Her birthday celebrations are done and dusted, and now our SB is a year old. It’s hard to believe the emotions associated with this milestone; the realisation that our baby girl has been in the world and in our lives for a whole year!
In terms of her development, I feel like we’ve seen another big leap from where she was a month ago.
This is where we appear to be at a standstill. We talk to SB all the time, and do everything the books and websites suggest, but she isn’t having any of it. We’ve got ‘Hiya’ nailed, and she associates it with waving now, which is great. Dada is sorted, although she doesn’t really know who dada is, but we’re having real difficulty with ‘Mama’. I’ve never seen her actually put her lips together and make a proper ‘mmm’ sound, so it’s something I’ll be talking to the Health Visitor about. We’re teaching her a lot of technical terms bilingually, so when she points to our mouth, we say ‘Ceg’ first, followed by ‘Mouth’, so she gets it in English and Welsh. She’s getting very good at responding to verbal cues – when she hears ‘Oh no!’ she puts her hands on her head like the Scream painting! She also instantly recognises ‘If You’re Happy and You Know It’, and starts dancing and clapping. She definitely understands what ‘No’ means, and takes great joy in ignoring it entirely.
We’re down to two bottles a day now – one in the morning, one before bed – and the decision to drop the middle bottle was one that she made for us. She was refusing a lot of her food, but now we’ve dropped the bottle, she eats so well. We’re transitioning onto cow’s milk, which I’m a little nervous about, but SO ready to say goodbye to bottles and formula now! SB is a little food fiend – the staff at nursery have commented on how it’s amazing she’s so tiny, the amount of food she puts away – but she just takes after her Daddy in that respect. She can be a little thief at times – cake, sausage rolls and various other foods have been swiped from under our noses by her grubby little fists, and vanished into her mouth before we can say anything. As you can tell from the picture, she was in heaven on Easter morning!
We are getting closer and closer to unaided walking by the day. Tonight she managed to stand up by herself (albeit very wobbly) for a second or two. The problem we have is that she finds it absolutely hilarious when she falls over, and goes out of her way to do so. She’s cruising everywhere, but often prefers crawling – if she realises someone is chasing her, she very quickly speeds up. In terms of fine motor skills, she takes me by surprise every day. She stacks rings onto a ring pyramid with ease, holds her toy phone to her hear, honks the horn on her little truck – she’s really starting to make the connections between an action and a result.
My squidgy newborn gets further away by the day, replaced by a little person, who will sometimes be my best friend, and sometimes my sworn nemesis. She’s starting to explore the world of tantrums, which is great fun for us, and may have yet more teeth coming through (welcome back to Hell, basically!). Most of the time, though, she’s a little sweetie, using her puppy dog eyes to the best of her ability, turning on the smile when she needs it most, and laughing at things just because we’ve laughed at them.
Her likes are… ‘interesting’, let’s put it that way. A sure-fire way of making her giggle is to sniff her feet, and proclaim how stinky they are. The other day she gave me the big, sad puppydog eyes, crawled over to me, pulled herself up on my bare leg (I was in pyjama shorts at the time) and gave me the most beautiful look I’ve ever seen… before licking my leg, smiling at me and getting back down to crawl around. I’m not sure why I expected my kid to be anything but weird, but even I wasn’t prepared for this level of randomness from such a sweet, angelic little thing.
In terms of where we’re at as parents, there’s been a massive change over the last month. We’ve been growing in confidence all the time, but never had a set idea as to where we want our family to go and what we want to do next. We talked about having another baby some unspecified number of years down the line – usually five, but sometimes we flitted between more or less.
I realise now that this was to keep the people around us happy – to stop them making comments, or being annoyed, or thinking we were being feckless or stupid. The thing is, we’ll never please anyone – it’ll just never happen. I could have a baby tomorrow and there’ll be people saying how well we’ve done, and I could wait five years and have people muttering about age gaps and jealousy.
Emotionally, I am so ready for another baby, it hurts (and I’m sorry if anyone who knows me is reading this and is shocked by that – I did say it was the honest truth!). I’d love another baby right now. Physically my health isn’t good enough, but I feel like we’re starting to get there slowly. Practically, we’re not ready. We wouldn’t need to move, as bedroom tax rules mean any other child we have would be sharing with SB for the forseeable regardless. I need to be working, and have established myself at work. D needs to have finished his dissertation next year. We need to make sure SB is ready.
So has SB’s birthday made me long for the newborn days again (I must be mad!)? is there another baby on the horizon? The simple answer is yes, but don’t expect any announcements this side of 2016. Ask me again in the new year – right now I think I need a little longer to forget all the morning sickness, aching joints, chronic tiredness, anxiety, nightmares, being the size of a house…