It’s a daughter’s first birthday tomorrow, which is kind of hard to believe. I’m both surprised it arrived so fast and aware that those days in the hospital seem an awful long time ago. My overwhelming feeling on reaching this milestone is one of relief. We’ve made it through the first year without dropping her on her head or otherwise injuring her, bar the odd bump and bruise. She’s growing, eating, crawling, standing and doing all the things a child her age is supposed to do. Walking and talking look like they will be here fairly soon. It feels like we must be doing something right, or at the very least not doing anything majorly wrong. Everyone says the first year is the toughest, but I strongly suspect they only say that to you during the first year, I’m not actually expecting it to be true.
One of my favourite things about this first year has been watching her learn. From the tiny number of reflex actions she could perform at birth, through the first smile, the first successful swipe at a toy, the first roll over, those new experiences keep coming. I loved it when she stood up holding the side of the bath for the first time. Just the other day I was so proud when she put the triangle through the triangle shaped hole for the first time. It makes me smile to think of all the firsts yet to come.
I’ve also loved watching her personality develop. Before I was a father I suspect I didn’t think one year olds had much of a personality, but how wrong I was. Our daughter is the thoughtful type, she likes to sit and quietly take a situation in before getting involved. She may seem a little shy to some, and others often remark on how quiet and well behaved she is, but she just takes time to adapt to new people and new situations (and to be honest she is pretty well behaved in the main, we’re quite lucky in that regard – so far). She is also determined and single minded, capable of ignoring all kinds of things going on around her, to concentrate on the toy or task at hand.
Because she appears shy at first but can be outgoing and fun, because she’s determined and single minded, she reminds me of my wife. Strangely enough, she reminds my wife of me, for exactly the same reasons. Of course, she will have aspects of both of our personalities, but she has been her own person, right from the start. I can’t wait to see more of the person she becomes.
Happy Birthday love.