Your baby’s first birthday is special. It is a celebration of one year on this earth for them, even though they have no clue. Moreover, it is a thanks giving ceremony for the parents. Everyone who has been a mother and a father can attest to the fact that it is not the easiest year. From the teething journey that starts off pretty bad for most kids, with fevers and poor appetite, to cold scares and the many times they fall over and hit their head. By the time they are one, most babies are walking on their own or at least crawling and using support to walk. They also have, say,, seven teeth, like my daughter, whose teeth are just the cutest in my opinion, with a stunning gap promising on her upper jaw. I cannot wait for a full mouth.
The mistake young parents make is making their babies’ first birthday about them. They gout with their friends and drag the baby along to adult festivities. They make merry and the baby is left really culture shocked and not having any fun.
So in the party mood, and on the verge of having a thanks giving ceremony of my own for baby’s first birthday, I want to share my tips for a celebrations that will not drain baby.
Of course they are my personal preferences and every celebration is unique to a family. I am a co-parent so I found this a great day to thank God for thus far and mostly just celebrate the sense of family and friendship among us three.
1. Have only close family and friends
Very few people stick around after you have had a baby, especially if you have one young. The ones who did stick around, on my part, showed a side of them that would only be revealed at such a time. Gentleness, kindness, generosity with their time, care and patience. Such friends and family should also be celebrated on this day. A small gathering is good for a one year old too. Being around familiar faces that they have seen throughout the year will help out them at ease and enjoy their day. Even though again, they have no clue.
2. Baby friendly venue
If your home is big enough to host the party, it is the best place to have it. Baby will love it and will be running, walking or crawling around in bliss. If you have a compound, then an outdoor barbecue is perfect. You can even rent a bouncing castle for the guests’ children. If you prefer to go out, then choose a site closer to home and one that has a children recreational playground. I love The Garden city’s kids playground along Thika Road.
You also want to have a venue that serves kid friendly food. Baby might have teeth but they are not strong enough to grind on the nyama choma.
3. Start early and finish early
To avoid night travel and inconveniences, it is important to start early and finish earlier. Most of my friends have to travel a long way to come celebrate so I find it very respectful to return the favor and make it a little easier for them to go back home. If you are not at home, try to start and finish early so as not to drain baby. When she starts getting cranky, she is probably tired and cannot wait for a hot bath, some bedtime oil and a cuddle from mum. Try not to stay too long.
4. Pack Baby essentials
You can never be too prepared with a baby, so carrying a baby bag packed with their essentials will make sure your day runs smooth especially for them. A packet of diapers, wipes (lots and lots of wipes), baby jelly (milking jelly works wonders especially to soothe cuts and burns), change of clothes, and packet of milk and yoghurt for their energy boost (If the venue allows for snacks from outside).
5. Plan early
Parties are expensive. Baby birthday parties are no exception. Especially if your guests are mostly well feeding adults. For the nyamachoma lovers like me, scores of nyamachoma dens allow you to bring your own mbuzi for slaughtering and grilling at a price as fair as one thousand shillings. Buy your mbuzi during off-peak season, take it to your mum’s or your back yard and feed it until the time comes to make a feast out of it. It will not cost you more than five thousand shillings to get an entire mbuzi and slaughter it.
It is important to realize that thanks giving is the most essential element of any birthday is the art of thanks giving. Ensure to thank God and your family and friends for the support.