The thing with these babies is, they just keep growing up. No matter how much I might try, they keep having these birthdays and we have now, almost inexcplicably to me, reached the stage of marking yet another first for Mr H – his first birthday.
We, somehow, managed to space out the children so that their birthdays fall at four monthly intervals, on the 23rd or 24th of the month and so, on Friday we marked that day that Mr H turned one.
The last year has passed in a blur – a third baby has no choice but to slot into the family and whilst I am often guilt ridden at the things he just has to accept and get on with, I am reminded of the absolute benefit he and the other two get from being so close in age. With Mr D it was easy to remember each mile stone and take note of each new development. Third time around it’s so hard – as I found out with those first teeth!
We keep birthdays low-key here and, keeping with first birthday traditions, we simply had family come round to share some birthday cake with us. Mr H was, predictably underwhelmed by the whole thing but thankfully his older siblings were on hand to help him to open his gifts and cards.
A first birthday is always a milestone. Mr D’s seemed to take ages to come – I can remember counting down and down and down to the special date and when it came it was an unknown – how would he react to the day and the fuss being made of him? With Miss E the first 16 months or so of her being here are hazy – we barely slept and, it is fair to say, she was a difficult baby (she is a joy now I hasten to add) and her first birthday was marked with a meal at a local restaurant. With Mr H it’s been different and felt more of an exciting day; no doubt in part to Mr D asking just how many more days there were to the magical birthday.
We struggled with ideas of what to buy him, and so settled on the Lanka Kade farm set and some additional animals. He enjoys sorting and building and it’s a toy that I am sure all three of them will make use of over time. Our home is so full of toys and things that all three have enjoyed and we are trying to be more ruthless in decluttering those that aren’t played with and instead investing in quality items that will last a number of years.
As I wrote in Miss E’s first birthday update, it is inevitable that a younger sibling is compared to those that have gone before and I try not to, but of course I do compare Mr H to his older siblings.
He is a mix of his brother and sister. He looks so very much like his older brother but his personality matches some of the cheekiness of his sister. He is physical in a way I don’t think either Mr D or Miss E were – he throws himself around and can move around the house at speed with his own, very unique, one leg shuffle. He is saying more and more now – be it cat, daddy, memem, Mama, Jasper and I’m sure he’s starting to say Grandma. He really is a delight of a child and a contented soul. He rarely grumbles; meaning when he does there is usually a good reason for it. I can think of only two occasions when he has been hard work; one when he was getting over his very nasty bout of chicken pox and must have felt truly awful and another was a period of five nights or so when he was very unsettled and restless and a day or so later a rather large molar appeared.
His capacity to get himself heard is amazing – he shouts to grab the attention of his siblings and it’s no surprise to me that one of his most used words is Memem – in calling after his sister. He adores her, as she does him. She will run to him if he is crying, makes sure that things are lifted out of his reach if needed and spends time playing with him. It’s remarkable really given her age.
He isn’t yet walking, and it’s easy to compare him to Mr D in this respect – he is probably going to take those steps at a similar age to him. I’m in no rush to encourage it but will delight it in when they happen.
I worry, often, that Mr H is missing out on things that the other two did but then I think of the other things he is gaining. I am much more content to let him come into our bed during the night when I hear the call of mama over the monitor. With the other two we would have spent time trying to get them back to sleep in their own beds, but I know that he will soon go the full night without the need for a reassuring cuddle.
And I suppose that brings me to thinking about Damian and I. The biggest comparison, I think is how Damian and I have changed as parents – we are far more relaxed a third time around. We are both more relaxed about the night time wake ups and the co-sleeping. We know it will end. We are both more relaxed about waiting for speaking and crawling and walking; we know it will come. But the other big thing that has changed from Mr D to Mr H are the decisions and conversations. I don’t have to make choices about working or staying at home, that’s a decision made a long time ago. I don’t get asked about when he will go to nursery – people know we don’t use them.
As the children grow I miss the stages they’re moving from but then I really enjoy the next stage. This stage with Mr H is my favourite stage of all. It’s the stage I’ve enjoyed so much with all three. The world truly is a wonder that is simply waiting to be explored. So much is new and I find it endlessley fascinating watching the learning process in small children. Watching as he hides behind things, puts hats on his head or stacks his stacking rings. I love watching as he finds new ways to get his siblings attention and force his way into their games. I love how he gets himself around the house – cross when we have all gone into a different room without him but wide eyes and big smiles when he finds us again.
He really truly is the most contented little soul; ready with a smile and he is a very affectionate little boy. He is easy to settle to bed and is easy to entertain. There isn’t much food he won’t eat and give him a plate of beans or a kiwi and he is in heaven!
It feels strange to look back at pictures pre Mr H – he’s only been here a short time, but it’s hard to remember a time without him. My happy little baby is still, just about, clinging on to the baby title. All too soon he will be a toddler and I can’t wait to see what the next year brings for him.
Happy Birthday H!