Over the past couple months, I’ve been thinking about how I’d like to spend Baby Jake’s first birthday. I’ve always been open about my opinion on babies not knowing why people come together for this event anyway. The baby has no idea that the reason is because of his birthday, and when he grows older, he wouldn’t even remember what transpired. So, why spend?
Upon attending birthday parties for three consecutive weekends last month, and contemplating what my husband Jacob and I want for Baby Jake,
I realized that first birthday parties are really for the parents—for the two key people to be able to celebrate this momentous occasion with their little one, along with people who are important to the family.
Gareth Gonzales, mother of twins Sebastian and Scott and whose boys turned one last December, shared her inspiration for their underwater animal-themed party. “I was on a dive trip when I got pregnant,” she said. “Plus, diving became our scapegoat to relieve stress during our attempts to conceive.” It was held at Whitespace Makati, which was adorned with blue and green tassels and balloons that hung from the ceiling, featuring a big stage with a LED screen that served as the interactive background.
She threw a big party, specifically because Sebastian and Scott are preterm babies. They were in incubation almost their first full month of life, and had to return to the hospital for other medical procedures a few months after. Images and video clips of Gareth and her partner Sherwin’s experiences with their two babies were shown on the LED screen, which brought attendees to tears as we celebrated their triumphs together and witnessed how far they’ve come in parenthood now. Raising preterm babies is no easy feat and can take an emotional toll on the parents.
Princess Chua knew she wanted a party and asked her coordinator, Events & Beyond, to propose concepts for her daughter Megan Ellie’s first birthday. They eventually settled on an enchanted fairy theme, comprising of Disney song numbers and play stories. Princess says that Megan Ellie is currently fond of a nursery show called Little Baby Bum. If she could turn back time, she would have chosen a party theme more similar to Megan Ellie’s present preferences.
Despite these afterthoughts, she has no regrets. “Moms only get to decide on the first birthday,” she figures. “Princess loves that it’s more intimate compared to weddings and other huge events, so you really get to spend time with family and friends.”
What matters most
As Baby Jake’s birthday is nearing, exactly one month from now as of this article’s publication, Jacob and I decided to really break down what we wanted most for him. I must admit that we felt some pressure to conform to existing Millennial standards. We see what other moms are doing for their kids, and have been tempted to do the same. But we ultimately agreed to only do what we thought was necessary.
We decided to focus on the type of memories and photos we want Baby Jake to be able to look back to when he’s no longer a baby. Top keywords that kept emerging as Jacob and I brainstormed were happy, meaningful, things and activities that make Baby Jake smile, and the presence of loved ones who have been instrumental to his well-being that would make the event more memorable and meaningful years down the road.
We’re still finalizing our plans and programs for Baby Jake’s party. Some of my tips so far is to take it easy and have fun! Be clear on the objective of the party and who you want to be there, so you can also keep your budget in check.
At the end of the day, first birthdays matter because it’s the first 365 days of your baby’s life that you have been able to survive together! No matter how you choose to celebrate it, with or without a party, we all deserve to enjoy our baby’s special day.
Because more than the baby, the first birthday is about you—the parents who are marking a milestone of sticking through the most rewarding and most challenging of days for one full year—and raising a happy, healthy, and beautiful baby in the process!