Before EldestGirl’s first birthday, we planned meticulously. We had a garden party, complete with soft play equipment, bouncy castle and age-appropriate bouncers. We had a buffet. Which I catered myself. I researched, practised in a dummy run a week before and executed a Hungry Caterpillar cake. We had about thirty people and babies around to our house. It was exhausting. EldestGirl didn’t really know what was going on, and was running a slight temperature anyway.
This Thursday is YoungestGirl’s first birthday. We have bought her some presents… and that is about it. Admittedly, November is a crap time of year to have a birthday party that isn’t indoors, but also she doesn’t really have that many little friends. EldestGirl was dragged to swimming, NCT meet-ups, Baby Sensory, music classes, Breastfeeding Cafes, baby massage – at all of which we met friends with babies a similar age, who then became her friends.
YoungestGirl gets to attend gymnastics… and sit in the waiting room whilst EldestGirl trampolines. She does go to a playgroup (with EldestGirl), where she gets abandoned in the baby area whilst I do crafts with EldestGirl. I haven’t felt the need to go through the litany of classes all over again. Especially as baby massage just makes the baby more pissed off and slippery – to the point where you might actually drop them.
There is guilt – we definitely planned more and did more with EldestGirl, but actually I think YoungestGirl has had a better time of it. As parents, we know what we’re doing more; we recognise when she’s tired, teething or getting ill more quickly than we did first time around. TheBloke (TM) took six months of her first year of life away from work and spent them at home with us – we couldn’t afford to do that with EldestGirl. I went back to work when EldestGirl turned one. I won’t be doing that this time around – she will have me at home for longer. YoungestGirl might not have NCT friends on the doorstep anymore, but she has a ready-made
assailant playmate at home. She has all the toys bought for her… and also all those she inherited from her big sister.
So sorry, YoungestGirl – sorry you will not be having a big birthday party a
nd indeed sorry that we will be spending much of the day looking at primary schools for EldestGirl but I’m not sorry about the rest. As the second child, YoungestGirl you have an extra person at home who loves you.