K is turning two in less than two weeks. We went back and forth over whether to throw her a second birthday party. A lot of her little pals have had parties, and I was starting to feel the pressure a couple of months ago. Should we or shouldn't we?
This is definitely a first world problem, but something to ponder, nonetheless.
First of all, we threw K a gigantic first birthday. It was over-the-top by my standards, but, we wanted it to be special. It is also a Korean cultural tradition to have a big first birthday party called a dohl. So we really went all out, and I was party planning for months. It seriously felt like I was preparing for a mini wedding - there was an open bar, planner, photographer, and a baker. The party was thrown for my daughter, but really it was for me, my husband, and our friends and family to enjoy. I have no issues admitting that, because, come on.
At two, I still think K is at an age where she won't really remember a birthday party and it would mostly be thrown as an excuse for the adults to socialize. So awhile back, I came up with the perfect solution: no birthday party, but we would take K to Disneyland instead! It would be her first trip. We'll shell out $200+ to run around all day with our mouse ears on. Problem solved.
Well, not necessarily.
I talked to a few other moms and thought about it some more. K gets overstimulated easily. I think most people get overstimulated at Disneyland. But K is in full-on toddler mode and I'm talking tantrums galore. Overstimulation seems to make it all much worse. I concluded (sadly, because I love Disneyland) that K is still a bit young to truly enjoy the Happiest Place on Earth. Knowing me, I would feel tons of pressure for us to have the BEST.DAY.EVER, and I just don't think she's ready for all of that. I want her to be excited about the Disney characters and really want to be there. As a result, I am adding Disneyland to our future "must do" checklist, but passing on it in the near future.
By now, you're probably like, "Ok, then just don't have a party or Disneyland. Why all the rationalizations?" I feel you.
I wanted to write my thought process down, because moms (and dads) feel pressure to do it up big for every birthday party and major milestone. While I think parties and big celebrations are all well and good (see K's first birthday), it's also okay to tone it down. You should do what's comfortable, affordable, and meaningful to you! Some kids are pumped and ready for Disneyland at age two or younger. Some aren't. It never occurred to me that it might not be a good idea because I see tons of young children on Facebook and Instagram at Disneyland. They look like they're loving it. But would my child love it? We'll give it a try in maybe six months to a year.
We will still celebrate her birthday - just us and immediate family.members. She will still get gifts, cards, and a cake. But, it will be a small, intimate affair. I plan on getting a little teary realizing it's been two whole years since I first set eyes on this little, helpless babe that has grown into a sassy, opinionated toddler. I plan on taking photos and putting them in her scrapbook so she will be able to look back and see all the love that surrounded her on her birthday.
This is what is meaningful to me as I get ready to wish my little girl a happy two years. The other stuff can wait.