I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I actually have a one year old. I feel like I only sat down yesterday to write my post introducing her to the world, and now she’s essentially a toddler – and we’ve survived almost every big life change together that I could’ve imagined, as well as a global pandemic. The whole thing seems kind of surreal really, doesn’t it? I don’t think anyone could’ve predicted everything that’s happened in my first twelve months of motherhood even if they’d tried – it still feels like a plot from a poorly-written, dystopian movie – but it’s happened, and her birthday seems like the perfect time to reflect on it all.
The last life update post I wrote was back at the beginning of the year, shortly before we moved house and about six weeks before we went into lockdown. At the time, I was super stressed with everything that was happening, my mental health was a little all over the place and we were just about getting into the swing of things in terms of having a baby. Thankfully, we managed to get the majority of things sorted for the house before everything closed and for that, I’m super thankful. I don’t know how we’d have managed if the floors hadn’t been laid or the kitchen appliances hadn’t been delivered! Even now, there are a few bits here and there still missing – I still need to buy some sort of toy storage, there are a few bits for the kitchen that I still need to pick up, and I’m in desperate need of a full length mirror – but the house was liveable fairly quickly, and soon enough, we stopped leaving it altogether.
I guess it sounds kind of stupid and selfish to say, because there would never have been a good time for it to happen, and I am and will always be thankful for our health, but lockdown hit us hard. We’d just moved house, so our finances were a little all over the place, I’d just starting attending a baby group for my mental health that was held in a nursery, so that stopped super quickly, and baby was at an age where she was beginning to sit up, move around and interact with the world before it was all taken away.
Parenting during lockdown brought with it a whole different level of anxiety. Asher was six months old when we first went into lockdown, and I knew that she was at such an important developmental stage that I constantly questioned whether or not she was being stimulated enough. We’d just started weaning, and I had no idea if what I was doing was right, or why she point blank refused to open her mouth for absolutely anything. I worried about her not seeing other babies, or other adults, and how not hearing conversations was going to eventually effect her speech. I worried about her sleeping patterns and if she was going to grow overly attached to me and if she’d eventually hate everyone and everything. Almost every day brought with it a new worry.
Six months down the line, and I need not have worried at all. She loves food now, and we’re yet to find anything that she won’t eat. She loves spending time with our friends and family, and knows that she can come to me for comfort. She’s cruising furniture, and I know that her first steps aren’t far off but for the moment, she’s more than happy chasing me round the house on her hands and knees at lightening speed. She doesn’t have the best nap schedule at the moment, although cutting her top and bottom front teeth all at the same time definitely isn’t helping, but she sleeps most nights in her cot and will come into mine for a cuddle when I want it more than when she does in all honesty.
And in saying that, it’s also worth noting that it’s just me and her nowadays. She still sees her dad at weekends, but through the week, we’re a little team of two and I genuinely think we’re all happier as a result. It’s tough at times, and things like trying to shower often mean climbing in and out to pop her dummy back in while she sleeps, but I think we’re coping well.
Her birthday was an emotional one, for me at least. I feel like so much has changed in the last twelve months – we’ve encountered every big life change imaginable, and some that I never would have imagined – and her birthday felt like we were bringing that chapter to an end. I thought about writing some goals for the next twelve months, but as cliche as it sounds, if this year has taught me anything, it’s that you never knew what will happen next. I just hope that the next year is filled with happiness, for both of us, and that we both continue to grow and learn together – and if we could be allowed back safely to baby groups at some point, that would also be fabulous as well!