relive it through the photos. -Jason

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