My baby turns one tomorrow! I admit, I am still in shock. Maybe even denial.  She has an older brother.  With him, I anticipated every little stage and growth.  Now, I am getting smarter.  They are all over so fast.  So, please, not so fast!  I’m not ready for her to grow up.  I just feels so unreal. How could a year have gone by?

Yet, looking forward to the second year of her life – complete with language acquisition, walking skills, and a mouthful of teeth – I prepare for her birthday tomorrow.

The question is, should it contain cake?

My personal feeling on the matter has always been that no one-year-old needs cake. Especially one that has been eating healthy, organic foods from day one. Fruits and veggies, meats, whole grains. Little or no sugar. And, of course, 90% breast milk (illustrative, not conclusive, statistic, but you get the idea).

Four Cake-Eating Philosophies Disputed:

1. The “poor child” philosophy.

My child may be poor, but don’t feel sorry for her because she isn’t eating cake.  She doesn’t know what she is missing. (I’m not against fun, or sweets, per se.  I love sweets.  Which is why I know that she will know what she is missing soon enough.  Why force the inevitable?)

2. The “photo opportunity” philosophy.

Why do people feel they need a photo of a person eating cake/blowing out candles to commemorate a birth?  I am guilty of this.  It just seems necessary on a birthday.  Now, stop and think about it: how many “good” photos do you have of a person eating cake/blowing out candles on their birthday?  Because all of the ones I have collected over the years are subpar.  Pretty lame in the realm of photography.

Plus, they haven’t created any real memories (“Remember the time Sylvie ate that piece of cake?”  “Yeah! That was awesome!”  “Good times…”).

I herby suggest to myself and others, to commemorate future birthdays with a better photo, and a better memory.

3. The “one piece won’t hurt” philosophy.

Of course not.  I can only counter this with, “why?”  Why the piece to begin with?  She’s a baby.  I don’t believe cake on your birthday will cause longterm health effects, nor am I concerned about obesity in my one-year-old.  Still, healthy choices just seem easier, especially when she’s too young to fight, whine, or cry over it.

4. The “normal” philosophy.

There are two reasons, I think, many people give their one-year-olds birthday cake.  One: it’s the norm.  Everyone does it, and many people simply don’t consider not doing it.  Two: for the guests.  I would suggest that birthday cake is more for the people watching (“look at them eating cake, isn’t that cute?”) than the child.

Sure, the kid likes sweets (although not always).  But, I’m quite sure parents/grandparents/friends get more of a kick out of the eating than they do.  Is that really a good reason to do it?

You be the judge.  Maybe I’m lame on this one.  Like I said, I love sweets (although I don’t actually love cake all that much), so I understand the draw.  But, I have also seen my (older) child on sweets.  And, let me tell you, it makes the day easier on everyone if we limit the sugar overload.  Yikes.

So, does my one-year old need cake?  No.  (I think you’d all agree).

But, should she have it anyway? 

And, while you’re at it: What other rituals/traditions/photo-ops do you use to celebrate birthdays?