Happy First Birthday

YOU are one, Little Mister. Happy birthday. It is the last day of the year, and we have blown out a single candle and sung to you. Happy birthday. It’s been the best year of our lives.

One year ago, on your very first day in this world, we held you fearfully. You were so small and precious and fragile. Still heavily drugged, I felt nothing less than awe that you were ours. You were so perfect, how would we be good enough for you? After a week, we came home. I was terrified. I didn’t know what to do. I cried. What if I got it wrong?

But since then, you have made each day brighter. You have helped me along the way, guiding me in what to do. You have made us laugh all the time. You have amazed us with how much you have grown each day, how much you have changed and how much you have learnt.

Slowly you became more aware of the world around you. You started to know us and we started to know you. Sometimes now I think I know your every sound, your every movement, and your every expression – but then you come up with a new one.

From little squeaks, you are trying to talk. Bird, car, bath, book, ball, Dad and Mama when you are tired – these are your words. Today, you stood on your own for a few seconds for your Dada. I missed it.

You can clap now, with both hands meeting in the middle. You think it’s great, and it is. You know your nose, and mine. You point to tell me things, and you love touching pointing fingers ET-style.

We celebrated at the zoo today, playing in the playground, telling the giraffes you were one, and laughing at the baby monkeys. You made the sun shine. We came home and blew out the candle on the last piece of our wedding cake I’d finally remembered to defrost. You tasted some. You cried when I took it away.

You have made us both better people. You have opened our eyes to the world again, and made us appreciate what we have. You have made us strive to be better, to make things better for you. But you have also taught us real fear. Fear that we will not be good enough, fear that you will know pain, fear that you will one day feel anguish. Perhaps it is this fear that drives us to make everything as good as we can for you.

You have taught me about love, about joy, about learning, about wonder, about seeing everything for the first time. You have made me less selfish and made me want the world for you.

Little Mister, you are one. You have made the days and hours fly, but you have taught me to savour them as they pass. I am so looking forward to another year. I know that again, each day, you will amaze me. Happy birthday my love. X

birthday4 birthday3 birthday2 birthday

Flightmares, time differences, and a little holiday

The flight-mares have begun. In fact, they begun quite some time ago. Taking a 13-month old to the other side of the world in a plane filled with other people who probably just want to get some sleep fills me with dread. So we’re having a practice run next week.

Well, we’re not going all the way to England, and we’re not getting on a plane just to experience the sheer hell of travelling with a mobile baby, but we are having a bit of a holiday-trial.

Earlier this year, in a moment of careless disregard for our financial situation, I booked us a ridiculously over-priced holiday. There were lots of reasons to do this, and apart from the idea of putting the Little Mister on a plane, the only reason against booking the trip was that neither of us really have much of an income at the moment. (But, look, I’m doing a little work like this here.)

So, we’re off to Australia. Despite living here in Godzone for seven years, I’ve never been, and I thought it was probably time to get there before we return to England in January. Tony has three sisters on the Gold Coast, and so what better place to take ourselves? The Little Mister will get to meet his aunties, uncles and cousins, and we will get to have a good old-fashioned family catch up. We’re staying in luxury (or so it appears from the brochure) and I can satisfy my craving for genuinely warm weather, a splash about in the sea and a very nice hotel pool (with cute separate kiddy pool) to make up for arriving in London in the dark depths of winter.

The holiday too was a surprise father’s day “gift” from the Little Mister to his dad, so of course, there didn’t really need to be any other justification for it. (Not only was it Tony’s first father’s day, but the present also takes care of a rather large birthday in a couple of weeks time.)

So, super holiday in the sun, here we come. But wait, it’s not like it used to be. Throw beach dresses and hat in suitcase, drink some wines on the plane, and spend five days behaving like there’s nothing in the world to trouble the soul. That kind of holiday, I fear, is long gone.

The only trip we’ve done with the Little Mister was up to Auckland when he was not even four months old. Of course he was a dream on the plane – any hint of a grimace and I fed him. It’s different now. This boy has places to go. How on earth is he going to sit on my lap for four hours?

It’s not only the confined space that worries me. It’s the timing of it all. Our flight is at 7am. Way to start the day, then, by waking up my sleeping child, bundling him into a taxi before dawn breaks, driving for less than ten minutes, and then expecting him to fall back to sleep at the airport for a bit. That’s before we even board. I have worries too about take off and landing. Will giving him a bottle help his ears? What if he doesn’t want one?

Then there’s the time difference. Should I start trying to make him go to bed later each night now – we still have ten days to go? And once we are there, will he sleep anyway given it’ll be a strange place? Recently he’s not been so keen on new, unfamiliar places….

At least its only a few hours on the plane, the time difference isn’t too bad, and we’re only away for five days. I’m sure he’ll be a trooper. It’ll be  our first overseas holiday as a family of three, and we might not relax in the way that we used to while abroad, but I’m sure we will have an extra special time because this is how life is now. We’ll just try to forget the plane journey very quickly. And after all, it is only the practice run.

Happy Nine Months

THREE quarters of a year. It’s been that long since you came into our lives and changed everything. For the last nine months, you have made every day better and everybody close to you happier. In such a short time, you have spread so much joy.

Today, to celebrate, we took you to the zoo. Dada bought you a zoo pass, because even though we won’t be here a year, you love that place at the end of the road. It does me good too, to push you around its hills and see the animals on our walks.

You love the roosters, they’re easy to see from the buggy. The one we met today was particularly striking as its feathers were so bright. We got up close to the giraffes, or the big Sophies, and the kangaroos, a goat, and an emu caught your attention too. The big hit today though was a rather angry ostrich, who squaked away right up close to the wire between you two. He tried to get his beak through the fence. You were transfixed by this big, noisy, grumpy creature.

It tired you out, the fresh air, the adventure, the new creatures to look at with your big wide open eyes. Those eyes are taking everything in, as they always have done, but now at nine months you have a wise look about you.

You have worked out how to put your stacking rings back on their stand. You have worked out how to make the wheels turn on your toys that go places. You can get onto your hands and knees from sitting, and then rock backwards and forwards. Sometimes you leapfrog forwards. You push yourself backwards, you swivel round and round on your tummy. Just today though, the elusive forward crawling motion was suddenly a step closer. You worked out you must move one leg at a time. And then you started moving your hands too. You must only be days away.

Our days, yours and mine, are filled with smiles, tickles, laughs, toys, songs, stories and games. Your newest game is clapping your hands. At first I thought you were dancing with your arms. You thought it was hillarious and laughed and laughed and laughed. Then I realised, you were trying to clap. Except your arms moved up and down and your hands did’t always meet in the middle. You still think it’s funny, but you’ve nearly cracked it.

You’ve also figured out how to wave. If you hear the words “say bye”, you lift your hand and give a wave just like the Queen’s. Sometimes, if you want someone to leave, you’ll wave at them out of the blue. It can be a little embarrassing.

You still eat very, very little. But we still sit down at least three times a day and try. The spoon aversion has gone, and you no longer only take a metal tea spoon. You will eat pear, which I steam with cinammon, and purée. Mixed with apple or mango it’s o k. But should I try to feed you anything else you look convinced I’ve betrayed you. Anything with bits in it makes you sick. So, we’re still on purees.

I’m enjoying your new-found affection for me. In the morning when you see me after waking up, you want the biggest cuddles. When you’re trying to crawl and it gets too tiring, you want to rest your head on me for a while. When something or someone frightens or saddens you, you want to throw your arms around my neck. I feel like the luckiest person in the world when you do.

Party Planning

WE ARE off to a first birthday next Sunday. It’s the first one, the first party for one of Milin’s baby friends. And it’s got me thinking about when our own Little Mister reaches his first birthday. What shall we do?

It’s more than four months away and he won’t remember it, but I feel like it’s terribly important that we get it right. I want to celebrate. I want to make him laugh, and smile, and spend a day being incredibly happy as everything is going his way. Granted, he spends most days laughing, smiling, and being incredibly happy – but surely on his birthday I can manage to edge things up a bit? Whether it’s because he gets to play with wrapping paper (which I’m guessing he’ll love because he loves chewing newspaper), or because he gets sung silly songs to (which he already loves), or because he picks up on the atmosphere that something special is happening around him – it’s terribly important. (To me.)

I want to make the Little Mister happy every day, but on that day at the end of this year I want to try even harder. And, going back to that other thing, I want to celebrate. We will have made it to one year. Phew.

New Year’s Eve. How lovely it is to look forward to it now.

So, the Little Mister’s first birthday is already occupying my thoughts. What shall we do? Where? Who shall come? What about the invites? It wasn’t so long ago planning like this took on a life of its own and became all consuming. That was for our wedding. So is it too much? For a little boy who is just going to be one and will never know the lengths we went to? Of course not.

 

Come to think of it, we could just get the Little Mister a new stainless steel bowl for his birthday. This one from the kitchen is his current favourite toy. It’s a teething aide, musical drum and mirror all in one.

On the other end of the toy scale – we scored this with our Fly Buys points – before deciding to move back to London. Of course we can’t take it with us. In the meantime, we’ve just started putting the Little Mister in it this week. He loves being wheeled around. I can’t believe he’s already big enough for it.