(First published on The Contented Calf website on August 2012. BF1 had just turned three.)
Yesterday was BF1's third birthday. We had a lovely day, we really did.
(We'll forget about the massive tantrum she had just before bed because she didn't want her teeth brushed. I guess it was her party, so she could scream the house down cry if she wanted to.)
It was a nursery day. So we woke her up with a round of Happy Birthday, along with a few presents and cards from Mummy, Daddy and her little sis BF2; she put on her bridesmaid's dress; and we had a couple of mini chocolate croissants for pre-breakfast. And off she went with Daddy to nursery.
Then the preparations started. While BF2 was sleeping the shopping arrived. Quick feed. Then 'entertain' her, ie pop her in the bouncer while I put the shopping away. Bath and massage - the baby, not me sadly. Back down for lunch-time sleep - again, the baby, not me!! And then it was Action Stations!! BF1 had asked for "a chocolate cake with Mickey Mouse on", so of course I turned to my trusty friend and co-author of The Contented Calf Cookbook, Jassy Davis aka @ginandcrumpets, who provided me with the most amazing chocolate cake recipe.
Just look at this cake Jassy made for her sister!!
While I was making it, I certainly found it pretty hard not to eat the mixture right then and there. How good does it look in the bowl!?!? YUM!! The finish to mine was slightly different from the original recipe, but as I said, I was asked for a "chocolate cake with Mickey Mouse on", so that's what I delivered. (A bit wibbly wobbly, but for my first 'child's cake' effort, I'm pretty proud of myself - you can certainly tell who it is!)
After an early pick up from nursery, there were more cards, presents, balloons, and yes a Mickey Mouse birthday cake. She had lots of fun and it was a perfect third birthday.
But seriously, THIRD!! She's THREE!?! I'm doing that classic parent thing that I just didn't get when I wasn't a parent of thinking "But HOW can she be three? She's SO grown up! Where did the time go? It's gone so fast!!"
Once both girls were settled in bed, the house tidied round and a bit of a flop in front of the TV was had, I went up to bed. I looked at the clock - it was five to eleven.
Noticing the time, Whoompf!
I was transported back to ten minutes after BF1 was (finally!) born - she was born at 10:44pm.
I can still remember it so vividly: the large hospital room, the bright fluorescent ceiling lights, the darkness outside the windows, the peace and quiet after hours and hours of labour as the midwife wrote up her notes and hubby got out some baby clothes, and me cradling this tiny tiny ‘thing’ in my arms, completely unaware at how our lives would change immeasurably, forever.
You see, thinking about it, I’m not sure it's that the time has really gone that fast – some days it seems to have flown by, and others it seems like a life-time ago that BF1 didn’t exist.
And it’s also not so much that I don’t want her to grow up – I’m quite accepting of it, and I love seeing her develop and learn and grow. I think it’s more of a case that I’ve realised that birthdays really are an anniversary for parents to look back on the moment their baby was born - at the occasion, at themselves and at that tiny little bundle of brand new life – and truly understand the significance of that moment; an understanding that can’t be had at the time, but can only develop with time.
Parenthood is so full-on and chaotic, that birthdays just prompt us to reflect on what it really means and remember when it first happened – three years ago yesterday.
As always, with love from our family to yours,