Tuesday, November 8, 2011

First Birthday Blues

I've come to learn that first birthday parties are more for the parents than the child. It's no wonder that the internets and magazines and blogs are full of birthday party extravaganzas with high chair decorations and petting zoos and specialty cakes. As first time parents, we earned this party as much as Bennett did. I had to feed him every-other-hour for the first three months of his life. We survived ten months of middle of the night waking. We have had worry and doubt and stress for twelve straight months and hopefully a lifetime more.
I tried to keep this all in mind when I started thinking about Bennett's birthday bash. He would have no recollection of the festivities so it didn't matter if I skimped on cupcakes or favors or entertainment. We just wanted to gather with family to mark the end of our first chapter and celebrate the life of one very well-loved little boy. Well, it's a good thing he won't remember a thing because let's just say there were a few hiccups along the way.
Things weren't looking good when I called three stores looking for balloons. Bennett's Mimi got in the car and drove to the other side of town to be at the party store when they opened. All of this because Bennett I needed balloons. They. Were. Out. Of. Helium. A party store! Out. of. helium! Sheesh. Both grandmas, grandpa, Auntie Mary and I spent some quality time filling balloons with the helium tank we bought. Oh yes we did.
When the house was sufficiently filled with latex, we were able to sit back and enjoy a laid back and lovely afternoon. Several members of Rocky's family, my parents and sister, drove a few hours to join us at the King family farm for comfort food and present opening. When we gathered around to watch Bennett get excited over the paper and the bows and the trash, he didn't even care to pay the presents any attention. The boy lost it. He didn't like all of the attention and we had to excuse ourselves from the festivities.
After regrouping we sang Happy Birthday and waited for him to dive into the cake. He hesitated. I prompted him with a taste of frosting. He was having nothing to do with it. He turned his head. He whimpered. He was turning down his first taste of sugar with a no thank you. Everyone blamed it on the fact I had made a low-sugar vanilla cake. Even a couple of hours later when we tried the strawberry cake we served the guests, it was a big, uh-uh, no way, how dare you try to give me cake. I'll just take a cracker please. It makes me wonder how he could possibly be my son.

This year has been a learning process and a constant reminder that very little of anything in life is in my control. Very little goes ahead as planned. Every child is different. Balloons or presents or cake cannot make a kid happy. But celebrating this child and this year was worth whatever curve ball he could throw my way. But he better learn to like cake.

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