First birthday

“I can’t believe how little she was!”

That was the most commonly uttered phrase in our house over the last two weeks. Why? Because it was our little baby’s 1st birthday and we were looking back at old photos.

Babies develop so quickly over the first year and each stage seems to last forever, but in a blink it’s over, and it’s hard to comprehend how so much change could be packed into a year.

I look down at a photo of her laid asleep looking tiny in a cot, then look up to see her standing on tip toes stretching to reach a third shelf that I was sure was out of reach.

I see a shot of her breastfeeding nestled on my chest in those first few days when I wasn’t sure she was getting enough. Here she is now gleefully shoving raspberries into her mouth.

I remember talking to her looking for those initial responses, and here she is solemnly handing me objects to hold for her and babbling back to me.

There were times when the year was tough, when it felt like she’d never stop crying and the sleep deprivation was biting. But the human brain is a remarkable organ, and the bad bits get airbrushed and smoothed out. The memories that stand out are the joys of that first smile, the contentment of a baby asleep on you, the first crawl on grass.

We didn’t have a big party to celebrate, or get her a lot of presents but on her actual birthday I got her a helium balloon and a puff pastry cream cake. I felt I should probably have made her a sugar free healthy cake, but I was short on time, and I figured it’s not everyday.

It was probably the first cake she’s had, and after an initial exploratory lick from her finger she loved it and dove in head first deciding hands were just slowing her down.

At the weekend my parents came over and she got some new toys: a push along crocodile, a crocodile puzzle and a hammer bench which she really enjoyed hitting, although we also got a few whacks.

We went to a local cafe The Garden Room in Malahide with close family. She sat at the head of the table in a high chair and loved the attention. It’s a nice bright airy cafe so there was plenty for her to look at, and the staff were amazing.

I had a potato rosti with avocado and tomato which I shared a bit with her.

Then we had a big Victoria sponge for the table. It worked out cheaper than buying several slices, and we had the added gun of cutting it ourselves. She had a small slice and loved it. She kept taking a bite then doing this excited wiggle and giggle in her chair.

After all that sugar she was super excited, and quite sticky, so we took her home for a calming bath, and granny read her a book before bed.

Then we opened a nice bottle of prosecco and looked through old photos exclaiming once more “can you believe how much she’s grown! “

It wasn’t a big fancy celebration, and she won’t remember it, but I really enjoyed marking it in some way, and I look forward to looking back at these photos again next year to see what changes another year will bring in the blink of an eye.

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