The nice thing about writing these posts so late is that by the time I get to them, I’m in a rush and I’ve forgotten a lot of details, so they’re shorter!
I had a lot of comparisons to make between Sam’s first year and Ari’s, but this post pretty much sums it up. I could have written almost every one of those words, they’re all SO TRUE.
And then I could go on and on comparing their birthday celebrations. The only thing they had in common (besides our love and blah, blah, blah) was that both kids burned their fingers on their candles and cried!
For Ari’s first birthday party, I spent hours and hours on Pinterest, starting months in advance, had about as many guests as we’d had at our wedding, and was way more stressed than I’d been at our wedding. I agonized over finding a recipe for a delicious yet healthful and low-sugar cake for the kids, along with choosing and ordering vegan and gluten free options, plus a traditional cake, along with a smaller one with lots of icing to give to Ari for “cake smash” photos.
For Sam’s birthday, we picked up cupcakes at the grocery store on our way to go camping, then left them in the trunk of our car (or maybe in a cooler? I don’t know…) for a couple of nights before we lit a candle on one of them and sang to him after he burned his fingers on it. (See photos in my previous post!) The next day, on his actual birthday, we had a little celebration in his classroom, then had our good friends who live down the street over for some cake after school. A. purchased a cake (and some fancy cupcakes and a vegan treat) at the store on his way home from work, then I complained that we couldn’t feed chocolate cake to the kids before bed, so he quickly whipped up a yellow cake from a box of fancy cake mix I had purchased several months earlier to use up a coupon. However, he made a real buttercream frosting, and it was really delicious!
In these photos, the boys eat their special birthday dinner of boxed mac and cheese and I reuse some decorations to make the house look at least a little festive.
I tried to take a 1-year-old photo of Sam, but he wouldn’t sit still, which sent Ari into a hysterical fit of laughter.
Ari helped Sam opened his presents, then looked at them enviously.
I didn’t even take a picture of the cake with the candle on it, so the next three photos are screenshots from the video my friend took.
Sam ate some cake and enjoyed it…
Then Sam and I high-fived each other and Ari and his friend collapsed in giggles.
Really, Sam’s birthday celebration felt just right to me. I didn’t want him to look at photos later and feel that he’d been neglected, compared with his brother, but I also didn’t want to actually neglect him while I overprepared for a big party he wouldn’t really enjoy, the way I felt I sort of had with Ari. Ari’s first birthday was about us celebrating our first year as parents and bringing together our family, friends, and our newfound community of nannies, other parents, and kids to celebrate with us. And it was about showing off our adorable child! Sam’s first birthday was pretty solidly about Sam.
In terms of Sam’s development, I wrote down that by the beginning of June he had his top two front teeth as well as the bottom two, he was sort of playing “catch”, and he had started pointing at things and getting excited when we named them. In May, he had started to stand on his own. His teachers described him as friendly and social, active, adventurous, easy-going, and “full of joy.” We also appreciated his cheerful yet determined curiosity, his ability to play and explore independently, and his cuddles and smiles. How did we get so lucky?!?