• Sandy Green


Avi had his first birthday party this weekend and if you were to look at my Facebook posts, it would appear that the entire celebration was a success. And at the end of the day, it was, but we had a hell of a time getting there. I’ve talked [here] about how tough it is for me to be flexible and how this is one of the biggest lessons I’ve had to learn from my little man. It’s still tough for me and the planning of this birthday party ended up being yet another major test.

It started about two weeks ago when we noticed a slight rash on Avi’s face. At first we didn’t think much of it, because he had recently gotten a vaccine. I thought this could just be a side effect. But over the course of a day or so, the rash started to get worse and when it started spreading to his legs and arms, we took him to the doctor. She confirmed that Avi had the super contagious virus, coxsackie (also known as Hand Foot Mouth Disease - HFMD). I was bummed to hear that he was actually sick, but he was in good spirits. We had planned a little getaway with a friend in North Fork that weekend and the doctor said we didn’t have to cancel; so we didn’t. Despite the fact that Avi was definitely agitated and not completely himself, we had a nice time.

So we survived the weekend and by Monday, the rash had started to really clear up and he was looking much better. That’s when the next round hit. As the rash started to clear, he started acting worse. Then I got a call from our nanny, Sarah, that he had a temperature of 101.6. Not terrible but definitely a fever. She gave him Tylenol which worked at lowering the fever but by Wednesday, he still had it and we needed to start thinking about the birthday party. We had about 20 kids scheduled to come and I didn’t want to get anyone sick. We decided to bring him to the doctor to get her opinion, even though it was still a relatively low fever. The doctor confirmed that it was nothing serious and that it probably wasn’t connected to the HFMD because with HFMD, the fever typically comes before the rash. Annoyingly, she thought there was a pretty good chance that Avi got this new virus the previous week FROM THE PEDIATRICIAN'S OFFICE, when his immunity was down. (New mama lesson learned: doctors’ offices are germ pools and I should only bring Avi in if I think he’s really sick and needs medical attention.) I consulted with my army of mama friends and decided that we would wait one more day before making a call on the party. If at that point he still had a fever, we wouldn’t cancel, but we would warn everyone to come at their own risk. It made sense, but I hated being in limbo. We had tons of food ordered and I had planned to pick up a bunch of supplies and decorations that day. Now I had to wait until the last minute to make my final plans and it was driving me crazy.

Thursday rolled around and poor little Avi still had a fever. He continued to be miserable and we knew we had to send an email to all of our guests. We sent it on Thursday night and by Friday afternoon, only one person had cancelled! And even better news - Avi’s fever had disappeared! I was happy and relieved and went out to buy all of the supplies and order the rest of the food.

Saturday morning, the day of the party. The house was decorated and all of the food had been delivered. We had ordered enough for about 40 people and our refrigerator was full. My dad’s side of the family was on their way from Maryland and this party was happening! I was excited but stressed out about hosting so many people and Avi’s attitude that morning didn’t help. He had woken up on the wrong side of the crib and was incredibly cranky. Crying over everything, clingy and underfoot. I prayed that after his nap, he would feel better. Guess what...he didn’t. Somehow I think he was even worse. And then the cancellations started coming in. A few friends were sick, a few babies were sick, and a few people just didn’t want to risk the germs. They all had good reasons and I didn’t (and still don’t) blame them for cancelling. But still, I started to spiral. Avi was a complete crank-pot, no one was coming to my party, and we had enough food to feed an army. Plus, we had music coming for the kids - and almost all of the kids had cancelled!! Needless to say, I wasn’t in a great place by the time our first guests arrived.

But arrive they did and soon enough, we had a house packed with family and friends. The walls echoed with conversation and laughter. Avi woke up from nap number 2 a different kid. He was so happy to have all of these people around! Our musical guest played on, despite the lack of kids, and Avi loved it. In spite of everything, the party was a great success. Not all of our friends were able to make it, we had some last minute cancellations, we had enough leftovers to last us a month, and our house was a mess. But we had a great time. In life, things rarely go exactly as planned. Multiply that by 100 when you’ve got a baby. For a planner like me, this can be incredibly difficult. But that’s life. And I like to think I’m getting better at it as I go along.