Friends of ours have had birthday parties for their kids at one, two and three. We haven't until now, because until now, our daughter was too young to remember a party, so we figured why have one? We have no family living anywhere nearby and her baby sister was yet to be born, so we celebrated her first birthday just the three of us, mommy, daddy and baby. It was sweet and very memorable for us, watching her eat her first cupcake, grabbing handfuls of frosting so that it looked like she was wearing giant frosting mitts.
For her second birthday, we invited her best friend to go to the Seattle Aquarium with us, and for her third birthday, we invited her best friend to our house. These birthdays were also very special and sweet, complete with cakes made and decorated by me. Our daughter got a ton of presents, had a great time and was made to feel very special, all without a party.
Some people seemed to think it was weird that we didn't have a party for her second or third birthdays. Personally, I don't think parents should feel pressure to have parties for babies and toddlers if they don't want to. Parties require time, energy and money, all of which are things that parents of babies and toddlers do not have much of. When I worked full time, or when my youngest daughter was still a very needy baby who wanted to be held 24/7, it would have been very difficult and stressful to try to plan and execute a party, plus we were broke from spending all our money on formula and baby clothes (not to mention all the presents!).
Now planning a party isn't too taxing or stressful, since my younger daughter is 21 months and I work part-time from home. This year, I have the time and energy to put my all into planning a great party that my daughter will really remember. It will be memorable for sure... when I asked her what she wanted the theme of her party to be, she said "Angry Birds." It will be an explosive good time!