On the day you were born, the anaesthetist held you up and told your Dad and I we have a daughter. I remember looking at the clock on the wall and it was 10:50am. I felt so overwhelmed with happiness, beaming with pride and sheer relief that you had arrived safely. Those first few hours when I could lift you with one hand, even though the midwife kept telling me to call her when I need to pick you up…those moments seem like a lifetime away now. Those newborn days felt like an eternity to me, filled with ups and downs. I couldn’t see any light and I never even contemplated that the teething would pass and we would still be battling with sleep deprivation (my old friend) but you would be turning two years old.
I can’t even bear writing those three words…two.years.old. I know I should be elated at reaching our second year of parenting, of winging it without doing something really stupid – but I’m a little sad. At the one year mark, you were still a baby but now you’re most definitely a toddler. You’re walking and chatting away every waking second of the day – I try to work out which words mean what but we both know that just today I thought you said ‘poo poo’ when you actually said ‘football’.
It’s been almost a year since we threw you a big first birthday party, and life has been on fast forward ever since. Every week, your brother will come to stay and mention that you have grown a lot since the past few days he saw you. You keep going from strength to strength, but I almost want to pause life just for a second so I can enjoy the cuddles, the impromptu kisses on the lips, the imaginary cuppateas, the moments where we wrap your cuddly toys in blankets. It’s those precious moments, that’s what it’s all about.
I’m sorry that I find it so challenging at times. I sometimes have to step outside the room as I don’t want you to see my tears, because I know it makes you sad too. I see you pushing the boundaries every day; what is okay for you to do and what is a definite no-no? Does Daddy have a different stance on things – always best to explore that avenue first. Sometimes with the tiredness, I forget that it’s a good thing you are wanting to know where those boundaries are; it means you are developing and growing into a little girl.
One of the things I love about you is that you do things your way. You develop a new skill, but refuse to perform it again on cue. Your assertiveness is brilliant and something I want you to hold onto always. I want you to know how proud we are of you, and how the boys and I watch everyday in fascination as you discover the world. That independence is amazing to see, even if it makes me miss the days when you wanted to cuddle with Mummy in front of CBeebies. Nowadays if those moments do crop up, I know there is a sick bug or teething round the corner!
So as we approach your second birthday, know that the sadness I feel is because we cannot freeze time, we cannot cling to those baby memories, when your cheeks were chubby and your legs as squishy as can be. As time goes on and you learn more and more each day; our lives will be full of new memories with our little toddler and I can’t wait to see what’s in store. Happy (almost) birthday my beautiful girl.
How did you feel approaching your child’s second birthday?