Monday, February 13, 2012

Henry's First Birthday

The little Henry Jones is coming up on the one-year mark (February 28). I've been planning his party over at 2000 Dollar Wedding. I'm trying not to fall into the trap of go-all-crazy-and-then-take-lots-of-pictures-for-the-whole-internet-to-ooh-and-ahh-at-and-pin. But I am seizing this milestone as an opportunity to flex my creativity in fun ways (I'm making my first pinata! and we're having a gourmet grilled-cheese bar!) and as a chance to create a fun party for Henry (we'll be in our backyard with balls and dogs!) and as a chance to bring together friends and family.

I love birthdays. The author of Living Passages for the Whole Family: Celebrating Rites of Passage from Birth to Adulthood says, "Birthdays can be sacred portals through which we remember the soulful significance of our lives and relationships." She goes on to explain, "My own childhood birthday memories aren't filled with a bounty of presents, though my family members were thoughtful gift-givers. My memories are filled with presence--the presence of a family, animated with gladness that I was a growing sprig on their family tree." And I love her argument for continuing to celebrate birthdays, even as we age: "As we age, birthdays may continue to be touchstones upon which we affirm our deepening human own continue to thrill me with their potential for gratitude expressed, growth acknowledged, and visions ignited."

As far as other traditions go, we'll be hanging the birthday bunting. If Henry wasn't going to be in a Montessori school, we would do the Celebration of Life at home. I thought about getting the Waldorf birthday ring, but it seems really expensive to me, and I'm wondering if there's another way to represent the passage of time.

As far as gifts go, I tried to think of something that Henry would like and would be meaningful. I've already been planning to turn all of his old clothes from the first year of his life into a quilt, but that won't have much meaning for him now. So in addition to the quilt, I also decided to make him a board book. I found a company that does it for about $20. I was able to upload eight different photos and type the text. I kept the book as simple as possible because I want him to be able to use it as an early reading book when he's older. Henry is at an age where he loves "reading" his board books. He takes them out of the basket, flips through them, and makes low, drawn-out noises as he looks at each page. His two favorite books are Global Babies and Smile, I think because they are full of pictures of babies. My brain is guessing that he will love a book with his own pictures, as well as the pictures of friends and families.

When the book arrives, I'll share photos of it and let you know if I recommend the company or not.

What birthday traditions and rituals do you love?

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Amy said...

Hi Sara! I wanted to check out the company that you got the board book from because I'd love to make one as a gift for a friend, but the link that you posted doesn't work.

Would you mind sharing the correct link?


Sara E. Cotner said...

Sorry, Amy! It's fixed now...

Bridey said...

That book is such a cute idea and definitely something to treasure.

Kelsey said...

My parents have this big red plate that says something like, "I'm special today!" or "It's my birthday today!" (I can't remember!) and we would get to use it on our birthdays. It could be fun to paint a family birthday plate at a paint-your-own pottery place!

Stephanie said...

Hi Sarah
One of the birthday rituals I love is the Korean first birthday where the child chooses from three symbolic gifts: pencil = scholar, string = long life, money = wealth. You could easily adapt the ceremony to fit your values.


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