Last weekend my son turned two years old. Holy crap in a pita – how did this happen?! When you’re expecting, people just LOVE to tell you how fast the time will go once the baby arrives. “Treasure every moment, blah, blah, blah.” “They’ll be grown up before you know it, blah, blahbbity, blah, blah.” There’s nothing more annoying than when people are right. I really had no idea just how bittersweet these milestones could be. Don’t get me wrong, I’m loving toddlerhood and all its sticky, boogery glory. But it’s all I can do not to throw myself atop a pile of his old onesies and weep uncontrollably.
And here’s another fun tidbit I didn’t know until I became a mother: the task of throwing a child’s birthday party turns me into a full blown, hillbilly ape shit crazy person. Much to my chagrin, I’ve found that there is a Martha Stewart style psychopath lying dormant inside me that is (mercifully) only awakened once a year. Take pity on the unwitting victims who find themselves in her path. It all starts innocently enough; shopping for decorations online, assembling guest lists, addressing adorable letterpress stationery. Then the harebrained ideas start to flow until, eventually, the dam of crazy bursts. The evening before kiddo’s first birthday found me hot gluing handmade construction paper party hats onto a menagerie of stuffed animals. This, my friends, is not normal behavior.
This year I was determined to be more reasonable about the whole affair. We were all set for a modest gathering of family and our closest friends. Then one simple notion sent the whole thing careening toward theme party crazy town: “maybe I’ll make the cake this year”. Fast forward to one hour pre-party time, and I’m still in the kitchen with an icing bag in my hand swearing like a longshoreman with Tourette’s.
Despite coming very close to a stress-induced stroke, everything turned out beautifully. Little man recognized all his favorite characters in buttercream and nearly filled his Huggies in excitement. The payoff was so worth it. Still though, it’s a shame the skill of crafting beloved television characters out of construction paper is entirely non-transferable to other areas of life. Next year he’ll be three and I’ll be calmer. Famous last words. Words remarkably similar to the ones I repeated to myself while cleaning up piles of the custom confetti I cut myself for his first birthday. I’m thinking of saving myself the delusion and just choosing next year’s theme now. Maybe something more in line with my expertise would keep the stress level down a bit? Do they make Golden Girls-themed third birthday party decorations? If you need me, I’ll be scouring the web for a Sophia Petrillo-shaped cake pan.