Child’s Birthday a Big Deal?

I was so excited for my son’s first party. We invited his play group baby friends to Monkey Joe’s. I made Monkey faced cupcakes. I bought baby friendly monkey-themed gift bags. But, on the day of the party, every one of his guests was sick or had a sick parent.

Yes, my baby’s first birthday was a Charlie Brown party.

Fortunately, he was too young to know the difference. Plus, he still liked the cupcakes!


Since then, I’ve invited more people to his parties to be sure that someone comes to celebrate with him. But, even at my craziest height of birthday party planning, I’ve never gone as far as Caligula.

According to Lewis (1976) in her informative book on Birthdays, Caligula marked the first birthday of his daughter Drusilla with two days of festivities. (Maybe he was making up for naming her Drusilla?). The celebrations included horse racing and, of course, the ritual slaughter of 300 bears and 500 Libyan beasts in an amphitheater.

So, whenever someone says you’re making too big a deal of a child’s birthday, remember Caligula. Unless you’ve got some ritual slaughter planned (and I don’t mean BBQ) you’re doing OK — comparatively.




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