How to survive your baby’s 1st birthday

The Boy with No Name is One today. One! Cue nostalgia. Tears. And probably a few tantrums. It’s our third ‘1st birthday’ in this house. So we’ve learned a bit on how to survive it.

1. Don’t agonise on what to buy your baby. They don’t know. They don’t care. And they won’t ask you if they can return it. First time round we spent weeks wondering what to get Beaver. Second time round, we got Godivy a plastic toy thing and stuff she needed. Third time round? We dashed off to Smyths yesterday afternoon to buy something with cars. 

2. Don’t have a massive party. You’ll spend the whole time organising stuff and forget to take stock of the day itself and your baby. Keep it simple. A few people you love. And a bowl of cheese savouries. Do that once and no one will want to come to your parties again anyway. Job done.

3. Don’t make a speech after more than one gin in a can. You might want to share every emotion that’s running through your veins but the gin has probably got there first. And no one else really cares how much you love your baby. I’ve learned this the hard way. So have our guests. Time after time after time. So today, I’m going to remain blissfully silent. Promise.

4. Don’t worry if your baby sleeps through the entire party. In time, you’ll see that this is a good thing and means that you can enjoy yourself. Which is the whole point of a 1st birthday anyway, right?

5. If you have other children, expect there to be tears and tantrums. They will want to open the presents. Blow out the candles. And pretty much steal the thunder from your birthday bundle of joy. Remember. Your baby doesn’t know. And he probably doesn’t care. So go easy on your kids. (Or, just don’t invite them.)

6. Let your baby taste the nectar. Woo hoo! Your baby has reached the legal age required to eat honey AND drink cow’s milk as his main milk. Talk about coming of age. (Talk about an anti-climax.)

7. Don’t give your baby too much cake. If, until now, your baby has existed on a diet of organic carrots and corn-fed, oxbridge educated chicken, don’t give him a whole slab of cake, ‘because it’s his birthday.‘ Unless you want to be scraping sick off his sheets at around 10.00 PM. Wean him onto his sugar addiction gradually. Soon, it’s all he’ll want to eat.

8. Stop counting your baby in weeks. If you haven’t already done this, the 1st birthday is definitely the time to stop. ‘My baby is 53 weeks,’ makes you sound a bit, erm, crackers.

9. Take nostalgia for what it is. A distorted view of the past year. You’ll probably be thinking sentimental things like, ‘Awww, my baby isn’t a baby anymore,‘ leading to crazy thoughts like, ‘Perhaps we should have another one.’ NOOOOOOOO! This is what Mother Nature wants you to do. Have you forgotten the pain of labour? The hideous, sleepless nights? The sore nipples? Crack open another gin in a can and stop it. Right now.

10. Congratulate yourself. You made it (just about). Your baby made it. Your relationship is hanging on by a fraying thread, but it’s hanging on. You, who couldn’t keep a pot plant alive for more than a week, have nurtured a human being to his 1st birthday! If that isn’t cause for celebration, I don’t know what is. (PS. don’t get complacent because it doesn’t stop here. You’ve got another 17 years to go. Just saying.)

Happy 1st birthday to The Boy with No Name. After two girls, I still can’t believe you have a willy. Well done for surviving the first year of pink and glitter. We couldn’t love you more.

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