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Ethan is One! Should We Celebrate?

Ethan thinks he's five

Ethan thinks he’s five

Day 365!

Our sweet baby boy turns one today at 3:41 PM.  Even though he hasn’t quite reached the five years he thinks he has, one is still an awesome milestone.  He is crawling around like a mad man and still can’t be left alone (even to sleep), but he has been one of my life’s treasures, and the second-greatest blessing I have received from our Father, Jesus.  Only one lovely lady will ever be Number One in my heart, sorry kids!  While 2015 has brought many challenges, milestones, and joy, one constant debate Ethan’s parents had was whether or not it was a good idea to celebrate the first birthday.

One Lone Opinion

I knew from the start that I had the minority opinion, and that the majority of new parents would and will disagree with me, but I don’t see the point in celebrating the first birthday.  Maybe the 2nd birthday, and definitely the 3rd birthday and beyond, but definitely not the first birthday.  Why, as some of you might say, do I feel this way?  Well, I’m glad you asked.  Birthdays for me are about celebrating the person and making them feel special, loved, appreciated, and providing them with a party that is meaningful to them.  I don’t feel as though one can accomplish this with a 12-month old.  At 12 months, a baby doesn’t have memories, is not interested in gifts, and doesn’t know what is going on and why it is going on.  What is the point of undergoing the time and expense of getting a whole bunch of people together, preparing food and gifts, invitations, etc.. when it doesn’t mean anything to our baby boy Ethan?  Yes we are celebrating his 1st birthday (which technically is his 2nd birthday) but he doesn’t know that.  For me, celebrating 1st birthdays serves the parents more than the child.  It is like getting a second baby shower.  Bring us some more toys and clothes so we don’t have to buy them!

Of Course I Lost This Battle

Not only did Mommy not agree with me, but neither did anybody else.  Surely there is somebody out there that feels the same way, but I don’t know that person.  Mommy felt, as the rest of America feels, that every occasion should be celebrated.  We have to celebrate the birth announcement, the gender reveal, the baby shower, the birth, the one-month anniversary of the birth, and the first birthday in this nation.   There’s even a whole section at Party Works dedicated to the first birthday!  Yes, we were at Party Works buying supplies for this party.  Can you believe it?  Consequently, the only party we threw besides this one was the baby shower, but I know people that mark every occasion.

Consistent with a hard lesson I learned early on regarding parenting arguments, Mommy always wins.  Therefore, we did throw this party, but Mommy bore the brunt of the work, and for that, I salute her!  She’s always been hesitant to take on any kind of leadership role because she “doesn’t want to dictate,” but for this project she was the woman!  She sent e-invitations to family and friends, argued with in-laws about venues, and eventually hunted down the perfect, and free, location.  Afterwards, we bought party decorations, cupcakes, and food…

But Not Gifts

As I mentioned above, Ethan is not interested in presents yet.  We have had our Christmas tree up since Black Friday, but he does’t want the boxes under it.  Nor was he interested in any of the presents that family got him. Editors note: I’m writing this almost two months later and he’s still not interested in his new toys.  We live in a small house with limited space, and Ethan has continually showed little interest in anything that belongs to him.  He wants our stuff!  We even tried the whole “let him play with the box” thing and he wasn’t interested in that either.  We made the conscious decision to not buy him a birthday present, nor will we be buying him a Christmas present.  If there are any new parents reading this, yes this is completely OK and totally your decision.  A couple of family members were unhappy with us, but we didn’t let that bother us.  He’s our kid, not theirs, and he’s not going to hate us when he’s a teenager because he didn’t get presents from Mommy and Daddy during the first year of his life.  That’s ridiculous.

Overall, it was a great party with great food, friends, and family.  I think Ethan had a great time, but as you know by now, we’ll never know if he enjoyed it or not.  Such is the nature of parenthood.  Sometimes you just have to do things because society tells you to, even though it may not seem practical.  Happy Birthday to my favorite little man!  I’m so proud of the progress you’ve made, and how smart and inquistive you are!  You make me one proud papa, and I can’t wait to see what 2016 brings!  We love you so much!

Party pictures are below.  We ended up having it at a local fresh pizza restaurant in their free party room in order to stay on “neutral territory.” #familydrama