Here Baby, Happy Birthday, Have Some Cake?

I have visions of my baby smashing cake in her face and all over the place on her first birthday, which is this coming Wednesday (and being celebrated on Saturday). It’s a tradition, a milestone, a rite of passage. It makes for great photos (yes, I’ll probably post one or two of those photos here).

But the thought has occurred to me: cake?

I know everyone does it. There are pictures of me, and then a few years later, my brother, on our first birthdays, wearing cardboard cone birthday hats, with cake all over our faces, hands, and clothes. But that was “back then.” Things have since changed, and parents have gotten way more cautious (paranoid?). We know things now that our parents, forgivably, didn’t know then. We don’t drink alcohol of coffee or smoke cigarettes when we’re pregnant. We don’t use products with BPA. We put infants to sleep on their backs. We use backward facing car seats.

I was super obedient to the rules when pregnant (not even decaf coffee, no tuna, no fish, no lunchmeat, etc.). When she was born, I sterilized everything! I gave her breast milk, then the expensive pre-mixed formula. I had very stringent rules about washing bottles, and I would dry them until there was not one drop of water left on them. When it was time, I gave her rice cereal, and then gradually added more and more solids, which to this day have only included the following: baby food: fruit (except for anything with strawberries, raspberries, or citrus), vegetables, and recently chicken, turkey, and beef; teething biscuits; cheerios (soaked in formula to soften them); and finely chopped avocados, potatoes, bananas, and cooked carrots. That’s it!

So, I’m about to go from being very strict about what my baby has consumed over the last 12 months to just willy-nilly giving her something made with sugar, eggs, sugar, wheat/gluten, sugar, some other stuff, sugar, sugar, and sugar?!? Just like that, cake. I’m picturing a very wired baby (and a very tired me) not getting much sleep that night.

I’ve been told by other moms that she’ll probably not even get much of the cake in her mouth. She’ll probably get most of it in her hair, on her face and hands, and everywhere else. And if she does eat cake, so what? She’d be eating it at some point anyway. Like, at her second birthday.

I thought about trying to find a healthy, organic, sugar-free, egg-free, gluten-free (basically “cake”-free) option, but decided to forego that. Not only could I not find anything of that variety, I didn’t want to turn her off to birthdays or parties for that matter.

So, the plan is, she’ll get a little cupcake to smoosh and taste and look adorable with in photos. We’ll hope for the best. If I don’t get much sleep that night, it wouldn’t be the first time. But please wish me luck anyway.


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