Who needs a smash cake? This adorable baby celebrated her first birthday with a taco smash, digging in with both hands to feast on the food she and her family love so much while posing for keepsake photos.
Delta Phillips had the time of her life laughing, clapping and smiling as she celebrated turning 1 with a tray of tacos.
“She just kept looking up at us and laughing, then would start eating again and give us a cheesy grin,” her mom, Monica Phillips, told TODAY. “She couldn’t believe we were letting her make such a mess.”
As Delta’s March 18 birthday approached, Phillips considered letting her go wild with a cake or doughnuts in the tradition of the cake smash, the messy first birthday celebration that involves giving a baby a small cake to rip apart and eat while the camera whirls.
But Delta isn’t much of a sweets girl.
“I didn’t think cake would go over as well because she just picks at it and takes a couple bites and has no interest,” Phillips said. “I decided to do a different food that would be fun for her and that she enjoys.”
She chose fast-food tacos, a favorite treat of Phillips, 32, her husband Tim and daughters Audrina, 9; Mariah, 4; and, of course, Delta.
"Some families like to go out and get ice cream for a treat, but our family likes to go get Taco Bell," Phillips said.
It's a bit of a family tradition. Monica and Tim began dating after they ate lunch together at the restaurant, making it their “unofficial first date,” and the couple was in the drive-thru picking up food when Monica’s water broke when she was pregnant with Mariah.
When planning Delta’s birthday photos, tacos seemed like a natural choice.
For the March 26 photo shoot, Phillips dressed Delta in a custom tutu and onesie, picked up the food and even borrowed some plastic trays to use during the shoot.
When Delta was dressed and ready, the tray of tacos was put down in front of her.
“Delta’s eyes just lit up,” Phillips said. “She looked at us like, do I really get to eat this?”
“She had one taco and started eating and looked at the tray and grabbed another taco and then had them in both hands and was just smiling and laughing the whole time,” Phillips said.
For photographer Julia Aiello, the shoot was a piece of cake, or make that, a soft flour taco. While some babies need encouragement to eat their cake during a smash shoot, especially if they’ve never had it before, Delta was a pro.
“She didn’t need any help at all,” said Aiello, owner of Julia Marie Photography. “She dug right in, put one in each hand and went to town.”
Aiello shared the photos on Facebook and they took off from there, even catching the attention of Taco Bell. Phillips said the company is sending her a gift and offered to cater Delta’s second birthday.
Phillips says she thinks people loved the images because they showed something different, and because of just how cute her taco-chomping girl is with her tacos.
“Delta’s expressions are pretty priceless,” she said.
But don’t worry. “She’s not letting it get to her head,” Phillips says of all the media coverage that she hopes to collect into a scrapbook for Delta.
“It will be a cute memory for her when she’s older, and her sisters think it’s so fun,” Phillips said. “She has no clue what’s going on now.”
Except for just how yummy a taco or two can be.