September 12, 2007

More thoughts on everything we talked about yesterday

1: Fall

No really, it's fall. Saturday I was wearing shorts, sweating, and getting bit by mosquitoes, and today I'm wearing socks and a jacket. We in Chicago, we don't do our season-changes by halves.

2: The Doctor

I was realizing that one of the weird things about parenting is that there's all this Stuff You Must Do, like take your infant to their regular "well baby" appointments for poking and prodding and evaluation. You've gotta do it. But if you don't do it...nothing happens. Which is not to say that there aren't consequences to neglecting your child's preventative healthcare, but just that there really isn't a report card day; if you fail preventative healthcare, there's no one who's going to keep you back a year, or cut funding to your parental rolemodels, or necessarily even know about it for a very long time. We are so unsupervised out here, we new parents.

3: A+ Parenting

A friend and I were chatting last night about how one of the things that it's easy to be a big overachiever parent about is the First Birthday Milestone. Now, clearly being one is an exciting achievement, and I love birthdays, and I think it's great to do fun things to celebrate you and your child being alive and happy. But the First Birthday Party is a weird thing; it spirals out of control so quickly. You think you just want to do something simple, and then you find yourself thinking: "...well, but I guess I should get some streamers. Some First Birthday Streamers. And maybe some party favors? And probably there should be some games. And hats. Maybe crowns?" And then, before you know it, your one one-year-old's birthday erupts into a six-day celebration culminating in a champagne brunch at the club in the Hamptons (which seriously happened to a casual friend of mine).

And the thing about that six-day affair is not that it's a bad thing, especially if it's fun for you, but you just have to remember that the champagne brunch with streamers and crowns is not about doing something nice for your baby; it is about hoping that the world gives you and A+ in first birthday parties. Which can be fun! And is fine! But if your child were actually doing the grading, what they would probably be hoping for is your undivided attention while they spent some quality time whacking a measuring cup against a thrift store soup pan.

I believe in being celebratory and in cultivating excitement, but I also believe in living simply. It can be darn hard to balance those two things.

4: Abba
We actually didn't talk about Abba yesterday, but we should have. We should have been talking about how Abba is a POP MUSIC JUGGERNAUT of astounding proportion. If you weren't listening to Abba with your one-year-old this lovely fall morning, then I highly recommend remedying this situation tomorrow, because nothing is better than whacking your measuring cup against a soup pan while "SOS" plays in the background.


sarah said...

actually, i had a follow up comment to myself, which is that maybe we should just go full-bore towards celebrating ourselves on first birthdays. That would be a nice new parent ritual: when your child turns one, you get to throw a big party for yourself, with marguaritas maybe, to celebrate how awesome it is that you successfully navigated the trecherous waters of new parenthood. THAT would be a good time. After the marguaritas, everyone could take a nap.

Beck said...

It's hard not to over-celebrate first birthdays because Hey! EVERYONE SURVIVED!
That first year is HARD.

sarah said...

yeah, totally. And I realize i should make clear that my kinda pendantic tone here is directly only towards myself, because I just went to the store to get paper plates for elliot's b-day picnic on saturday, and only with tremendous difficultly restrained myself from spending one million dollars on coordinated metallic birthday paperware excitement. Oh, I am tempted to excess!

Kate said...

Also I never realized until I saw your photo at the bottom of this post that documentarian Ken Burns was in Abba. Check it out...second from the left.

Kate said...

And yes I realize what a nerd it makes me that I consider Ken Burns enough of a celebrity that I pick lookalikes of him out from other celebrities.

Katie said...

Okay, I just had the biggest of the day about the Ken Burns comment.

But seriously, we listen to Waterloo and dance. I worry that I'm slightly warping the child, but there it is. Abba babies unite.

Brandon said...

Just for the record, I think the "six-day celebration culminating in a champagne brunch at the club in the Hamptons" SUCKS! Death first!

katiphillips said...

Should we all bring our own pots and measuring cups to the party or with they be provided (and coordinated)?

Nico said...

We actually ended up with TWO first birthday parties for Ant. But I was completely honest that they were for me and not him. He was clueless. Although he did enjoy the cake.

*I* got to enjoy a bottle of wine at his second party, as I had just finished nursing. Now THAT was worth celebrating :-)