Today is S's second birthday.
This post is scheduled; I'm not online today. We're going to the Oceanarium with some family and friends.
On S's birthday last year I wrote a post about how the first year had been hard but also rewarding. To be fair, I could say exactly the same about my second year of motherhood.
Since S's first birthday she has started nursery. I have returned to work, been made redundant and gone self employed. We have had fantastic times, and we have had shitty times. We have had unwelcome knocks on the door in the middle of the night, but we've also had amazing achievements. S has learned to walk, and then to run. She's learned to put her own boots on, to say her first words, and how to make it clear exactly what she wants. She's gone from a tiny, helpless baby to a wilful toddler with a mind very much of her own.
And I have gone from a diffident and insecure new mum, petrified of being found out as a fraud, to... well, I suppose I just sort of realised that we're all frauds; nobody really knows what they're doing as a parent! One thing that has definitely changed though, is my confidence.
I know I am doing what I feel in my heart is best for my daughter. I know I am doing a good job. I am proud of myself, and of her.
We've not just survived two years; we've done damn well in two years.
I take so many pictures because my mind is still completely blown by the basic fact of being a mother. She's been a little poorly lately, and I think her last four teeth are coming through as well. She's not sleeping much, and there's a lot of whining going on during the day. It's been a few weeks since I had more than 3 consecutive hours of sleep. But I know that this time won't last forever. I know it's just a stage we're both going through, and both of us will come out of it stronger, having learned new things. I know that when I look back on the time leading up to my daughter's second birthday I won't think "yikes, it was awful; I barely slept and she kept kicking me!" I'll think, "that was such a great time; she learned so many new things, and gave me so many cuddles!"
Every single day, I look at my toddler and wonder where my baby went. I wonder when this tiny, fragile, silent little thing turned into a boisterous, giggling pickle who can suddenly climb stairs and reach the front door handle. When did it happen? I feel like I blinked and I missed it.
On the other hand, I am really excited for the next year. And the one after that, and the one after that. S is at that point where she's learning new things every day. New words, new actions, new ideas. It's enthralling to watch as she learns how the world works, and thrilling to see what she makes of it all. At her parents' evening the other week, her keyworker told me that she loves to do observations on S, because she's so fun to watch. When she picks up something new, she explores and investigates it to the very limits of its possibilities. And she usually giggles.
I can't help but think: that's my child; I made her!
And isn't she just perfect?
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