Last week you turned one. You have been in our lives for a whole year, and those 12 months have flown by in a flurry of smiles, laughter and absolute joy at having you in our family. I am not going to pretend it hasn’t been hard at times – you are what is known in parenting circles as a ‘velcro baby’ – you want to be held and carried and cuddled all day long. Which is great, and most of the time I love it, but it’s also really HARD when your siblings need me too. When I need to work, when I need to cook dinner or just have a shower. But I know these baby days are short.
Your birthday was a quiet affair at home. I know lots of people go in for huge first birthday parties with 3 tier cakes worth hundreds of pounds and massive gatherings at soft play centres. But that’s just not us – sorry if you feel you’ve missed out, but you seemed pretty happy with your family and friends around you and a chocolate caterpillar cake.
The last month has seen you change so much. At 11 months old you had just learnt to say Mama – now you never stop saying it (and I love that). You babble and chatter all day long – to me, to your Daddy and to your siblings. You’ve become less shy, and are happy to be held by others. And you’ve got yourself up on your feet. Which makes you seem like even less of a baby than you did before. And that makes me just a little bit sad.
You’re thriving Eliza, and you make us laugh every single day – whether that’s with delight at seeing you take your first tentative steps, or with frustration as you empty the washing basket yet again, but either way you bring us happiness all the time. You are so like your siblings – you look just like Jacob, you have the same fiery determination as Gemma, and the same cheeky, mischievous look on life as Max.
And we love you.
But as we have reached the end of your first year on Earth, I have felt a sense of loss. The very last first steps. The very last first birthday. The very last time I will watch a baby of mine turn 1, learn to walk and skip, learn to talk and communicate. And I feel like I have missed so much of your first year in a fog of postnatal depression and work commitments. Of being ‘too busy’ with your brothers and sister to give you my full attention. Of being too worried about housework and washing and school runs that I have failed to appreciate your babyness.
I know you won’t remember any of this. I hope all you remember is a feeling of being so, so loved by everyone – because you truly are. You bring light to the lives of everyone you know.
Happy birthday my precious baby girl.