My beautiful girl is 18 months old today.
I honestly never thought we would get to this point. I didn't think I could do 18 days on my own, let alone 18 months. And yet here we both are, grinning from ear to ear!
Little S has gone from teeny tiny and scarily small to... well, she's still small for her age but she's not so fragile these days!
Becoming a mum has been a big deal for me, and the last 18 months have been... like some sort of mental yoga! I've learned that I might prefer to get up later, to sleep all night, to go out in the evening, to not bother going out today, to watch a different TV channel, but I just have to take a deep breath and do something other than my first choice.
I might feel grumpy and antsy and short-tempered, but I can't take it out on the person closest to me, because it's not her fault at all - so I have to just take a deep breath and say "sweetheart, please don't make that noise/hit me with that thing/scream all night..."
I've learned to truly put someone else's needs ahead of my own not just once or twice, on the odd occasion when I'm feeling virtuous, but all day every day.
And actually, that's been really good for me.
We have good days and bad days, just like anyone else. Today S is feeling rather delicate, so I've rarely been able to leave her side. There has been a lot of whining and a lot of cuddling and a lot of me trying to find something with which to occupy her so that I can go to the toilet.
When I think back to that first day I was on my own with her, I feel like we've both become different people. S, obviously, has grown and developed like all babies do over a period of 18 months. But I think I've probably changed just as much. I've gone from being convinced that I would be found out as a bad mother, and that she would be taken from me to be with someone more deserving, more capable, more motherly, to suddenly having this confidence that I know I'm doing the right thing. I still feel like there are a lot of improvements to be made, but I know that S is in the right place with me. We belong together; we fit together perfectly and I am proud of her beyond words.
It's been a long journey, and it's far from over. But I'm sure we're going in the right direction, and we're doing pretty damn well, thank you very much!
Now, I'm off to try and clear the bit of chocolate scented bubble dough off the play mats before taking a super-mucky 18 month old upstairs for an extra long and splashy shower and cuddly story time.