We had a party for Zoe’s first birthday on Sunday at my parents’ house. Before we had cake and ice cream and opened presents, we incorporated part of the “thoi noi” into the celebration. Thoi noi is a Confucian tradition celebrated in Vietnam as part of a first birthday. We placed various objects in a circle and sat Zoe in the middle. The objects that she chose first are supposed to represent what she will be when she is an adult. We used the same objects we had for Noah’s first birthday (I thought it would be sexist to change them, although we did have to substitute the football with a basketball because the football was a Nerf foam football and Zoe was biting chunks out of it).
These are the objects we placed around her and what they represent (some are traditionally used items and some we improvised):
~ dollar bill – wealth
~ skein of yarn – long life
~ hair brush – good looks
~ calculator – business
~ ruler – engineer
~ laptop – technology career
~ Russ’s (Christian’s dad) Navy colors and wings – military
~ Christian’s mandolin – talent for music
~ paintbrushes – artist
~ a toy dog – veterinarian
~ toothbrush – dentist
~ thesaurus – scholar or lawyer
~ measuring cup – chef
~ basketball – athlete
~ toy stethoscope – doctor
Zoe went straight for the laptop, and she stayed there for a while. I guess she’ll be a computer geek like her dad and her Uncle Kurt. Next she went for the dollar bill and the toothbrush. So, maybe she’ll be a wealthy dentist? On Noah’s birthday, he chose the military colors, then the toothbrush, and then the calculator. Maybe the two of them will have a private dental practice some day – Noah will handle the business side and Zoe will manage their state-of-the-art equipment.
After the thoi noi, we had cake. I got Zoe a little individual cake so she could dive into it. We knew she would make a mess, so we got her down to her diaper and put a plastic table cloth on the table and under her high chair. She did not disappoint.
Noah had fun at Zoe’s birthday party too. In fact, I think he enjoyed her presents more than she did (he especially likes her new wagon). Zoe was more interested in the paper the presents came in (shocking, I know).