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My Married Life: Kids' Birthdays

When friends with kids go kee-ra-zee!

Recently, Jack and I attended a birthday party for a one-year-old. Total rager. Relax, I'm joking. In case I haven't already made it clear, I'm a kid-loving freak, so it wasn't much of a stretch to get me to RSVP “yes.” Jack and I had a decent enough time. We gushed over the cute kid, caught up with the frazzled parents, whom we (understandably) hadn't seen much of in the past year, and of course, ate cake. But something about the party rubbed me a little bit wrong. Maybe it was that it was held at a restaurant, or maybe it was the 40-plus guests, or maybe it was that the birthday babe was cranky and completely uninterested in his own soiree, but as we left, I turned to Jack and said, "Is it me or was that kind of ridic for a nonverbal toddler?"

Here's the deal: These particular friends are really down-to-earth people, so I'm sure this is only a hint of what's to come as more and more of our friends become parents. I've heard tales of pony rides, live Disney characters, and chef-prepared meals, so this was nowhere near that level of extravagance. I guess what really bugged me were the moments when the parents clearly had expectations and the kid could care less. For example, the mom really wanted to snap a cute pic of the kid eating cake; meanwhile, the kid refused to even taste it. My point? The pressure for parents to capture and celebrate each "magical moment" of a kid's early days seems crazy intense. This post on The Nest boards says that some parents get professional "smash cake pictures" taken. Holy crap! I think it's easy for Jack and I to say what we will and will not do as parents (no pro pics of our hypothetical kid with cake in his/her hypothetical hair) because we aren't there yet and don't yet feel the pressure to be perfect parents. But I'll bet it gets harder once you're in it, much in the same way that nearly every otherwise sane bride-to-be has a bridezilla moment (or two). Are there any young parents out there who've gotten caught up in the insanity and care to chime in? Any others who aren't parents but have witnessed the insanity from the outside? Let’s hear it.

-- Holly