Tuesday, March 10, 2009
how to host a successful first birthday party
Step 1. Plan, plan, plan.
Start planning at least four weeks in advance. Make multiple lists - sorted by category. Obsessing is recommended. 4am to 6am are particularly fruitful hours to lay in bed and reorder your lists. Rework the lists in order to allow you to strike things off of them as many times as possible.
Step 2. Worry.
Although this goes hand in hand with planning, it is important that you spend adequate time worrying over the smallest details. When in doubt, run scenarios of bad weather, sick baby, and/or not enough food.
Step 3. Do not ask for help.
Convince yourself you can do it alone, given enough lists. Encourage your husband to go on his week-long business trip and know you will get everything done (and MORE) while he's gone. Laugh when this turns out to be TOTALLY UNTRUE.
Step 4. Schedule other commitments for the week leading up to the party.
12-month doctor's appointments, meetings, commitments to friends --- don't let the party be the only thing you are trying to do. It's boring to keep things within reason.
Step 5. Complicate things.
Do not settle for one flavor of cupcake, one type of chips/dip, one simple dessert. When in doubt, always make things more complicated. Two types of cupcakes, special desserts just for the babies in attendance, etc.
Step 6. Be detailed.
So detailed, in fact, that you make tiny little color-coordinated flags to top the vanilla cupcakes.
Step 7. Be crazy detailed.
So crazy detailed, in fact, that you decide the tiny little color-coordinated flags aren't as cute as tiny little flags made out of color-coordinated ribbon. Toss the paper color-coordinated flags and spend 45 minutes making ribbon flags with hot glue and toothpicks. Admire your work. They look smashing.
Step 8. Make a cake that is cursed.
(Specific details to follow...) Do not settle for boxed cake. Make a yummy chocolate batter recipe that is CURSED. That you get wrong EVERY TIME YOU MAKE IT. And do a lot of other things while making the batter, all the better to ensure you will again do something wrong when you make the cupcakes.
Step 9. Leave the vanilla cupcakes out on the kitchen counter overnight.
Ensure the cats are both irritated with you for stiffing them on less evening treats than normal. Wake up the next morning to find the tray of vanilla cupcakes with the added bonus of CAT PAW PRINTS IN THEM. Be excited about making more vanilla cupcakes.
Step 10. On the day of the party, fiddle with the birthday girl's nap schedule.
Why be boring when you can wonder if your child is going to sleep at all or sleep right through the party?
Step 11. Make a special birthday cake for the birthday girl.
A cake she has never eaten before and will be sure to shun when all thirteen pairs of eyes are watching her, waiting for her to take a first bite. Laugh heartily that HA HA - MY BABY WON'T EAT HER BIRTHDAY CAKE.
Step 12. Make individual cupcakes for the other babies who will be attending the party.
Cupcakes from the same birthday cake batter that the birthday girl has decided is TOTALLY GAG-WORTHY (gagging tongue and facial expression tells the tale). Cupcakes that the other kids DEVOUR and LOVE. The birthday girl? Totally nonplussed.
Step 13. Be proud as the birthday girl shuns the "healthy" cake in favor of actually healthy wheat bread.
Take pictures. Perhaps she will believe you one day when you tell her, "You know, once upon a time, you wanted nothing to do with a fruity sweet yummy apple/pumpkin cake. All you wanted was wheat bread."
Step 14. Say thank you. Be grateful. Enjoy yourself. And marvel.
Thank your small group of friends and family who braved traffic, a freak snow storm, and gave up time on their busy Saturday to celebrate.
Be grateful to know such lovely people.
Marvel that the birthday girl survived a whole year with your craziness.