By Jane Kingsu-Cheng | Photos by Delightful Little Darlings
Flying in and out of Manila on a regular basis can be quite a struggle, especially when you’re traveling with your family of six. This has always been Amanda Griffin-Jacob’s challenge, and she’s used to this scenario. But what if she’s remotely planning her youngest son’s first birthday party from Singapore? How does one make sure the party is a success?
“Since I don’t live in Manila full time, I wanted to have a really special and memorable first birthday for my youngest child. I kept it relatively small for the space. The space had more capacity. I invited around 80 adults and 50 kids. This number doesn’t include the nannies. I believe around 70 adults and 40 kids were at the party. Anytime I have any kind of event in Manila I always figure in a drop rate of at least 25 to 30 percent,” Amanda explained, crediting Party Starters for helping her with the planning.
Pastel blues and greens
The youngest of four children, Kyle Antony Griffin-Jacob was born Aug. 1, 2018, with his family celebrating his first birthday last Aug. 3, Saturday, at Manila Polo Club. Though it took four months to plan, the setup by Indy’s Playground came out exactly as Amanda envisioned. Baby blue and white hydrangeas filled the entrance and the stage, matching the color theme of Amanda’s favorite childhood book series, Peter Rabbit. “We love reading Peter Rabbit to Kyle,” she added. Life-size baby blocks spelled out the four-letter name of the birthday boy took center stage, with beautiful hydrangeas sprouting in between the blocks. Illustrated standees of the main characters from the Peter Rabbit book were displayed on stage as well. The venue was a breath of fresh air, and it was dressed up with the feel of vintage English country vibe set in the spring season.
Amanda made sure that the party was intimate enough for everyone to have a chance to catch up. Children should be happily preoccupied, giving the parents time to unwind and relax. “It’s really important that there were activities for all age groups. Particularly since it was a birthday party for my one-year-old baby, I had a dedicated area for babies and toddlers, complete with a baby sensory area (which included a wading pool of cooked pasta and marshmallows) and IFam swings and slides provided by Baby Town.”
First of many lasts
Most parents, especially mothers, can relate to this. It’s when a couple finally decides that their youngest will be their youngest, and Kyle is that baby. Amanda shared, “He’s a dream. Everything is bittersweet as all the firsts are my lasts. I’m such a sentimental person and knowing that he is my last baby makes everything so much more special but a little sad at the same time.” The doting mom reminisced that Kyle is the sweetest baby, and enjoys being with her the most. She fondly refers to Kyle as “my little koala.” When asked what her wish is for this adorable little man, “I wish that he remains kind to everyone and everything. I wish for health and soul fulfilling happiness,” she said.
Make New Friends
‘It’s essential! My mom tribe is my sanity, my sanctuary, my silly, my safe. Motherhood isn’t always easy and it helps to know you don’t have to do it alone. For the kids, socialization is so important for their development.’
Prior to the birthday party, Amanda Griffin-Jacob posted a charming video of their youngest child, Kyle Antony. Produced by Ducks & Drakes, the video production company brainstormed with Amanda on creating this delightful first birthday video.
First on the agenda was conceptualizing the different scenes and outfits of Kyle. To add to the fun, Amanda thought it would be nice to include the babies from their playgroup called The Baby Bunch. “They’re his buddies, so I thought it would be cute to have them in it… with cake haha…”
Why a playgroup?
Amanda revealed that, with her firstborn 10 years ago, she was part of a baby group with moms who had babies of the same age. That group played a big role in her formative years as a mother. They were there to support and guide her, with some becoming her best friends today.
She admitted that she didn’t really invest time for the next two children to join playgroups. The three siblings have already formed a special bond that didn’t need the help of playgroups. “But with Kyle, I made a concerted effort to commit to a baby group, most especially since none of my friends were pregnant, except for one. I love Kyle’s playgroup, because they’re mostly first-time mamas, and it’s refreshing to hear the perspectives and strategies from them,” explained Amanda.
My mom tribe
Most of the time, friendships are formed and strengthened unexpectedly. It’s a pleasant surprise, especially for moms who need a support group to lean on to. “I think it really started with Patti (Grandige-Herrera). Funny enough, Patti and I didn’t really know each other before our babies, but we connected and bonded online since we were due at the same time,” recounted Amanda. Other moms who are part of the group are Tricia Centenera (whose partner Duane is one of Amanda’s husband David’s best friends), Jess Tan Gan, Vanessa Matsunaga-Sunga, Cristalle BeloPitt, and Prasana Lee.
Despite being a mom-of-four backed with tons of experiences, Amanda still believes everyone needs a support group. “It’s essential! My mom tribe is my sanity, my sanctuary, my silly, my safe. Motherhood isn’t always easy and it helps to know you don’t have to do it alone. For the kids, socialization is so important for their development.”