One year ago today, I gave birth to our second daughter, Sophia. From the moment she entered our world, she captivated both our hearts, and the hearts of those fortunate enough to meet her. Her sweet temperament, laid back personality and infectious laugh are just a few of the things we have fallen head over heels in love with over this past year.
This is a celebration of her first year.
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Has anyone seen my new baby?
I put her down on her playmat a few minutes ago (at least it felt like minutes, it was actually twelve months ago) and she’s gone! In her place, I have this super sassy, always smiling, tooth growing, almost crawling, babbling little angel who now sits up by herself and plays contentedly with her toys.
But my baby? I haven’t seen her for dust. She’s gone.
When my friends’ babies reach the ripe old age of one, I can’t help but ask them:
“Does it feel like that year has gone fast?”
Time flies when you have a baby
I almost don’t want to ask because it’s such a cliche. It’s the question everyone asks you when your baby turns one. The truth is that of course it’s gone fast. Everyone knows the first year, two years, three year, heck life itself is shuttling past at breakneck speed. But still we have to ask the question anyway:
“Do you feel like that year has gone fast?”
I’m yet to meet a mum who doesn’t answer “yes” to that question.
But it’s a strange kind of paradox.
Have you ever heard the expression ‘the days go slowly and the years fly by?’ This statement was never so true than when applied to early motherhood. The reality is that often, during this season with a new baby, it doesn’t feel like time is whizzing by. The days are looooooong. Filled with gassy babies, problems with feeding, refusal to be put down and colds. (And loads of good stuff too, but it’s the hard stuff that makes it feel like time in limping on).
But then, even though every single day feels like it’s going at snails pace, you wake up one morning and BAM. You’re little angel has turned one!
It’s one of life’s little mysteries.
Of course people ask me the same question I ask all mums when their baby turns one. And my answer is very simple:
Yes it has gone fast! So fast that I’m asking if you’ve seen my baby because twelve months has vanished right before my eyes and replaced my completely dependant, sleep avoiding, milk guzzling tiny human with a slightly larger, but even more adorable version of herself. Thankfully one who now loves sleep and makes everyone fall in love with her that she meets.
Living in the moment
Yes – it’s gone fast.
But, I didn’t miss it.
I made the decision before she was born that I was going to “live in the moment”. If you’ve been following my blog for more than 5 minutes, this is a term that you would definitely have heard from me before. It’s the closest thing to a mantra I’m gonna get.
I decided from the very outset of Sophia’s tiny life that I wasn’t going to let these precious moments slip away unnoticied, untreasured or unphotographed. Instead I resolved to suck up how rough life would get with a new baby, and take full hold of all the priceless moments that would accompany these tough bits.
I chose to fully engage with the joy-filled, memory-creating, smile-extracting wonderful, life-changing moments that can only be found alongside the exhausting, worrying, sometimes frustrating aspects of being a mum. The true treasure in the trials.
I determined that I would be present.
That I would cherish the small things, and take lots of pictures, not just on my phone, but with my heart. (Cheesy, but true!) I would watch her sleep. Hold her close. Breathe her in. I would stop. Pause. Breathe. Put my phone away and simple be.
Did you know that living in the moment is a lot harder than it sounds?
See related post: 4 Things “mum-of-two” me wishes she could say to “mum-of-one” me.
Life as a mum is super busy
Mums are BUSY. We have our hands full. And our minds. We carry around to do lists in our head like waiters carry around canapes at a wedding reception. Loads of them, and as soon as they’re finished, we replace them with new ones. These constant reminders of how much we have to get done make it almost impossible to switch off. It’s difficult to fully engage with the present, when we’re constantly being reminded of the next thing we have to check off the to do list, or the next place we have to be.
Or the next nappy we have to change.
And it doesn’t make a difference if you’re a stay at home mum, a working mum, a work from home mum, or some other breed of super mum, we’re all busy rushing around trying to get everything done. And keep everyone happy.
I feel tired just writing that. It sounds exhausting. And it is.
I made the decision not to do that, and I’ve been practising for the last twelve months.
And here we are. It’s Sophia’s first birthday, and I lived in the moments that made up the past twelve months. Three hundred and sixty five days. Eight thousand seven hundred and sixty hours. Fifty two thousand, five hundred and sixty minutes. Okay, to be fair, I did sleep for some of this time, but you get my point.
Life is made up of moments…
So I thought I’d take another pause and live in this moment. Right here. Right now. The day my youngest daughter turned one. I want to hit the pause button and soak it in. And remember all the moments that have made up the last three hundred and sixty-five days.
It’s quite possible that Sophia will be our last baby (the jury is still out on that one). This makes it even more significant that she’s just turned one and her baby days are slowly winding down. All her firsts could be the last firsts we will experience as parents.
The last first tooth
The last first giggle
The last first roll
The last first sitting up by herself.
The last first time she says ‘mama’
So many firsts, and so many lasts.
I’m so grateful for both my girls. God gave me my hearts desire when he allowed me to become a mummy. It wasn’t an easy journey to motherhood, which you can read all about it my Letter to the babies I never got to hold. But it was worthwhile.
And now my baby is turning one.
Her names literally mean ‘wisdom’ and ‘favour from God’. I can’t wait to see how she grows into these names.
She has her whole life ahead of her. The potential for what her life could be is huge. My prayer is that just like her name, her life will be full of wisdom. That she won’t just see things at face-value, but she will see how things really are, and how they could be. That she will have wisdom to choose the right paths in life, and will be someone others turn to when they’re stuck and aren’t sure which way to go.
May her life be full of the life-changing, relentless, unending goodness of God. That first and foremost she would experience His goodness for herself, and rest in it’s embrace. And secondly that her life would be characterised by her experience of it, and it would overflow to everyone she meets.
What can I tell you about Sophia?
Sophia wakes up giggling in her cot (true story) and smiles freely at most people she meets.
Her big sister, whom she adores, is her biggest source of in-house entertainment.
She shows her excitement by flapping her arms and legs frantically. The more excited she is, the more vigorously she flaps.
She’s super chilled. Whether she’s waiting for food, or simply not kicking up a storm when Zoe takes whichever toy she had been playing with. She’s also pretty happy to wake up in the morning and just chill out in her cot until one of us goes in to give her some milk.
She LOVES food. This girl will eat until you cut her off. And of all the foods, her favourite is broccoli. Yup, that’s right. Broccoli
Music makes her dance, in her own little way.
Shredding tissues is her go-to activity given half the chance.
Peekaboo is her favourite game to play.
She loves having two toys in her hands and banging them together.
She hates wearing hats, or sunglasses. (See related post How To Survive A Heatwave With A Baby – for suggestions of a few workarounds for babies who don’t like wearing these either!)
She likes turning the pages of books (whether you’ve finished reading that page or not) and lifting up all the flaps to see what’s underneath.
She’s fascinated by animals.
She wasn’t sure about ice cream the first (and only) time we let her try it. But once she recovered from the shock of the coldness, she kept coming back for more.
She loves saying “dada” on loop. Even if it’s mummy who has just walked into the room.
So many things make Sophia such a wonder. I’m sure if you’ve met her you could add some character traits of your own to this list.
But above all else, what could I tell you about this little one? She is loved.
To quote from a book Sophia received as a birthday present today (which we’ve already read together a couple of times, and used in a game of peekaboo),
“Love…” by Emma Dodd:
I love you so and when I try to count the reasons why…
…I find there are more reasons…
…than there are stars in the sky.
This past year has flown by. Fact. But I have enjoyed all the cuddles, the smiles, the baby gabbles, the hand holding, the face slapping moments along the way. I didn’t miss them! And I’m so so glad.
Sophia is the treasure in the trials of motherhood. And getting to know and love her has been my greatest privilege during this last year.
I can’t wait to see what this next year will bring.