Abigail’s first birthday party (and calamitous birthday weekend)

Abigail is one!

I planned a little party for our girl a few weeks in advance – nothing overly fancy. I wanted it to be about her, rather than an adult party. I know she is only one, how much could she understand, still less remember, but I know what she likes and tried to make it a nice day for her, and one which we would remember and cherish as well of course.

I tried to be really organised, but I will be honest, I was still a frazzled mess on the day. How does that happen? I decided to try to make life easy for myself and I ordered bagels and rolls from our local kosher baker, so that that would be done. I did an online shop for drinks and extra snacks. I slowly purchased a few decorations in the way of balloons and pretty plates (I alreday had a lot I could use from her first party for family). Our big purchase was that of a camcorder to record the day, and we learnt to use it and were ready to go. I booked a baby entertainer who runs a group which Abigail adores – full of songs and movement in Hebrew and English.  It is something we all really look forward to, so I knew it would be a hit with her.

So what, you might ask, did I actually have to do? And why was I so stressed?

All there was really was to make a cake and one other sweet item for our buffet table, and a wreath for Abigail’s head (an Israeli custom). I had looked at some cakes online and had an idea of what I wanted to create. I took my inspiration from Abigail’s party dress, with shades of pink, lilac, blue and green. I had only iced one cake before (my wedding cake!) and knew I was competent, if no pro.

So on Thursday night I got out my favourite party cakes book, Sky High, which is all about layer cakes. As an aside I am so sad that it is out of print, because I think that it is a wonderful and reliable book for occasion cakes. That night I baked (all in one go, miraculously they fitted in the oven) 6 layers to make two three tier layers for the cake. All I would have to do on Saturday evening was ice the cake. All was going to plan.

But then a few things conspired to up the stress levels – don’t they always?

On the Friday (Abigail’s birthday) as I was shopping for kosher goods for Shabbat on our high street my pram and phone were stolen as I was putting Abigail in the car. I didn’t realise at first what had happened. I had assumed that I’d already put the pram in the car. It took me a while to register. Don’t ask me how or what. At first I thought it was just the pram, which was bad enough. But when the realisation dawned on me that my phone had gone, too, with all my numbers and the millions of Abigail photos on it from the first year of her life, on her birthday, I literally had a meltdown. Instead of enjoying her special day I was a frazzled mess. To make matters worse, a Sky engineer had come that morning to install the Sky dish, resulting in our internet being down. Marc was on the two phones – his mobile and the landline – waiting for help. I of course needed to call the police and my phone provider, but there was no available phone. STRESS.

I then spent too long getting a new SIM card and buying a new phone. I was shattered, upset and angry and it surely affected me over the weekend. I was so angry with myself for spending much of Abigail’s birthday grumpy and flustered.

Then, on Saturday evening, when I was looking after Abigail on my own as Marc was on a stag do, I noticed she had a fever. I gave her infant paracetamol at 6pm and hoped that by bedtime, 7pm, it will have kicked it. But at 7pm the fever had not subsided, so I gave Abigail ibuprofen. I was sure that that would do the trick. But when I checked on her a few hours later, Abigail still had a raging (but this time, even higher) fever of 39.3c. I began to really worry and called NHS direct. They asked me to wake her, give her another dose of ibuprofen, and then check her an hour later. If she had a fever of more than 37.5 after that hour, we were to go to A&E. We did as we were told, and after an hour her fever did go down (to 37.6, which I thought was good enough). But after being woken she refused to sleep. ALL night. No dummy or amount of cuddling would comfort her, she was up every 40 minutes or so. It was literally like having a newborn again. And I worried about whether I would need to cancel the party and how I would even go about doing that, as I would have virtually no way of getting hold of people owing to the theft of my phone!

All this stress meant I did a rubbish job of icing the cake, I was much too wound up, and had to start over. Also, I made the most collossal mess in the kitchen. All the icing between the layers oozed out, runied the fondant and I was just grateful that I had had the common sense (lack of self belief!) to buy way more than I needed so that I wouldn’t have to worry about supplies.

Thankfully, in the morning Abigail was better, if not perfect. I got up, showered and legged it out of the house in 10 minutes to buy more food and pick up the bagels and rolls. I bumped into my good friend Gali, who nourished me with caffeine, which was like a tonic, I tell you.

I don’t know how something so simple ended up being surrounded by so much stress, but all I can say is that it was worth it. We had such a lovely time hosting the party and celebrating our girl. It was great to see all our friends with their kids and babies, and the weather was kind to us so we all sat in the garden eating snacks, drinking drinks and getting involved with all the singing. Abigail was not quite herself after her fever, but I still think she had a nice day and understood that she was being celebrated.

Everyone seemed to enjoy the day and it gave us pleasure to share the special occasion with friends and our parents. That night, totally exhausted, we sat in bed and watched the video of the day! We marvelled at how much our baby girl had grown and felt so lucky to be able to enjoy days like these celebrating her, and looked forward to all the wonderful celebrations that lie ahead please G-d.

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Me and my girl!

DSC_0836_2Balloons on the door

DSC_0837_2Balloons in the hallway

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The birthday cake!

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The buffet table – as you can see I didn’t even get round to removing the cling film! This is real life, people.

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Chocolate (aka rum) balls – yum!

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Drinks stand – I filled one jug with ice water and mint and the other with organic squash. Fruit nectars in a variety of flavours were also available.

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Pretty napkins and plates

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Favours – inside each envelope was a Mr Men or Little Miss book depending on whether the mini guest was a boy or a girl. The titles were ‘Mr Birthday’ and ‘Little Miss Birthday’.
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Pretty sweets

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