Baby’s first year
Crazy and wonderful, that’s how this mom describes the first year with her baby.

Last year, we hardly noticed Valentine's Day. We didn't do anything for our wedding anniversary either. I think we remembered it. At least, I hope we did. But I wouldn't be surprised if we didn't. We had a new baby on our hands and it consumed everything - our time, energy, money, enthusiasm and excitement.

This year, after I managed to get up early to make a special Valentine's breakfast and was rewarded with a lovely bunch of flowers by my husband, I realised how much had happened during the past year. Baby has turned one.  At the same time, we have gone from freaked-out adults, to hands-on parents with a whole range of new skills.
It is hard to believe that the little bundle of blankets, which apparently came with only three settings – sleep, scream and swallow – in little over a year, has developed into a little boy able to walk, run, climb onto things, dial overseas numbers, delete applications from laptop computers and change programmed settings on most electrical appliances.

He has a range of expressions and is already developing his own personality. He is speaking his first words, showing preferences for certain foods and has favourite toys and places to play.  He doesn't like water but he loves animals. Eggs are not a favourite but yoghurt is always a winner. He has a hard time falling asleep and it takes him a while to wake up too. He is impatient and appears to have a bit of temper, but he forgives and forgets easily. 

Mom as ninja

The past year has been eventful for us too. My multitasking and athletic abilities have been supernaturally enhanced. For instance, I've discovered that I'm able to jump over garden furniture and fly through the air like a ninja turtle when I see my boy running towards a swimming pool. I can now go bargain hunting with him on one hip, a cellphone stuck to my ear, while planning what to cook for dinner. This is the same person who one year ago had to turn back from the grocery aisles without milk and bread after baby started howling and I couldn't face another supermarket scream-fest.

I have found crafty ways of breastfeeding in public and have improvised and invented toys and distractions during outings. I can change a nappy on a standing and wriggling toddler within three seconds flat. I’ve learnt to go without television and to read with one eye on the page while the other is watching the little monster on his path of mass destruction in the garden.

I can sleep pretty much anywhere while holding onto the little guy, waking up only when he is about to slip out of my grip. I can cook while watching him, feeding the dog, having a moderately serious conversation and washing a load of laundry.

People used to tell me that once you have children, life is never the same again. They were right. It is infinitely fuller, busier, more fun and better. Nothing can prepare you for the first year of baby's life. Even if your child is an absolute angel (which ours wasn't!), the changes to your lifestyle are dramatic.

There are times when you think you can't or won't cope. But you do. Slowly, you begin to have bits and pieces of your old life back. You start sleeping for more than four hours in a row. You begin to stay up after baby's gone to bed, reading a book, watching TV. And before you know it, you start thinking: Well, this wasn't so bad. Maybe we should have another...

What were the most dramatic changes to your life when you started a family?

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