Sunday, March 02, 2008

Pedro Turns One!

My little baby is turning 1.

The first birthday here in Brazil is a MAJOR deal-the biggest of all birthdays-requiring a huge celebration. I'm talking about a party wherein the parents must invite all of their friends, their friends' friends, relatives, co-workers, relatives of co-workers, acquaintances, people whom they've never actually spoken to, but who live in a 3-block-radius, and anyone who may have laid eyes on the child sometime during his or her first year.

I explained to our maid that in lieu of the Party of the Decade we (the cheap, practical Americans) prefer to have The Simple Family Party.

I tried to explain to her the elements of The Simple Family Party:

  1. A cake, specially made by moi, from a box mix. Normally a 9 X 13 cake still in the pan, but if it is really special I might make 2 8" circles and stack them up.
  2. A traditional rendition of "Happy Birthday"
  3. Allowing the birthday baby to strip down to his or her diaper and make mincemeat out of a piece of the cake.
  4. A few presents
  5. Maybe a few games for the older kids, depending on my energy level and mood.
She was of course, very, very disappointed. She told me how he knows he's turning one and he would so enjoy a more suitable party. I told her he'd turn out just fine even if he had a Simple Family Party.

But the look on her face just killed me. Next to me and Guapo and possibly his grandparents, there's no one else in the world that loves him more than Vanessa. And, I started to doubt myself and my parenting skills-maybe I was screwing up my kids by not adequately commerating their special day.

So I gave her 50 bucks and told her to knock herself out planning a party for Pedro, and that she could bring her three kid and husband over for the American/slightly Brazilian festivity. (She spent over $1,000 USD on each of her 3 children's 1st birthday parties, so I'm sure she was appalled at my cheapness in regard to my son's milestone).

So her whole gang came over on Saturday and helped set up. Here's what she did:

(look at the front of the tablecloth/ruffle thing-those are pictures of Pedro that she printed out and laminated-cute huh? and check out that extra-special-double-decker-cake! Vanessa was less than impressed with my skills)

The birthday "table" is very important here. I'm finally getting that. The parties here are centered around this table that is elaborately decorated with a particular theme in mind. The normal theme for a 1 year old is clowns. Don't worry, they weren't too scary.

Here's Vanessa with Pedro:

Here he is playing with some confetti (do you know how much Guapo loves confetti inside the house? A whole lot.)

And here he is enjoying his cake:

(you can't tell me he would have been any happier had we dropped 5 grand on his birthday)

To prove to the Brazilians we know how to party we got out the broom handle limbo stick and really got crazy. Even Guapo joined in on the fun:

I'm not sure we convinced them that The Simple Family Party is where it's at, but we all had a good time.

Happy Birthday Pedro! I love you!


Awesome Mom said...

Aww what a cutie! It looks like fun was had by everyone. Evan is turning 4 on Monday and is only now having his first non family birthday party.

Happy Birthday Pedro!!

Fabiola said...

Dear Gabriela,

Happy Birthday to Pedro. Although I am from Brazil, I do think our culture is a little dumb (to say the least) when it comes to 1st birthday party. It is just insane all the money that people spend in these parties.
You have been blessed with this maid and she has a really good taste and she is quite handy as well.


Blackeyedsue said...

He is one already. That flew by! I love how other cultures celebrate birthdays. We always have the same old vanilla birthday parties. LAM-O.

Happy birthday Pedro!

Julie said...

I can't believe your baby is 1 and I haven't even met him yet. Brazil is too far away.

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday, Pedro!!!

Ballerina Girl said...

Wow, litle guy, too! Happy Birthday!!
Gabs, so sorry that we missed out on the festivities!

We will have to celebrate another day SOON!!
Love, BG

Janet said...

Happy Birthday to Pedro! He really is adorable!
Maybe he and Justin can play someday... :)

Janice said...

Toothsome #3 is turning four and we are still just doing a simple family party.

andalucy said...

That looks like a lot of fun! I love that photo of you and Pedro. But I have to tell you, Gabriela, that I can see in his eyes the longing for a REAL party, the one that you denied him and that he will have to go to couseling about when he's older.

Wow, the Brazilians even top the Mexicans in the enormous party department. One time we were in Mexico for one of our children's birthdays and my MIL convinced us to let her do a "small, family party." I think there were over 60 people, a full dinner, etc., and she was a bit scandalized that we only had playclothes for the kids to wear instead of elaborate party dresses. And afterwards she still insisted that it was just a "small, family party" and nothing like what she would have preferred to do.

nikko said...

Happy Birthday!!

Super Happy Girl said...

Happy Birthday Cute Little Pedro!
He look so happy! :)

I just love it how your maids always want to do the Super Huge Bday Party, hahahaha. She did a really great job, YAY! for her.

Looks like everyone had a great time.

Lana said...

Happy Birthday Pedro!!

Here in TX we have a lot of friends who are from south of the border originally and they throw the hugest 15th birthday parties and my girls think it's absolutely a blast, while our parties are LAME-O and it's almost too embarrasing to even invite friends over. so I feel your pain. BTW, his party looks like it was very fun :)

Gabriela said...

Awesome Mom: Happy Birthday to Evan!

Fabiola: I don't think it's "bad" that Brazilians have big bashes-I think Brazilians are a lot more fun than Americans and they just love to have parties! And you're right-we got a good maid!

Jules: maybe I'll come visit you this summer. (I need to call you!)

Blackeyedsue: "vanilla" parties-I like that-very descriptive!

K-squared's mom: Hi! Miss you!

BG: for sure we will celebrate. As soon as you finish the books. :)

Janet: I hope so! They would be so cute together.

Janice: good plan. good plan.

Calandria: I know, he'll need counseling-hopefully he'll forgive me at some point! :) Mexico did have big parties, but probably the biggest ones we have seen were in Venezuela. LOL about the "play clothes" that is totally something that I would do.

Nikko: Thanks!

NCS: thanks-we did have fun. The best part was that since my maid did it-she cleaned it all up afterward. Yay!!! Easiest party I've ever had.

TXMommy: yes, the 15th birthday party is HUGE in Mexico-lots of families spend more on that than on a wedding. And the girl is dressed like it is a wedding. Crazy.

utmommy said...

I can't believe he's already one. How does that happen?

Looks to me as though the party turned out just fine. Pedro looks as happy as can be!

Code Yellow Mom said...

I'm a fan of the SFP, myself. But wow! Vanessa sure did up an awesome birthday table. HAPPY BIRTHDAY PEDRO! (I can't believe it!)

(Your shopping, flying and reading posts made me smile, too...Glad you're back!)

Unknown said...

I am all for the simple family party, which is what Zach is getting on Friday. That was sweet of you to let your maid add more spice to the party and to invite her family. Pedro DOES look like he's having a fun birthday and having fun eating his cake...but where's the chocolate???
Happy Birthday, Pedro!

smart mama said...

oohh fun SFP with an international flair can i hire the service...

marine's words said...

I have too agree I thougt mexicans had it down when they come to parties after all they last all night long and everyone is welcome!!
but I do think Brazilians have it down really good when it comes to parties!! they sound like fun peolpe!! You do have a good maid!!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY PEDRO!!!and many more!!!!!!!!!!!!

and Gabs, I have live in these house now going on 3 years and I finally found curtains for my window only b/c they have just bulid a houe across the street from me and I can't have anyone looking in now... thats how long it took me to hang certains can't wait until the job is finally done,
I did't want to put up blinds b/c its the frount window and everyone elase has blinds I wanted to be different so it took me 3 years can you belive that!LOL !!marina
have a great day!!

Grammy said...

Well, even if Pedro won't remember the party (aside from the pictures), you all had a good time and will remember this as a cultural experience from your expat years. I'm glad you have Vanessa to educate you - but most especially to help you love your kids. You can never have too many grown ups to help you love and support your little ones. I'm here to help with that. Come on by sometime.

sara said...

my little guy is approaching 1 too. so bittersweet! pedro is such a cutie. i showed my kids him in the darth vader mask and they loved it.

happy b-day!