Happy 1st birthday, B! You’re having a transportation party theme, complete with a train-shaped cake baked by mommy. Only, I wonder: Am I putting on a show for my boy, or for me?

Am I fulfilling some urge to prove I’m a good stay-at-home mom? What drives me to spend hours scouring websites for all of the trimmings of the quintessential party? My son isn’t even old enough to choose his theme. Sure, he likes things with wheels, but he also likes boxes and wrapping paper more than gifts.

Driven to make the milestone spectacular in our home, I dare to outfit the apartment with transportation décor that hangs from our chandelier with as much tact and as least tackiness as possible. I compare conductor hats, train whistles and Thomas the Tank bubbles from different sites to come up with the best favors while B naps. I affix a train motif to the straws to match the paper plates and cups, rather than relax on the couch with my husband.

Am I crazy or just crazy in love with making my son happy? I want the party to be small in size. Yet, I feel the need to go the extra mile for whomever comes. Will B care? Will the guests care? I care.

I resolve to bake the train cake, quieting the nagging fear that the batter won’t rise enough or that I’ll ruin the mold with my decorating skills. I have fun doing it, wanting my son to stay young forever while yearning for him to be old enough to be my sous chef. Who cares if I’m baking the cake in part for the gratification I feel by doing it? It’s making me a happy mom.

Besides, it’s a great feeling to feed your family, even if B pretty much cried when he touched the icing come party day. It oddly freaked him out! He did light up by the look of the cake, especially as B, my husband and I huddled to blow out the candles. It’s been an incredible year. Too amazing to describe with words. My son has come a long way from ultrasound blip to baby and onto the toddler years. As have my husband and I, as a couple and as a family.

We’ve also crossed a threshold as individuals– proud to bake a cake for a child worth celebrating much more than having a birthday party. And if you think I’m over thinking this, guilty as charged. That’s what moms like me do. Of course, I’m also guilty of getting a backup cake baked by a bakery.

Plan your own party with ideas at http://www.parentguidenews.com/Articles/Tags/BirthdayParties