At 7:46 yesterday, we were headed to German dance, with our daughter. At 7:46 last year we were headed to the hospital, ready to meet our baby squidly. It didn’t go unnoticed, and it was a weird feeling; to so strongly have a sense of time passing.
She woke up at 00:01 and I went in to rock her back to sleep. I held her until 14 after, the minute she was born. I sang her happy birthday, and brought her to her Daddy to get a birthday kiss. I placed her back to sleep, snuck out of her room, and bawled my eyes out. Which of course woke her up completely, so I played with her a bit to soothe her. After all, it is her birthday. It was hearing her giggle, and then snuggle up to me with a book that put me at ease. She was doing okay. I was doing okay. We made it a whole year! We are raising a happy, loving, spunky, little human.
Happy Birthday Squidly. Mammi loves you.
This was written two days before my daughter’s actual birthday, when she officially turned 52 weeks. The above was written today, the day my daughter officially turned one year old.
Okay, deep breath. You can do this.
52 Weeks. 364 Days Old. My daughter is one. year. old.
Cue tears. Let’s try again.
Even those numbers are correct as I’m writing this, she’s not OFFICIALLY one year old until her birthday. I have two more days. For now. I will revel in her being my almost one year old. I can do this.
People ask me, bluntly, often rudely, how it happened, and do I regret it? As if somehow it was even remotely possible to regret this amazing, sweet, mischievous, incredibly happy, bundle of joy that has entered my life. Plus, if it were, would I admit it to you, rude acquaintance? No. And no, I do not regret anything. I never will.
People ask me about how it was to have an accidental pregnancy. A friend who knows the situation well retorted once with “It was a spontaneous decision, not a planned accident.” I didn’t slip and fall on a banana peel, and we knew that if we moved forward I was almost certain to get pregnant. It was a year earlier than we planned. We changed the plan. Not an accident. So I don’t know how it feels to have an accidental pregnancy. Moving on.
I lived separate from A for the first 5 months of my pregnancy. It was interesting, it was tough, and it probably wasn’t the smartest decision for either of us. But it was the best decision for all of the people we shared homes with. It meant I wasn’t alone when he worked an 80 hour week. We didn’t get to figure out what it was like to live as a couple just as us. Maybe that would have made it easier, or maybe the change would have been even harder. It was what we did, and it worked out. We lived together eventually. We bought a house together, recently. We share a house. We are building our home.
My pregnancy itself wasn’t that difficult. I had another, still non-diagnosed, issue. It’s what allowed me to find out I was pregnant before 4 weeks. It’s also what stopped me from working enough to get mat. leave, and made it so I spontaneously couldn’t walk at times. I had a few breakdowns. I felt alone, as a young mother, but not a teen, I feel massively left out. My sister is 9 years older than me, and so her group of friends (some of whom were my “big sisters” growing up), mostly have and were having small children. That was a saving grace. One of the midwives on my “team” was out to get me. She called a social worker on me for missing 2 appointments (I take a bus. It is hard to catch a bus while pregnant.) That does not mean I will be an unfit mother. I didn’t look pregnant for a long time and that bummed me out. I was happy to be pregnant. Proud of the journey I was on. I wore belts just to make my bump stand out. At 7 months I could still hide my belly with ease. There’s a lot more on my pregnancy, but that’s not what this post was going to be about.
This is it’s own thing. It’s own long, emotional post. But:
Best day, worst 3 days.
Stupid midwives, worse nurse.
She looked up at me with the biggest navy blue eyes, moved her head right to my breast, and we were one again. I was a mother. The indescribable moment had arrived. I can’t describe it either. I was never the same again.
First 3 months – I remember nothing. Cluster-feeding. Never sleeping. Constant worry and fear. Content. Thankful for family and for freezer meals. No newborn clothes, but she was a newborn size, which suprised everyone. I took a picture everyday. I only left her for Star Wars. Of course I did.
I do remember the first time she wanted something. Not just eat/sleep/poo/repeat. She wanted a toy. She grabbed for it, a giraffe we named Polka. I thought – WOW – this is a human. This is a human with wants not just needs. A brain, and a heart. I created a human. I cried. I’ll never get rid of that giraffe.
4 months. She sings to Adele. I sing to her. Sitting up and big smiles. My big girl. 99% & 95. Still and forever sleeping on my shoulder. A slightly flat head and a very full tummy.
6 months. A big change in personality. It’s here, and we can feel her spirit. She’s got it. So happy, all the time. We’re never not thankful for that. A first tooth, carrots and more carrots, swimming and Sudbury.
9 months. More teeth, more milestones. More food. I feel like I’m trying to pause everything so we can move and then life can continue. It doesn’t work like that. She just keeps growing. I start hobbies so I can remember what it feels like to be an adult again. To be by myself. In a large group of supportive, amazing, tough women. More on that eventually.
10 months. The last picture in the old house (for her month by month). Sad we had to leave on such a sour note. Wondering how she’ll adjust. She was just fine. There’s infinite room for her now. A whole house to explore. She regressed a bit in her amazing eating habits. These next teeth are taking a LONG time to surface. We try pouches, and she’s hooked. At least it’s nutrition.
11 months. Trying not to co-sleep. She’s in a crib for naps, and as much of the night as we can. Making her stand up by herself (she’s known how for months but is stubborn and won’t. In making her stand by herself I realize – she also knows how to walk. How did she hide that!?)
She can walk. She eats real food, and prefers a regular cup to anything “sippy”, but in a pinch she’ll steal your water bottle. Cookies are her best friend. She nods her head no! and then does whatever naughty thing you told her not to. But then she smiles, and laughs, and your heart is melted. She is smart. Too smart sometimes. She can WALK UP TO ME. She demands things. She will push you out of the way to see what you’re doing. She must be involved in every conversation. She always wants to share whatever she can hold. But she always wants you to share too. She tries to dress herself. She helps dress herself quite well. She LOVES books. She loves Daddy best. She loves me too. She cries when Omi (my mom) hangs up the phone. She is becoming a little person and I don’t know what to do with myself.
I have a one year old. In her, I can see my whole family. I see the smug faces of my brother, the unimpressed looks of my sister, the bounce in her step of my mom. She has the little crooked charm that belongs to her Daddy and his brother. The golden curls soon to straighten that we all share. She is so us. Our third little fire sign. Our little archer. Our Squidly.
I love her so much it legitimately takes my breath away. When she sleeps in my arms, the world stops just for a moment; When she nuzzles me, grabs hold of my legs and looks up to smile, when she runs away from her pants, when she holds up her books for me to read when she holds her hand out to offer whatever she has to you. My heart slows. Time feels as if it is standing still and I try my best to breathe it in.
It’s true that they grow up too fast. But each new stage holds something amazing and sweet. I lost her baby grunts and gurgles, but I gained some personality.
I’m a not-so-new first time mom. I have a one year old. Well, okay then.