Photo by A Badenhop

Tomorrow Molly is officially one.

This time last year, I was the size of whale, eating lots of curry, drinking my raspberry leaf tea and walking the streets trying to get my body to go into labour.

In fact the last thing I did before I gave birth was buy a teddy bear, and have a cup of tea and a red velvet cupcake at Pattison’s in Chatswood before going to hospital.  I was actually in labour at the time, so I can’t say I enjoyed the cupcake all that much, but I was excited about finally meeting our baby!

We had a very small party to celebrate on the weekend.  It’s different with a second child though.

When you have your first baby, their first birthday is all about saying ‘We made it!’ because, let’s face it, the first year with a baby can be a pretty big shock to the system and the first birthday party is the light at the end of the tunnel.

But second time round, I haven’t felt that at all.  There’s never been that sense of it being difficult or something to struggle through.  Instead, I feel sad that my first year with Molly is drawing to a close.  How can it be over already?  Where are all the photos I should have taken?  I don’t want her to turn one!  I love having a baby in the house, but soon my beautiful baby won’t be a baby any more and there’s nothing I can do to slow down the clock!

So I want to share with you some of the things I’ve enjoyed about Molly’s first year.

–       Just the other day my husband reminded me that Molly came to us at the end of a very dark time personally, and she really has brought joy and light back into our lives.

–       Babies spread joy wherever they go.  People become a lot nicer when you go places with a baby.  Whether it’s at the supermarket, or walking around the city, everybody smiles at you when you have a baby!

–       A baby brings the family together.  We spent the weekend celebrating not just Molly’s birthday, but also the christening of my godson, Callum.  In both cases it was lovely to see the way a baby brings family and dear friends together.  My family and friends are very spread out, but whenever there’s a birth or a christening or a first birthday party, people make an effort to be there!

–       A baby makes you slow down and live in the moment.  You have to put the baby’s needs first.  Sometimes that just means holding them while they fall asleep, or cuddling them when they’re feeling sick.  There’s something about meeting another person’s physical needs that puts everything else into perspective.

–       A baby reminds you of who you are and who you really want to be.  You don’t really know each other yet but from their very first day you’re helping to form their character.  Having a baby inspires me to want to be more patient, more kind, more compassionate, more considerate and more loving, in the hope that I can not only be a better parent but also to try to model good things to my children.  (It doesn’t always happen, but it gives me a reason to try!)

As much as it’s lovely having a baby, it’s also exciting to see more of their personality emerging. 

The other day, Molly was clowning around at the dinner table, trying to make us all laugh.  It was really fun to see her interacting with the rest of the family like that!  It’s exciting to see her becoming her own little person.  She’s also decided now that she’s a big one year old that she wants to feed herself!  We saw the first signs of a tantrum about this just yesterday.  I’m not quite so excited about tantrums and toilet training and climbing out of the cot, but I remind myself that they’re all steps on the pathway to independence!

Happy first birthday Molly, my darling.   You are beautiful, precious and very much loved!