I’m making this post mostly because when I searched Pinterest for ideas for my daughter’s first birthday party, everything alligator related was either a boy baby shower or a little boy’s birthday party. They still gave me good ideas for what to do for her party, but I was disappointed to find nothing geared toward girls in any way. In the back of my mind, I am certain that I still have the gender bias of associating animals like alligators with boys. However, we didn’t do this to make a statement, and there really is nothing inherently masculine about toy alligators.
I am not anti-princess or all things girly, although I do have a special distaste for “baby pink.” Give me magenta any day. Pretty much until I graduated high school I shied away from anything traditionally feminine 75% of the time. While I love dresses and skirts more than ever before, if you meet me in person you may notice a distinct lack of makeup and piercings and a style that often looks like I could go hiking at any moment. Without attempting to make any statement about gender, that has rolled over into how I dress my daughter and the things I buy her. Couple that with her nickname and we have an alligator theme going in her life.
From just a few weeks old, my husband and I began calling Aeryn “Chomp Chomp” and “Little Chomp.” It started as a joke relating to her terrible latch while nursing. It was a humorous and endearing way for me to deal with something both incredibly painful and frustrating. It stuck around though because it fit my feisty little girl. She is strong and funny and smart but not soft or cuddly. I wanted to celebrate that rather than make it something to lament. Then it turned out that one of the only toys she would interact with on her activity mat was an alligator (her true favorite was the penguin). It settled from there and it has been gaining momentum ever since. For instance, this kid decided to make her first food a blue corn chip that she stole straight from the bag. She didn’t have a single tooth at the time, but she chomped that chip down in record time.
All this is to say that there really was no need to deliberate on what theme to do for her first birthday. She was Aeryn the alligator. I’m including some pictures from the party on her actual birthday which was a small one at my parents’ house as well as a few from her shared party here. These are not great pictures and I am not a party planner, but they are getting put out there for every little girl who loves alligators (or crocodiles) and wants a party too.
This is the spread we ended up with. We wanted to do a few more things and decorate more, but a snowstorm moved in that dumped roughly 18 inches forcing us to move the party up by several hours. Not pictured is all of the streamers my husband hung for the “swamp.”
These cupcakes were a team effort, but really my mom and husband did all the work. I made and colored the frosting. My mom began covering them in green (I tried a few and it was a disaster), and Dale finished and turned them into an alligator. He was going to put blue along the sides for water and add another cupcake to his tale, but we ran out of time.
My awesome husband also created this alligator out of pineapple, kiwi, and grapes on very short notice. We had a carved vegetable one in mind, but that was predicated on finding a gigantic cucumber which I could not.
My sister-in-law made spinach and artichoke dip which we dubbed “swamp sludge” with no reflection on her cooking, I might add. She’s the best out of all of us.
The adorable cut out gators on everything that can be seen on the sign here were purchased from Scrappin Tags and More on etsy. It was so much easier than trying to do it myself.
I found the idea for crocamole from this post. We didn’t end up making the cute crocodile, but the name stuck. My creative husband came up with the Pico de gator.
Since this party was mostly adults, we decided to have a drink that wasn’t bright green, but at her other party my friend made a tasty one. The adorable clothespin alligators were made by my nieces and inspired by these. We used them on the banner as you can see below and scattered the rest around.
The banner was just from the party section at Target along with the copper letters they sell there. I added some alligator clips and cut outs and was done.
This was the first of my mom’s awesome sewing projects. These were the “party favors” for the 4 older kids who attended the party.
There were actually 2 more of these in the same fabric as the apron, but they were being used when I took the picture. These were for the babies at both of Aeryn’s party. Cutest party favors ever!
This was the arrangement of the banner at the second party. It is a little easier to see in this picture.
The masterpiece of it all is this original dress made by my mom. Please ignore any wrinkles and stains as this poor thing has survived two toddler parties. I adore the fabric, and it is cozy flannel – perfect for a February party! She put so many details into it, down to the beautiful marbled emerald green button on the back.