Today I did that thing I said I would never do, and looked on Pinterest for reals.
I looked initially because I had to research paper globe lanterns for a girls’ camp we’re running in July. Everyone knows that if you want to see paper lanterns in their natural habitat (hyper-decorated parties), then Pinterest is where you look. And then I thought, hmmm. It’s Henry’s birthday in a couple of months. Perhaps I’ll just…
And then an hour later Pinterest spat me back out, with a confusing headful of pom-poms and vintage milk bottles and photobooths and ‘colour palettes’. Oh, my loves, your children have only been on this earth breathing air for twelve months. It’s not like they’re taking note of the date and thinking ‘This time last year, eh? I’d just entered the birth canal. Magic times’. And they’re sure as anything not going to remember the Etsy-purchased hand-sewn garden streamers at their birthday party. One lady started talking about her eleven-month-old’s ‘signature look’. Lawks. In case you’re wondering – and I know you are – Henry’s ‘signature look’ is generally the banana-crusted face. How very Vogue.
So, Pin-drunk, I found myself pondering what I might choose for a theme. Then I remembered that Henry is TEN MONTHS OLD. He doesn’t have favourites, so it’s pointless for me to run with cowboys or trains or pirates. If I were to decorate a room with the things he really loves, I’d fill it with breakable electronics and blown-up photos of Timothy’s face. And if you want to pay me to run with this, I will.
However, there are some things I really want to do for the big one-point-zero in August.
1. Make a good cake.
I love baking – though I’m not great at it – and Henry loves eating cake, so this seems like a worthwhile thing to do. I watched Martha Stewart (yes, I went there) make this, this morning, and fell in love with it.
But something simpler like this might be better.
I’m a novice when it comes to frosting and frankly, children’s cakes scare me.
2. Invite good company, but not the whole world.
Someone very wise once told me that, when it comes to birthday parties, a child can cope with the same number of children as their new age. Whatever the number – and given Henry’s cluelessness about the whole thing, I’m more likely to invite people our age as well as his – I’d prefer to keep it small and informal. It’s a big deal to us, but probably not to all of his seventy-six closest baby buddies.
3. Decorate a little, but not a lot.
More ‘festive and colourful’, less ‘explosion in a bespoke stationery factory’.
4. Take photos, preferably with stupid props.
Because nothing’s more hilarious than making a baby wear something silly, amirite?
The bottom line being: keep it in your comfort zone. Do what will make you all happy for an afternoon, in a setting where you can enjoy being together (which is what you’re celebrating, after all). And probably best to save the extravaganzas for when he’s old enough to remember how fabulous you were.