Ahh… baby’s first year. A whole year of magical milestones, sweet smiles and 8 gazillion photos on my phone to prove just how quickly my squishy little newborn has transformed into an almost-toddler. It’s hard to believe my baby is turning one.

It’s even harder to believe I have actually survived it without running for the hills. Which, I’ll admit, I thought about doing. On many occasions.

Why? Because, and I’m going to speak from the heart here mums, raising a baby is by far the greatest – and hardest – feat on the planet. Sorry, Everest, climbing you is peanuts compared to taking care of a baby during that first year.

And when I think about my baby turning one, well, that’s just as hard. Because, as rough as this first stage has been, I don’t want it to end just yet. I’m not ready to say goodbye to babyhood.

Where, oh where, did the first year go?

Most of the days during this past year has been a blur. The nights even more so.

Those first weeks I spent my nights circling the kitchen floor, bouncing her into an almost-coma in hopes she would settle. Then I’d spend my days recovering from the sleepless nights, watching ALL the Netflix while my daughter slept on me.

Too tired to try the cot transfer, too content to get up, too absorbed in all her baby sweetness to move her. Taking her itty bitty babyness in, hoping never to forget these precious moments, but also secretly wishing for this stage to end.

Photo: Jenna Galley

She hit the three-month mark and, like magic, the wind pains stopped and her personality started. First, the belly laughs, the rolling over, the hand-eye coordination, the discovery that life is more than just sleep, cuddles and feeds.

And let’s not forget those amazing three weeks where she wasn’t crawling just yet and so content to just lay on her tummy, like a playful potato. Bring back the potato stage!!!

Six months old already. And suddenly sitting, teething, crawling. Followed by baby proofing. And discovering the joy in having to vacuum every second day.

Then there was the weaning. The googling of puree recipes, the peeling of grapes, the millions of punnets of blueberries my daughter shovelled into her very hungry little mouth. Not to mention the millions of half-chewed blueberries I cleaned up from the floor.

Baby turning one - Lily and Jenna Galley
Photo: Jenna Galley

10 months on… The messy meals, the baby toys all over the house, the non-baby toys she preferred to play with, the bouncing, the laughing, the splashing at bathtime, the park visits, the playgroups, the walks, baby classes – each day blending into the next, each week marked by how many teeth she’s sprouted.

Learning to stand up, learning to babble, learning to voice her very strong baby opinion. Learning how to get her way. The beginnings of her cheeky toddler-antics coming through already.

Now, it’s almost here. Her first birthday. And, as I watch her toddling around the house, yelling out  (ironically) Dada as she looks up at me, I have no words.

Newborn one day, toddler the next

All I know is that the last year seems surreal. Did it really happen? Wasn’t she a newborn like ten minutes ago? Can I have a repeat button to try again?

Seriously, what the hell? How is my baby turning ONE? Was I asleep the entire time?

No, definitely not asleep. But definitely in some sort of mum zombie haze.

That’s the thing about babyhood. People always say, “It’s just a stage,” “This too shall pass,” and, yep they are absolutely right. Those 40-minute newborn wakings, those teething traumas, those days of puree pears, all of those stages passed in record time.

when your baby turning one
Photo: Jenna Galley

And now, as my baby turns one, I’m left feeling sad, shocked and slightly guilty that they are gone. She’s not a newborn anymore. She never will be again. Yes, living by a (somewhat) routine of eat, sleep, play was tedious. Sure, every day blurred into the next. But, with her by my side, or, on my hip rather, it was always exciting.

Bye, bye babyhood 

She’s officially on her journey to independence and, albeit, she has a LONG way to go, but those helpless days are behind us. I cursed them on so many occasions and now, well, truth be told, now I’m not ready for it to be over.

Of course, there’s so much more fun to be had ahead. Talking, playing, climbing, discovering just how fun and exciting the world is. So many challenging times too. Toilet training, emotional outbursts, starting daycare, then kindy, then big school.

But it’s still hard to sit back and think, my baby is no longer a baby. Sure, she’s always going to be my baby, but, you know, she’s not an actual baby anymore.

I just really hope that I never forget just how little she was and just how amazing, despite the sleepless speed bumps and the blurry messes, this first year really was.

So, to all the mums who have kissed their newborn for the last time, who have tucked their infant in and woken up to a toddler, congratulations on getting this far. Yes, it’s been an especially challenging year, and yes, we’ve probably all ugly cried a few dozen times, but, hey, we made it!

We’ve got the grey hair, the 8 gazillion photos of our baby, and the 365 days of memories to prove it. Sure, those memories are a bit hazy, but, at least the photos are (semi) clear.

What to read next

Is your baby turning one as well? Good, we can go through the toddler stage together then! Here are a few stories that may pique your interest:

Author

Born and raised in Canada, Jenna now lives in Far North Queensland with her tribe. When the mum-of-three is not writing, you can find her floating in the pool, watching princess movies, frolicking on the beach, bouncing her baby to sleep or nagging her older kids to put on their pants.

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