Bella kept me up all of last night. She’s constipated, so I pretty much spent most of the night letting her in and out the house to drag her sore bottom around on the lawn for 20 minutes at a time. (Bella is a dog, for those wondering why I would assist a small human in using my grass as an arsehole scratcher at 2 am*)
Excellent way to open a story, I realise, but the point I’m trying to make is that last night brought back so many memories of your first few months. Of setting my alarm every 3 hours to breastfeed you, change your bum and clothes and rock you to sleep. I’ve forgotten about just how broken I was in those early days, and just how much you needed me to literally keep you alive during the night.
Fast forward a year and your dad and I had to wake you from your deep slumber at five past seven this morning. Eventually, we roused you with a badly rendered version of ‘Happy Birthday’ to which you responded with bed hair and a skew smile.
You are one today.
One year of memories that I can’t even begin to touch on, but let me try.
The 5th of May 2015 was the happiest day of my life. Those 4 days in hospital passed in a blur of people, photos, tears, laughs, gifts and heart-stopping joy. And then we brought you home and the family engulfed you in their love. Four months of maternity leave meant 24/7 bonding and addiction. I could (and did) watch you for hours on end, took you everywhere with me, to baby massage, baby reflexology, gym, lunches and even a couple of bottomless champagne days with the girls. For 4 months I made hundreds of cups of tea and coffee for the endless stream of visitors, washed a never ending stock of bottles and changed a lifetime of nappies. You smiled at 4 weeks, rolled at 11, lost all your hair and grew some back like Baldy Man. We did a newborn shoot, and 6 week shoot and I broke my Instagram on your sweet, sweet smile. Your eyes stayed blue and your face stayed beautiful and your character grew daily.
Then I went back to work and realised that I was OK with that. You started at crèche and teacher Anne and Akhona loved you like I did. They still do, all your teachers and their (much better) rendition of Happy Birthday when I dropped you off this morning left me grinning but you not quite sure.
At 5 months you popped a tooth, and another one and then you had 4. By then you were sitting and sliding and I knew my days of ‘relaxing’ were limited. You had visited the bush house, the dam and been on your fair share of dinner dates as well.
In December you started crawling and chose a time when the whole family was together to do so. You spent most of your Summer months naked and in water and are still happiest when doing both.
I remember being exhausted when you were about 7 months, it was a hectic time for all of us. Thanks for still loving me even when I was snappy and grumpy.
You’ve been standing for ages now, but unless supported by an object are still too scared to take that first step.
Your curiosity for life amazes me every day. You still startle and then grin when you see your reflection, and still howl like an injured duck when I pluck you from the bath.
Eventually that 5th tooth popped and you started sleeping again.
You’ve been to triathlons and the beach and running races and cycling events. You’ve wormed your way onto guest’s laps at a wedding and drunk their champagne. You still have so much more to explore.
You are cheeky, and fierce and have that second child syndrome, even though you’re my first.
We gave you a chocolate cupcake this morning and you hated it. But I’m sure the Flings I packed for your class party will go down a treat as they always do.
Carter, happy first birthday my magical boy. Keep smiling, keep challenging me and keep being fascinated by the world.
I love you, so so much.