My Lowell recently turned 2 and we had the most fun putting together a birthday party for him, his numerous little friends, and of course, our friends. It turned out to be such a beautiful day and I enjoyed how fun it was. You can read more about it here.
Let me just say one thing beforehand, the 2nd birthday is not like the first. The boy remembers everything and I know the little memories are already starting to be embedded in his growing brain.Unlike the first birthday where the baby might be asleep the whole time and you can drink beer and eat cake with your friends, the 2nd one is definitely more for the baby. More importantly, at 2 years, he has already made several friends and they will be definitely looking up for an invite to the party. Lowell remembers the cake and his auntie and uncle singing him Happy Birthday. He talks about it all the time, and he can recognize cake on TV, in the newspaper or magazine and pretty much anywhere he sees it. He always points it out and says “Kiki birthday”-loosely translated as Birthday Cake.
The planning process is what makes most parents (especially moms) cringe when they think of planning and hosting a birthday party. In my family, we are big on celebrating life and we don’t wanna watch the special days go by without notice. Many of my friends wonder why we do so much celebrating, but all I know is that these gatherings fill up our hearts and give us beautiful memories to cherish forever.
Though you will definitely be exhausted by the end of the birthday party (Coz I know I was), here are a few tips that will make it easier for you to hold a perfectly beautiful and enjoyable birthday party for your little one.
- Start Planning Early: I know how much this sounds cliche, but it is one of the things that helped me host an awesome birthday party. I actually started making lists and sending out invites a month before the actual birthday. This makes it easy for people to confirm attendance and plan for the day beforehand.
- Create a Guest List. Create one for adults and one for kids. How many people will be there? How many will bring their kids? What about the neighborhood kids? Are they invited? I make a lot of lists and tick whatever task I have accomplished. Another friend creates spreadsheets when planning events and you can do that too.
- Create a Simple Menu. Food is one of the most important things in a birthday party. What is party without food?? I say ‘no party’. Create a menu you are comfortable with. If you are the one cooking, don’t go for complicated meals. Choose recipes that are easy to follow. (I chose to make Pilau, Vegetable rice and Meat stew.) Make sure the food is appropriate for people of all ages, including kids. You don’t want the food to be too spicy, such that you have to cook some more for kids. If you are using outside catering services, contact them early and work with them to create a good menu.
- Prep the Cake. This is one of the most important aspects of the birthday party. All the guests, especially kids will be waiting for the cake. Make sure you contact the cake supplier early enough and work with them on the design or theme you need. Talk to them frequently, to ensure that they understand your needs perfectly to reduce chances of disappointments. I decided to use a baker who was referred to me by a friend and he did not disappoint. I was very happy and would gladly order another cake from them. Choose your baker wisely and work with them closely.
- Organize child-related activities. Have some toys for the children to enjoy so that they do not get bored easily. For Lowell’s birthday, the kids enjoyed playing outdoors, riding bikes and playing soccer. They had such great fun, while the adults chatted in the house.
- Make sure your baby is well-rested. A cranky baby=a terrible birthday party. Let your child sleep early the previous night and help them relax before the guests get there. When the baby is relaxed, they will have more fun and the birthday party will be a blast.
- Simplify and ask for help. Do not complicate things. Choose simple decor and do the things you are good at. We chose to decorate our house with balloons only and it was so pretty, yet really simple. Do not be afraid to ask for help. It can be hectic and if you try and do it all alone, you will be too exhausted to enjoy the party. I asked my sister to come help with the cooking and everything else, which made things so much easier for me. She is such a doll.
- Have Fun. When it comes down to it, your child’s birthday party is all about fun. Let loose and do not fight the small things, like your carpet getting totally messy and the kids messing up their clothes and everything you planned perfectly. Go with the flow and let everything go as it comes.
The greatest birthdays are the ones where awesome memories are created. Enjoy.
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