One year ago today Peter and I were walking (very slowly) around Kerrisdale while I tried to figure out if my contractions were real or false labour (they were false). I can remember sitting in an armchair in a second-hand shop, wondering if the store would charge me if my water broke.
We’re currently eagerly awaiting the arrival of a new baby in our extended family and I’m realizing how impatient I was, especially considering I never made it to 40 weeks!
As cliche as it sounds, I can hardly believe that a year has gone by. That a year ago at this time, our baby was an unknown entity, squirming and hiccuping inside of me. When I think of how much Pearl has changed and grown and learned in a year, it blows my mind. Mostly because that’s what we all experienced in our first year of life and that’s pretty amazing.
This year has been full of fun, challenge, tears (of happiness, of frustration, of exhaustion, of pure crazy hormonal moments), less sleep than I thought possible and more sleep than I thought likely.
Parenthood has been both the easiest and the most demanding job I’ve ever had. Demanding because you are always on. I’m her mom. No matter what I’m doing, no matter where I am, some part of my brain is dwelling on her. I always have to be prepared for Pearl to need me, day or night. Already, in a year, those needs are getting less intense. The wakeful nights are fewer and shorter. Her happy times playing and exploring around the house are longer. But always, I’m ready to go to her when she needs me.
But it’s easy too. Because it’s a joyful job. Because it’s the funniest, most relaxed, most interesting job I’ve ever had. It’s a job I’m thrilled to do. It’s a job that comes so much more easily and naturally than I expected. I often marvel at the instinct that makes me long to hold her when she cries and fusses, that thinks her pouty face is absolutely adorable, even when I have never felt that way about any one else’s baby.
I haven’t read a lot of parenting books and I try to avoid googling too much baby stuff. I have learned that every baby is different and I have learned to trust that Peter and I know how to care for our girl. Honestly, she’s been pretty easy.
Tomorrow Pearl will be one. She loves to walk, particularly while carrying a stuffed toy or a blanket. She is learning to climb. She loves animals and can make a moo, a woof, and a growling sound. She loves to make people laugh even though she doesn’t usually know why she’s being funny. Her favourite foods are bread and cheese but she also loves cucumber and avocado. She loves looking at pictures of babies but is less enthused when confronted with a real life baby. She can give hugs now but you never know when they’re going to be followed by a swift tug of your hair or the feeling of four tiny but sharp teeth on your neck.
She is shy of strangers and new places and still gets excited when her dad comes home in the evening. She loves making noise – whether that’s her version of “singing”, banging a spoon against the oven door, or pressing the keys of the piano. She dances along to music and she loves to splash in the tub. She has a smile for me every time I go in to her room to get her out of her crib and she snuggles in to my arms every night as she gets ready for bed. Not a day goes by that I don’t thank God for our Pearl.