There are too many firsts happening in Emma’s life right now for my liking! It seems like she was *just* born yet here she is talking and walking and becoming a little person.
This past two weeks she has said her first words (row row) taken her first shaky steps and today we celebrate her first birthday. Madness!
It seems like she has always been here, but at the same time it feels like she should be just a month or two old. How did the year pass by so quickly?
A second child inevitably means endless comparisons with the elder sibling, which is, of course unfair. Pregnancies are compared, birth weight and birth stories are told in the context of the elder childs and I’m as guilty as anyone else, but it’s crazy. All pregnancies are unique and all children do things in their own way in their own time. Daniel and Emma are different in so many ways, but at the same time it is like looking at two peas in a pod. It is easy to look at Emma and see Daniel a year ago.
Comparisons are inevitable – Daniel was 14.5 months when he took those first steps. Emma was one day shy of 51 weeks. Daniel was talking much more and saying more recognisable words at this stage, Emma says row row when she wants to play row row row the boat and ‘ta’ when we pass things. Perhaps my children are proof off the theory of walkers or talkers.
Daniel was, and continues to be an observer. He prefers to take time to survey the situation before jumping in. Emma is there, straight in, fearlessly chasing her elder brother. Emma is much more physical than Daniel was and even is now. She is constantly covered in scratches and bruises, often self inflicted from bumping into things. She is persistent. I am writing this Monday evening and today she spent a good hour trying to stand without pulling herself up using furniture or the walls. Daniel would never have done this. When he walked he could walk a good metre or so. Emma can do a step or two then falls.
Emma’s first year has flown by in a way that Daniel’s didn’t. I’ve written before about how time seems to have passed differently. Which is silly because it’s the same number of hours! She is a bubbly, happy contented little girl and I can no longer call her a baby. She is on the cusp of toddler hood and all the whirlwinds of activity that that brings, and the inevitable challenges it brings for me.
When I had a 16 month old and a newborn no one really said much. Now I have a two year old an (almost) one year old I hear constant comments of, ‘ooh, you have your hands full”. Perhaps I do. The days don’t seem anymore challenging, just a different sort of challenge I suppose.
The next year will see such huge developments as she continues to explore the world around her. She will interact and play with Daniel much more, and I hope that their relationship continues to develop as well as it is. Having them so close in age brings so many potential issues but there has rarely been any jealousy shown by either Daniel or Emma. They get along brilliantly and Emma loves to bring Daniel his toys, as he does her. It isn’t always perfect; he snatches things away from her and can be overly rough with her, but he is getting there. At just two he is still learning his place in the world too.
I was only asked once after Daniel was born if I planned any more, and by that point I was 10 weeks pregnant so… yes! I have been asked so many times recently if/when we will have a third. Perhaps because the mums I knew from first time round with Daniel are embarking on their second pregnancies are have had their second children recently. The truth on a third child is that we don’t know. We have made no secret that we would like a third child, but I’m not sure I have quite worked out how I would manage all that three young children would bring. We have many decisions to make over the coming year around education for Daniel (and then Emma) and our home – whether we extend or move. A third child is another factor in these decisions.
This past year has been challenging in so many ways, but there are moments of utter joy as I have watched Daniel grow into his role as big brother and as Emma has grown and found her place in our little family, shouting at us when she feels she is due some attention! It hasn’t been easy and the sleep deprivation has been awful at times. There have been days I have cried I have been so tired. Thankfully they are few and far between and we are incredibly lucky that my mum (and Dad) are more than happy to take the children for an hour or two to help us get a break. Invaluable in those early months when a trip to the supermarket just Damian and I was a luxury!
This year has flown by. It is a cliché but so true. It’s gone by in a blur and this past week has seen lots of new firsts for Emma. I’m excited for the next phase where I can get to know her even more as she talks to me, bur I am sad for the baby that is no longer. Walking is that turning point, I think. The signal that she is ever less reliant on me. I don’t know where her little feet will take her, but I hope they lead her to happy adventures and that, no matter where they go, we will be here, behind her holding her hand, either physically or emotionally and guiding her as she embarks on adventures into the world.
Happy Birthday Emma. It’s been a wonderful year.