I have no time anymore.
Here's the quick version of what I learned about birthday parties:
(1) If your child isn't walking, don't bother with an expensive birthday dress - Jane wore hers for 20 minutes and was getting super pissed that she couldn't crawl in it. I took pictures, let everyone see how pretty she was and then changed her.
(2) Plan party activities around naptime. If your party is scheduled from 2-4 and your child usually naps at 2, do the whole cake and gift thing right away to avoid potential break downs. Jane was due for a nap at 2pm and by the time we got around to cake time it was after 3pm and she was just on the cusp of starting to let everyone know that she was not happy she was still awake... thankfully, we caught her just in time and the giant birthday cake and icing was enough to distract her from a meltdown. By the time she got for a nap it was after 4pm.
(4) Let the child eat cake. I'm annoying anal about Jane eating nutritious foods but I let her go at in on her birthday - did it kill her? No. Did it screw up her sleep? No. Did she get sick? No. Did it effect her in any way but to make her happy as heck? Nope. Did she have more sugar in two hours than she's had cumulatively in her entire life? Heck yeah.
(5) Don't go overboard on food and snacks if you're doing an afternoon event. I always do a 2-4 thing it seems and buy tons of candy, snacks, cakes, and we ordered pizza last going off on Saturday. We were left with tons of candy, snacks, cakes, and pizza. Have enough on hand to keep people occupied but it's likely at that time of day that guests are between meals and not so hungry that a good piece of cake wouldn't fill the void. Save the $$.
K, that's all I got. I'm sure I'll think of fifty more things in the next few hours and will update in comments as I remember.
Daycare Day #2 went well. Jane stayed today for 2 hours by herself. I gave her a kiss and left, no big deal, no big farewell, just left. I was pretty proud of myself actually. ha ha ha. However, I did call Dan and ask him to swing by and peak in the window to check on her (Jane's daycare is in Dan's office building - spoiled much?). I don't know if he did or not but just the thought gave me peace of mind. Jane usually has a morning nap (pre-9 am ish) and I told the girls that she may or may not want a nap because of the excitement of all the kids... well, we all learned a lesson. A transition week is for everybody I guess, not just the babes. When I picked her up at 11am, they were playing outside in the playground and Jane was sitting there sobbing - very unusual sight for this Momma - apparently no nap = exhausted baby = sobbing baby. Jane's never been over-tired because I'm always home and I always just put her down when I think she needs a nap - even if she's not acting tired. Soon as she hit the car seat, her eyes were closed. Too cute. So, tomorrow the daycare gals said nap for Jane, tired or not and I agreed.