Despite early promising signs, including your freakishly brilliant ability to stand…and then sit…there has been no walking.
To be fair, it’s been a busy month, social calendar duties, visits to family, preparations for anniversary of Squirty Out The Clacker Day (as opposed to Squirty Up The Clacker Day, being anniversary of transfer of your embryonic self from ice cube tray to …well… to me.)
And of course, you are my child after all and anyone who knows me can reliably set their clock by the hours I shall be late for any appointment, meeting, milestone or (ahem) wedding they may have arranged with me.
Of course, as if to prove that all you required was the correct encouragement, you managed to take a step or two for Aphwa (Grandmother) in Newcastle and then you practically skipped around the room for your Aunty N in Sydney. Still, I am absolutely confident that in the next week and a half the Real Walking Shall Begin.
This is because for some stupid reason your father and I decided to leave the video camera back in Sydney. Yes, that camera that has been dogging your every move, recording your crazy rock and roll bouncing, your obsessive twirling of the loungeroom chairs, your nude, après bath racing in front of the heater. IT IS NO LONGER IN THE HOUSE. Feel free to bust some moves and then laugh at your silly sad unprepared parents.
Perhaps in compensation for non-walking, you do like to sit with your legs outstretched and then spin yourself around on your bottom. It’s as if you hate to miss out on any action and hence the 360 degree viewing. You also love to clap hands, you love to shout eh! Eh! EH!, you love to roll a ball and indeed be helped to kick it and you deeply deeply love your grandparents' dog Jimmy.
Of course you love Aphwa and Poppy too but they don’t let you pull their tail or poke your finger into their eyes. Jimmy seems to allow all this, sighing a little and perhaps rolling over if the fingernails get too sharp. Gentle with Jimmy, we cry, GENTLE! And you laugh quietly to yourself and then gently taste his toenails.
That night we had your first birthday party, just a weeny one. Nanny Annie’s daughter and baby grandson came to play and Aunty K brought a birthday cake which doubled as her trial wedding cake. Aunty K, who is undertaking an extensive investigation of the mudcake genre, decided that white chocolate mudcake with raspberries was a lovely birthday cake but not a suitable wedding cake. Her gruelling search continues.
Your second First Birthday Party was in Sydney, amongst the loving rough and tumble of your Three Big Cousins aka the Naughty Nephews. I could tell they were delighted to see you because NN1 softly ruffled your hair and gave you the sweetest and gentlest of cuddles, NN2 pointed his Harry Potter wand and at you and invoked all the Unspeakable Curses but then later was spotted hugging you, quite firmly, which effectively counters all Evil Spells, and NN3, he who has loved you since you were a bulge in my belly, allowed his new mouse to crawl over your head.
At the party there were people we hadn’t seen for a while, babies who had all grown since we disappeared to Country Town and….an enormous Number One Cake iced in pink and studded with FOUR PACKS of Smarties made by Aunty N with decorative assistance from nephews, Uncle K and Dadda.
Finally, after a lengthy drive, we returned to Country Town and a third First Birthday Party. The loungeroom was decorated with streamers and birthday flags, the back yard held more surprises and an extremely excited little Girl, three year old Miss P, helped with the proceedings. There’s a SANDPIT she squealed. A SANDPIT! Shhh said her parents, it’s a secret. She nodded and pressed her lips firmly together for a second. And there’s a SWING!!! There was also another beautiful birthday cake for you to blow the candle out (or to be assisted…It’s a CANDLE!!!) and because it was very late in the evening, a piece set aside for the next day for you to sample.
A year ago I saw you for the first time and it shocked me, your bright peering eyes searching my face across my still swollen belly.
It has been one year of broken sleep and mush brain, one year of fighting for time… to write, to work, to heal, to exercise, to love your father, to do all the things that scream to be done. One year of feeling my body age and stretch and recognizing that it has changed forever and not in a good way either.
But it has also been a year of joy, and of love, of watching you grow and laugh and reach out for your Mama and Dadda, of hearing your voice and feeling the incredible softness of your skin and your hair (as well as the incredible sharpness of your fingernails).
And it has been, above all the crazy events of this year, all the stress and heartaches, the worries and struggles, a Year Of You.
Happy First Birthday my baby boy.
May this next year be full of magic and happiness...
... of joy and of learning
....and always, always, of love.
Your very own