If you think parties are the only way to celebrate your child's first birthday… think again? Thought of sharing my first birthday ideas with you.
A year can fly by it just feels like yesterday that I held my newborn bundle in my arms and here we were making plans for the biggest milestone of our lives – baby Noor's first birthday!
I truly believe that, "The moment a child is born, the mother is also born…" so our baby's first birthday, an once-in-a-lifetime affair, was also a self-pat on the back for making it through the first year of parenthood. We wanted to celebrate and make this day memorable for the years to come.
We as a couple, avoid as much as possible, to get caught up in the commercialized hype and material things, we detest how various media channels are always trying to sell us their ideas of how to make a one year old happy… its as if the ideas of love and fun are not good enough, they need to be improved and perfected by doling out money and more money, till they burn giant holes in your pocket and psyche.
So, we decided to make this day special, not by having a party, but by taking our first family vacation to celebrate our daughters first birthday, in the lap of nature. Noor's birthday falls in June, a time when a natural spectacle fills up the night sky. We wanted to witness this wonderful phenomenon, as thousands of fireflies (Juganū in Hindi and Kājavā in Marathi), light up the night sky, in a quaint tribal village, some 1000 m above sea level in the Western Ghats.
Village Purushwadi, located in Akole block of District, Ahmednagar is situated 220 km from both Mumbai & Pune, en route to Nasik. This tribal village is inhabited by the 'Hindu MahadeoKoli' tribe and is adopted by Grassroutes, to strengthen the local self-development initiative. Grassroutes' encourages responsible holidays in India's villages' where in the local village communities welcome you to partake in their life. We wanted our baby to experience the abundance of nature and as parents we wanted to challenge ourselves to camp out & trek with a one-year-old baby.
The drive to Purushwadi was eventful; we stopped by to have a birthday breakfast of waffles, pancakes and chocolate milkshake. We made several stops to nurse & feed, change poopy diapers and enjoy the vistas on the way. We also managed to steal a couple of shots of the queen of our heart, to mark the 12th month of the year that passed (Queen being the 12th rank in the deck) got it!
By mid-day, we arrived at the campsite, to a traditional welcome and savored some black tea with groundnuts. After fixing our bags in our allotted tent and freshening-up, we instinctively checked our cell phones, only to realize that there was no network and our cell phones were out of reach, the feeling of being, far away in the wild, intensified.
We then trekked to our host house, to enjoy an organic vegetarian meal prepared by the local women in their homes. After a sumptuous meal, the highlight of the afternoon was Noor interacting with fellow campers and giving them toothy smiles. She was the youngest member of the group and the center of attention for young campers, who took turns, to hold her and take her around, while we lazed under the tree canopy, gazing into oblivion and breathing in lungs full of oxygen.
In the evening, we went for a not-so-strenuous sunset-trek to a dam nearby, Noor was safely wrapped in our arms, enjoying unlimited ripe mangoes and karvandas. On our way back, we decided to rest a bit, while enjoying the sunset view. After making our peace with nature, we reached back to the campsite, just in time for the traditional dinner of Puranpoli and amti, and some khichdi that our host, graciously prepared for baby Noor.
Our baby was drowsy and dreamy at the end of the day; she fussed a little, but dozed off soon. At about 10 pm, we wrapped her in a blanket and took off for a night walk around the village to witness the dance of the fireflies. We sat around for an hour or more, to gaze at this luminously beautiful display of love, in order to find the right mate…!
The next morning, we woke up early, to enjoy the sunrise and then soon after breakfast, we spent the day walking in the lush green village, chasing butterflies, plucking mangoes, grinding rice, segregating tomatoes and simply relaxing at the campsite, till it was time to leave for home. Noor's first birthday was a nice getaway from Mumbai's hustle-bustle and we came back re-energized.
We realized that Noor's first birthday celebration, was an acknowledgement of how blessed we were to reach the first birthday milestone and even though we spent the last year being sleep-deprived, the fact that our child is healthy and beautiful, is all that matters.
What are your plans for turning one – a big bash, a small intimate affair or somewhere in between?
All the images in this post are copyrighted by Out of Focus Picture#birthday