It’s Barry’s first birthday – can you believe it ? It seems only yesterday that he was being pushed out in his ‘gentle Caesarean’and travelling to his new home after just 23 hours. Those first days were so precious. There’s nothing like that tiny little cuddle and the smell of a newborn. It was such a treat to be head cook and bottle washer. Honesty, I’ve never been much of a housekeeper – I’d love a tidy home if only I could be bothered to do the work – but for those first days, I cleaned, washed and vacuumed like it was going out of style.
The first year
The months that followed saw life change for all of us. From the early days, we were called on to babysit for the odd hour or two. That first time was totally nerve wracking – what if he woke up and I couldn’t settle him? What if I dropped him? I’ve raised two fit and healthy adults for heavens sake – what was the matter with me! I went for total immersion. Since Miriam was really good at sharing and asking for help, I’d soon cleaned up the first big poo-ey nappy, changed his clothes and got him off to sleep. Then I could rest back, cuddle and adore.
As he began to respond the fun increased and the first smile was – well I don’t know how to describe it – ‘magic’ is probably the closest. Sitting up on the rug by the fire, squealing and laughing in the baby bouncer, building up and knocking down the pile of bricks together – each time we saw him there was another little magic moment to melt my heart.
Why on earth was I going to Kathmandu?
At the beginning of the year, we were due to go travelling for six weeks to Nepal and Bhutan. It had seemed like a good idea at the time but, as the days ticked by, I wondered why on earth I was going. Barry recognised us now, he was quite happy to be handed over and he was just about to crawl. And I was leaving! Waving out of the car window, knowing he’d have forgotten us by the time we got back, was horrible.
And he crawled just three days after we arrived in Kathmandu!
We were kept going with face time calls, pictures and videos. I have to say that pictures on the phone wallpaper are a nice idea – and gutting. Every time I stopped to take a picture of some beautiful scene, there was Barry smiling, bringing tears to my eye
When we arrived home, Barry was away on holiday – how tough is that! At least it gave us a bit of time to get sorted – not only emptying everything into the washing machine, but moving precious items out of reach, installing the stairgate and covering plugs.
Then they were back. Clinging to Mummy, he just looked. I could see the cogs turning over – ‘I might know these people………………’. We had decided to just let him be until he had adjusted to these two new folk. So we just sat on the floor, catching up with Mum and Dad, smothered by the dogs and waited. Not sure how I stopped myself grabbing a cuddle, but it was worth it. Before too long he was joining in with the dogs and climbing all over us. Happy days!!
And now he’s one
And life has changed again. Now he lives over the road and we can wave from the bedroom window. He often pops in, which has put paid to any attempt at Homes and Gardens – another blow to my fantasy of a tidy, blonde, beautiful home. Now the mantelpiece is a clutter of fascinating, but breakable bits and pieces from low down and the toys are slowly taking over.
His Tuk Tuk is remarkably bulky but such good fun we couldn’t resist; the Bhutanese Yak Bells got tied to his baby walker until we found a better place, but now we all enjoy their sonorous clanging as he walks; the elegant glass dining table is constantly smeared with yoghourt (he does love Granny’s homemade yoghourt!), while his chubby little knees are determined to show up my poor housekeeping! And I wouldn’t change a thing. I’ve always loved that quote about ‘boring women having tidy homes’ – it gives me a good reason not to sweep the floor. So maybe now I’ll hold out for ‘sloppy grannies get more visits’.
Barry’s big day
Miriam always said that first birthdays are for the parents. And Barry’s face when we stuck a stick of fire
into a lump of sweet stuff and starting singing at him said it all.
The party was just as good. I think Barry had a good time. But I know the extra strong bouncy castle and large ball pit went down a treat with the grownups. And the Aperol spritz and rainbow cake shaped like a block of cheese (cause that’s his favourite food) did me fine!
This NCT family
The NCT joint birthday party was another lovely day. I love it when families get together and the adults share responsibility. I have such fond memories of group cycling holidays in Holland, when adults surreptitiously shuffled position in the peloton to take on a different tired kid – it’s amazing how they perk up for someone who isn’t Mum or Dad!
So I loved seeing Barry take his bottle from another Mummy. He got stories for different Dads and used any old leg to pull up on. Not a whinge was heard – everyone just mucked in. Except for the poo-ey nappies of course: anyone could spot the smell, but the deed itself was definitely down to Mum and Dad!
Year one has been a blast and we’ve loved every minute of it. You’re set fair for year two – plenty of
friends; two sets of adoring grandparents and a Mum and Dad to die for.
So rock on darling, Granny and Grandad are right behind you.