A first birthday party to remember… or forget!

Do I even need to explain to all the parents out there how excited I was about planning my son’s first birthday? After child birth, it is the first big milestone as a mother… creating the invites, baking the cake, buying little bubby decorations! Gah….. I was so excited.

We weren’t planning a big bash, just 150 of our closest family and friends. Joking! I invited maybe 12 people with five of those being kids under two. So yeah, it was only going to be a small affair.

I had a few balloons, bunting and lanterns. I had a big plastic pirate table cloth I was going to lay on the ground for all the little kiddies to sit on and eat their little fruit cups that I specially ordered. There was going to be fairy bread (for the adults!), salmon blinis, gourmet sandwiches, saveloy’s (there should be no kiddies party without them), and of course the birthday cake!!!

But it was not to be…..

Let me tell you what went down.

It was the night before. Let’s call it, Friday Night (because it was). My sister-in-law and I were busy cooking up a storm in the kitchen. I had flour,eggs, butter, coming out my ears. My SIL had chicken, salmon, blini mixture coming out her ears! And our respective partners were eating pizza and drinking beer (obviously they were very busy too). Bub was in bed dreaming about his big day. Nothing exciting happened this night, well, other than me running out of flour, the chicken being half cooked and at the last minute me being convinced to make the icing only to realise after I had made it that the cake didn’t fit in the fridge. Bummer!!


Me in my mummy moment of Chief Cake Decorator

We went to bed feeling contented with our efforts.

Saturday morning rolls around. It’s 6am. We go in to check on our little man to find….. he’s covered in spots! From head… to….. toe!

We debate what to do. Call the doctor? Go to the doctors? Go to the hospital? Cancel the party (last resort)?

We decide to call the doctor, who then tells us to go to the hospital, “You must always take baby to the doctor when it comes to rashes” – right, I’ve got that now Awesome Telephone Midwife from Health Direct.

On our way to the Emergency Department Hubby tells me I need to cancel the party. I’m like… “maybe it’s a heat rash?” Prrft!! He looks at me with the, ‘You’ve got to be kidding” look. I guess that’s a no then.

It's a tough gig being a perfectionist when you have a smarty cake

It’s a tough gig being a perfectionist when you have a smarty cake

After waiting at the hospital for twenty minutes (it is 8am by this stage), I decide to make the call. I cancel the party. I’m devastated. But not because I’ve put in so much effort, rather my big mummy moment was gone… and my son doesn’t get his first birthday now. You could hear my heart breaking in Darwin?

Several hours later (about 10am) we come home with a very irritable baby who, according to the doctor, has a viral rash. We put him straight to bed with an overdose of kisses and cuddles.

I hit the wine kitchen and finish off the cooking. I might as well, I still had four adults and a baby to feed, plus we have all this beautiful food to eat.

The rest of the  day goes pretty smoothly all things considered. We finish decorating the cake (see uber professional cake in pic) and once bub wakes up eat a small portion of the cake aka deliciousness. We eat all the salmon blinis, chicken sangas and almost 1kg saveloys. We play four hours of board games (as adults do when they’ve cancelled a kids birthday party) – it’s a game called Pandemic where you have to save the world from infectious diseases (we lost, twice!). We hold a pseudo birthday party for my little one, he opens his presents (aka plays with some wrapping paper and string) and we take some happy snaps of the highly inflated occasion.

Salmon and Dill Blinis, see recipe here gourmet chicken sandwiches.

Salmon and Dill Blinis, see recipe here blini+with+salmon+and+mascarpone gourmet chicken sandwiches.


Fruit Cups for the bubbies, source of photo here


I jump into bed later that night completely exhausted from failing to save the world from some random diseases and from having almost completely emptied my kisses and cuddles tank. With my grief from my failed first birthday finally dwindling and my grief from killing everyone on the planet with some strain of Cholera also dwindling, I snuggle warmly into my husbands arms. It is then that I realise that I don’t feel so good. In fact, it occurs to me that I haven’t been feeling well all night. Then I realise that I am really not feeling good.

And it hits me!

For the next 24 hours myself, my sister-in-law and her partner all have severe vomiting and diarrhea. You know the kind I mean – the kind where you run to the bathroom and debate whether to sit or just throw your head into the bowl and in the end you’re so unsure you sit down but hold a bucket just in case. I am still not sure how I haven’t broken any capillaries in my face from my hurls. It was worse than morning sickness, and I had morning sickness for 9 months of my pregnancy, so I should know.

Ohhhhh, and the irony…. I’m drowning it. We can’t save the world from a ‘Pandemic’ disease outbreak and three adults in our household come down with some form of gastroenteritis and/or food poisoning? Boom! The irony kills me.

Anyway, Sunday comes and goes…. I think, I’m not sure. I was in bed asleep all day and couldn’t even bring myself to eat. Hubby cancelled an overseas work trip because I couldn’t even look after myself let alone a baby. Every time I thought of the yellow icing on that number one cake sitting in the kitchen, I dry reached. My husband also received the following strict instructions from me; “Throw it out. Throw it all out, all the food from Saturday, get rid of it” [insert frantic movie moment here].


Proud as Punch! My first children’s birthday cake just before it was binned

Monday rolls around. And so do I – out of bed. I’m feeling better. All I’ve eaten in the last 24 hours is a bite out a piece of toast, half a piece of licorice and a quarter of a pear. I consider going to work. I then reconsider – after not eating anything, I’m pretty weak. I look around the kitchen, there is not a scrap of cake,  sandwich, saveloy, or salmon blini in sight. Thank god! I stumble around the house for a bit, have a shower and go back to bed. Bub is also looking much better and gives me a big toothy grin as he bangs on his new toys.

So there you have it, possibly the worst first birthday party ever. But a memorable one! As a parent, you really do just have to roll with the punches. But I swear to god, I don’t want to see another kids birthday cake with yellow icing for at least a year!

What was your first birthday mummy moment like? Please tell me it was more enjoyable than the one we had?

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About Lauren Jackman (161 Articles)
Lauren Jackman is the author of Canberra Mummy. A self-confessed perfectionist, Lauren writes about the truth about pregnancy and parenting for perfectionist mummies. Lauren is a mum, wife, author, runner and a not a bad cook

2 Comments on A first birthday party to remember… or forget!

  1. I feel terrible for you! We had that go through our family last week and our one year old ended up in hospital – but we weren’t trying to celebrate his birthday! Hopefully next year will be better. I can’t imagine how it would be worse! Oh dear… Glad to read you’re all on the mend.

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