Being a dad at your kid’s first birthday party can feel a lot like your first middle school dance: You have absolutely no idea what to do. You stand in the corner with a couple of your buddies, who also have no idea what to do, stuffing yourself with as much free food as possible until one of the moms (in this case probably your wife or your actual mother), and tell you to go dance with someone (ie talk to that one guest you had to invite because they’re someone’s friend or they’re family and you don’t want to make a potential organ donor mad).
Having just navigated my first kid’s first birthday party (and lived to blog about it) I thought I might share some wisdom (by “wisdom” I mean things I probably messed up on) to help.
So dads, here are 10 tips on what to do at your child’s first birthday party:
1. The same rule that applied at your wedding applies here:
It’s all about what the bride wants.
2. Don’t even try having them blow out a candle.
I know it’s only one, but it’s still one too many at this age. They can’t even walk or have a bowl movement in even the general facility of a toilet. Why in the world would you think they would know the etiquette of what to do when you put fire on their food?
3. Schedule another trash pick up with your city the week of the party.
I don’t care how big your trash cans are or how many they pick up for you on a normal week. It won’t be enough.
4. Let the grandparents buy the big gifts.
You’ve probably blown most of your money on the party anyway. This way you at least get all the benefits without any of the cost. It’s a buying the cow vs getting the milk for free situation.
5. This is one of those rare times where you as a parent get a free pass to throw a party where the main event is publicly humiliating your child in front of your family and close friends.
6. Always get a gift receipt in case something doesn’t fit, doesn’t work, or you run out of iTunes money.
7. Nowhere in the Bible does it say, “Thou shalt not regift.”
As a pastor I can give you a 100% certainty on this one. Just don’t regift to the person’s kid who gave you the gift in the first place.
8. No clowns.
Yes they scare kids. But they scare adults even more. Best to just avoid them altogether. Otherwise you’ll end up making a Target run to get grandpa some fresh Depends.
9. The rules of society require you let the world know how awesome the party was on every form of social media you’re on, even if it was terrible.
Resist the urge to use “LOL” at the end of each sentence. It’s not a period, people. Stop using it like one.
10. Be OK when everything doesn’t go perfectly.
It won’t. Just enjoy the time with the people you care about. I forget who said this about parenting but it is so true: The days are long, but the years are short.
What’s some other good advice for dads at their kid’s first birthday party?