The Pointless 1 Year Old Birthday Party

Every child’s one year old party is significant for the fact that it is the child’s first birthday celebration. In Nigeria however, many parents are in the habit of making this funny and unwise decision to throw a big party for their one year old.

Yes. I said unwise.

All I have ever observed at one year old birthday parties are just a waste of time, energy, money and unnecessary frustration in trying to make things look perfect.

I once took my daughter a couple of years back to a one year old’s birthday party. There were canopies and chairs arranged outside; a DJ was blasting music that was unfit for kids (but wetin parents wey dey there sabi? It’s just music abi?) and lots of food and drink was being served and wasted; most of which were being consumed by adults, the kids (who were way older than the celebrant) did much of the food wasting. Then they hit the dance floor for games and fooling around with the party clown/M.C.

And where was the celebrant?

The little guy was fast asleep in his mother’s room!

When it came to cutting the cake and snapping photographs, the little fella just screamed and bawled all over the place; as far as he was concerned as a baby, his peace was being destroyed by all the loud music, cheering and fun. All he needed to do was to sleep, wake up later in the day to eat and eventually crap his diapers. The party was just plain meaningless chaos that robbed him of his baby peace.  

Eventually they had to postpone the cake cutting and photos. All the photos they ever took had him with an unhappy and nasty expression on his face. Meanwhile the party continued and at the end of the day I asked the question: And what has been achieved with all this waste of money?

This past Sunday, I witnessed another one of these pointless one year old parties next door to where I live  on almost exactly in the same fashion as the first one I just explained above. We never even saw the celebrant. Seven to ten year olds were just busy having fun and dancing as usual to music that’s inappropriate for children. To one corner, some male adults sat drinking different kinds of alcohol and engaging in beer parlour or football gist. Other adults sat flanking the kids, eating food and waiting for the party to end so that they could take their children home.

The party happening next door to me.

And the celebrant, an innocent one year old who had no foggy idea of what the hell was going on was nowhere to be found. I presumed he was probably asleep somewhere too. (One year olds don’t joke with their sleep!).

I remember when little Timi struck one, we celebrated it for her in-house with food, drinks, snacks, cake and just a few friends, and we took photos with her. Our Pastor came around and prayed for her, and we had fun playing with her till she decided to go to sleep.

When A.Y struck one, we did the same and got a lot of good stuff for him to eat (because he loves to eat). Family and friends came around to see him and take pictures with him till he started protesting the need to nap.

We never started doing the party thingy until Timi got into school at 2 years. At this point, we just got variety snacks, drinks, take-away goodies and cake for the party celebration in her class. Timi by now knew what was going on and understood that she was being celebrated. We were aware that we made her day and she beamed all day about it.

Timi during her one year old birthday.

If I had done a big noisy party at one year old for her, she probably would have been terrified and confused.
This is my take on one year old birthday parties. I don’t think it’s a good idea to throw a big party for a one year old. For a 3 year old and upwards it’s okay but for the little one year old fella or lady who’s still trying to understand what the heck is going on in the world around him, it’s a sheer waste of money, energy and time.

10 Screamer(s):

Madame Sting said...

Totally agree with u. My sister did not even her a party for my niece. She got her this gorgeous expensive ass cake, and took her to get professional pictures taken. When she turned 2 and 3, it was cupcakes taken to her school. We plan to hv a party when she turns 5.

Anonymous said...

I never understood the fuss either!
It was my parents that threw the first birthday party for their grandchild when they saw i was not bothered.....ahahhaha..consequently they left me to do what i like! I personally don't like all the noise around it, anytime i attend one, i will be praying for it to end so i can go home o jare! I appreciate in-door celebration, just as you did for your the way, she looks so cute,,and teh cakes beautiful...i mark my kids birthdays rather than doing all the wahala of celebration....when they are much older and they wish for a party, i will indulge them but it MUST be indoors or at an eatery!

Real8 said...

aww but baby parties are never for babies though. they are mainly for the mothers. an opportunity to go out, eat enjoy music and gossip with their friends. dont know about the men, the go out as they like anyways. so you see. its the women's therapy. only if u understood. lol.

Myne Whitman said...

A lot of parents would not agree with you but you make very valid points. I don't believe in very big birthday celebrations anyway, no matter the age.

Afronuts said...

@Sting…lol, the party at 5 makes sense. But that first one…an expensive cake – how I wish more could be done to it than just eaten.

@Simply mee…I so totally agree with the indoor celebration thing with not too many people. I hate the big party thingy.

@Real8…that’s so true too. But then dem fit throw party just to have fun instead of terrorizing the little one year old with chaos.

@Myne…I know many won’t because it’s a mindset that will not change easily. It’s become a silly tradition.

Tamie said...

Solid points here and I totally agree. I've never been big on parties sef so one that would jes stress me and the celebrant not knowing what's going on is out of the equation.

I'm with Real8 LOL. One can achieve a balance with a "medium sized" party. Though that of course means different things to different folks!

I usually just have loads of food and drinks depending on how much cash i have to spare for birthday celebrations. The 1st party, we had like 40 people even though it was supposedly an indoor party for close friends etc everyone invited came with extra people etc LMAO i didnt mind though, we had excess of everything and the celebrant had fun ;) he didnt even take a nap!!!!!

I've always hoped the 5th one will be the real bash and God willing it will be. Maybe we'll invite u afronuts so you can do a post on how smashing it was *winks*

Afronuts said...

@Tamie...shey u get wetin I dey talk...! I'd really appreciate that! So would Timi and A.Y. yours is one of the exceptions - where the celebrant did not sleep and still had fun. Na wah for people...u invite Mr.A and he brings along Mr.B, Miss C and all.

Ginger said...

haha. I'm totally with you on 1st year celebrations. but like you said its a mindset. you should have seen my gf catching guilt trip over not having a big 1yr party for her son. How the world will look at her, and how bad the child will feel when he grows up (???).
Small is good joo

Afronuts said...

@Ginger...abi ooh! Make ur GF no kill herself over party wey people go forget oh!