Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Letter To A One Year Old Afterimage

Darling Tricky

A year? Truly? Are you crazy?

Surely it’s actually been ten years?

Or three seconds?

Or the blink of a curious eye fringed with long dark lashes?

But there it is. You are One.

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.

On the day of your birthday you were in Newcastle visiting Poppy and Aphwa and of course Ever Patient Jimmy. It was bitterly cold but the sky was a brilliant blue and the sun shone all day. You hung out in cafes and played with your Aunty K and also Nanny Annie who bought you a yellow puppet which was both alluring and deeply deeply creepy as puppets often are.

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.

You however, enjoyed it immensely.
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.
The mice are newish pets for the nephews who dote on their every sniffling whisker. In this moment, NN3 brought together two things he loved very much. It was a beautiful moment indeed, but a little short lived, due to Nutino’s natural agility and your mother’s slight squeamishness at the sight of a rodent running over her baby’s hair.

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.
Alongside the iced ducky and Number One biscuits, it was an impressive spread, almost frightening. I didn’t think that such an enormous cake could disappear in a few hours but of course I had not factored in the combination of grownups, champagne and a Nigella Lawson recipe.

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.
It really has been a year.

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.
I remember asking your father to take you and watching him carry you around the room, his face aglow.
I remember the heavy rain as we tried to leave the hospital with you wrapped up, warm and sleepy.
I remember the fairy like ambience of our warm house as we arrived with three excited little boys, freshly bathed and waiting with bright eyes and smiles to see their tiny cousin for the first time.

I remember how, in those first days, my body heavy and exhausted with the aftermath of your arrival, I kept seeing your face around me, in the pattern of light on the ceiling, the swirl of blankets on my bed, the two eye shaped marks in the wood grain on the cabinet that holds your clothes and nappies.
It was like an afterimage of my first sight of you, the image of your face burned into my brain, a sudden bright flash after all those waiting years of darkness. I’m so glad that I wrote about this at the time because now, a year later, the blankets are just blankets, the pattern of light on the ceiling is just that. But when I look at those two marks in the wood, I remember, and I see your eyes staring back at me and I see your face again as it was, in that miraculous, extraordinary moment when you finally came to us.

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.
And what that really means, when it comes down to it, is that it has also been the Best Year Of My Life.

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


Em said...

Happy Birthday, Tricky. It doesn't seem possible that a year has passed.

I'm tearing up just thinking of M's upcoming birthday.

JW said...

Just as that post you wrote for Tricky's actual birth day brought me to tears, so did this one. You write so beautifully.

Happy Birthday little Tricky !

Nico said...

Happy, happy birthday, little Tricky! I also cannot believe that it's been a whole year already. It feels like it was all just yesterday. But what an amazing, incredible time since then. And I have so enjoyed sharing it with you, through your perfectly crafted prose. Happy year to you, too, Ova Girl.

shalini akhil said...

happy birthday tricky! and thanks, OG, for sharing your milestones with us.

granny p said...

xxxx to all of you. That's all. love penelope

Anonymous said...

wow! A flipping YEAR!!!
Happy Birthday, Tricky!

Fantastic post and seriously yummy looking cakes. mmmmmm!


Anonymous said...

Happy Happy Birthday Tricky!

What a lovely post, OG.

Now tell me, where can I find the recipe for the #1 cake? I have Wills 1st birthday coming up on Friday & I would LOVE to make him that!

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday Tricky!

Hard to believe that so many of us have babies coming up on a year old now. Not bad for a bunch of infertile chicks.

And I'm totally stealing that one cake idea for our party next week.

Anonymous said...

I know everything changes when the dream becomes real. It is a grand validation to see your rendition of it.

May the best years of your life go on and on Ova Girl.

Happy Birthday Tricky.

Thalia said...

blast you woman, you always make me cry!

Happy birthday tricky, you are worth everything your parents went through.

Lut C. said...

Wow, 3 whole birthday parties!
Happy birthday to your little boy :-)

Dramalish said...

Happy Birthday, beautiful little man... your Mama is an extraordianary woman with an amazing talent.

Many happy returns. :)

I keep forgetting where you live. Imagine my shock to see Tricky in a sweater when it's hot as Hades around here. :P

I *still* remember Squirty Up the Clacker Day. Hilarious!

Unknown said...

Congratulations and Happy Birthday to Tricky.

It's funny how babies seem to lie around doing nothing for ever and ever and then you blink and suddenly they're sitting up and crawling and walking and feeding themselves and communicating with you - and you think 'Where did my baby go so soon?'

For those of us with fertility problems the speed at which they grow up is particularly sad as we know that we are unlikely to ever have the chance to experience each milestone again. Our experiences with our kids are over so quickly and will never come again. Believe me when I tell you that having multiples does not make this loss any easier as all of them tend to hit the same milestones at about the same times (and anyway you get a bit jaded - ‘Oh my God – Ava’s walking! What a clever girl! ’ – becomes - ‘Oh, look, Jonty’s walking. What’s for dinner?’ – becomes – ‘Damn, I just knocked Lonan over.’)

On the up side - it was always my intention to stop my own blog once our kids turned one. I figured that by then they’d have stopped being cute and would have done all the interesting development. As so often happens – I was wrong. Twice.

a) They’re still cute (at least I think so)
b) They’ve still got lots of interesting development to go. In fact it’s getting even better.
c) The blog is still worth writing for me. Like you, if I hadn’t written about events as they happened then they would already be fading away in my mind, pushed out by the immediate demands on my memory space by day to day life. I will never have another baby and am thankful that I will have the blog to remind me of things which would otherwise be gone forever in a few years.

(Oops, seems I was wrong three times. Once for each kid. How nice…)

So, I shall continue to blog, if only for my own amusement. And I hope you do too. You are articulate and amusing and Tricky is very lucky to have you as a mother. Best wishes to your whole family and congratulations again on your first year.

P.S – sorry for climbing on my soapbox in your comments area…

Mari said...

Your words have brought tears to my eyes..what a year it has been! Congratulations!
Happy 1st Birthday Tricky!

Anonymous said...

Happy belated birthday sweet Tricky!

Best year of your life - until next! It's truly amazing isn't it? Lovely post - lovely cakes!

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday, Happy Year, Happy Everything Baby Tricky! You are perfection. xoxoxoxox

Anonymous said...

thankyou, lovely comments from lovely folk. It was a great day...

WonderMama said...

Happy Birthday Gorgeous Boy!!!!

And happy BIRTHday to you, funny, sweet Ovagirl!