OK, yes, as promised I am FINALLY catching up on the munchkin’s birthday – more than 2 weeks ago! (February 12th – I like to say she’s exactly 200 years younger than Lincoln.)
So following ALL the snow!, my Mom arrived on Thursday for the munchkin’s first birthday celebrations. We initially planned to just have a small dinner with my Mom, my husband’s parents and his sister. But then, one of my Mom’s cousin’s emailed and said – hey, I saw on your Mom’s facebook she’s headed to VA for the birthday celebrations. Thanks for inviting me! He went on to explain that he and his son would actually be in NoVA that weekend visiting his Mom and would love to see us if we were free. So I invited him to the shindig and after getting approval from his Mom (whom he refers to as “she who must be obeyed”) and his son, they were able to come. And I have to say – I was so excited! See, most of my family is in NJ. Growing up, with everyone close, birthday parties involved grandparents and a plethora of aunts, uncles and cousins. Then those cousins started having babies (most are 15-20 years older than me), so their birthday parties were huge family events too – and family events with BABIES (my 10 year old self could not have been more excited!). They were too large for sit down dinners and were always what I’ve learned since moving is NJ (or NY) buffet. No matter what we were having, there was always a big tray of ziti (lasagna would also be acceptable here, but I think my Dad preferred ziti). So it’d be ham, mac & cheese, fried chicken and a tray of ziti – an incongruous meal for sure, but what the heck!
Anyway, as I prepared for the munchkin’s birthday, I realized that inviting cousins 200 miles away was just probably not appropriate. They really couldn’t likely come, so setting up any expectation that they should seemed wrong. We would just have a sit down dinner with close family – the 7 of us. It would be nice. The munchkin would never know the difference and only I would feel the ache of what was missing in it.
So when we added 3 other guests – more distant family who we don’t see all the time – well now it felt like a party! Sure, we still did a sit down dinner – and used every chair we had at the dining room table (well, there WAS one other broken one in the basement). But I get a little ahead of myself as the party was Saturday.
I’d decided to try to make a cheesecake for the munckin’s birthday. As she won’t do solids, (see that blog post for details if you have ANY ideas on combating that one – note this will probably be my ongoing plea), I thought maybe a cheesecake would be “mushy” enough for her. So I tried a recipe for “real Italian ricotta” cheesecake – and wound up with flan. Sure, it was fine. But it wasn’t cheesecake. And it wasn’t creamy. We tried it out on her Friday night (her actual birthday) and it was a no go! We’d gone to the doctor that day who told us – as she was thriving, we just needed to start weaning to get rid of her back up plan and keep offering “real food.” He made us feel better by telling us his daughter had been the same (could gag on a grain of rice), but got over it and became the human vacuum cleaner who ate everything for several months (till she hit the terrible twos and went totally picky).
So Saturday, as we tried to prep and clean the house (and put away those last boxes – most are actually emptied, but a few are shoved in our closet…), we ran back out to the store to buy a birthday cake!
Everyone came over in the afternoon and I really think it was a good time. We had a fire in the fireplace with lots of snacks/appetizers. Dinner was delayed – of course… and then overcooked (but my husband is taking the blame for this one!), but it all turned out fine. We got to dessert and the munchkin spurned the store bought cake as well. Guess she’ll just go with the strained green beans instead… Should I worry about teenaged eating disorders now? ;)
So no pictures of a baby covered in cake. She really wasn’t even interested in the tiny dab of icing that daddy stuck to his finger. I was surprised she didn’t even want to mess with the cake (guess it left more edible dessert for the rest!), but alas. Maybe we’ll take that picture next year…
Please tell me about your children’s first birthdays and/or any family traditions you have! I’d especially love to hear about family traditions for small families or those whose families are far away, but I’d like to hear all stories! Also, as always, does anyone have ideas for getting a baby to eat more solid foods? She’s getting hungrier as we wean, so she’ll go through several jars of baby food in one sitting, so it’s getting a little crazy! And I am worried about her nutrition, as she’s picky on which she’ll eat. Thanks!