To My Son On Your First Birthday

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To my darling Ben,

Today you’ve reached your first birthday and I don’t think you even have a clue how amazing that is to me. It seems like just yesterday that we brought you home from the hospital, a tiny little thing that had me marvelling at just how small newborns are.  Looking back now, it seems impossible to think that you’ve not always been a part of our family – you were so chilled out and slotted in so seamlessly that it feels like you’ve always been with us.

You’ve grown so much in this first year, just as I knew you would, and yet I still find every new milestone amazing. When you first came along you were utterly dependent on me and your Daddy for everything, from feeding, to changing your nappy, to comforting you, to getting you to sleep. And now, right before my eyes, you’ve become a little person, with a huge personality and whose independence is becoming clearer every day.

You are such a little communicator and I love to hear you chatter and squawk away. You cracked waving very early on, and love to test it out at every opportunity, charming shoppers across the county. And you definitely make your wants and likes very clear, as well as your dislikes. You might not be talking yet, but I don’t think anyone doubts what you want!

It’s definitely not been the easiest year though. We all struggled as we saw you in more and more pain from your Cows Milk Protein Allergy, and you gave me and your Daddy so many sleepless nights as we sat with you holding your hand and cuddling you, but since identifying that it’s been amazing to see you blossom. You really are the happiest and most beautiful little baby and your smile is so infectious – I can’t help but smile as you give me a grin. I love your funny smile at the moment too – you have your two bottom teeth, but although you have two on the top, they’re the ones either side of the middle ones, so you have the cutest gap right now.

You do things your own way, and watching you bum shuffle around is the cutest thing to me. I hope you continue to carve out your own individual path in life and have the confidence to do things your own way.

You’re such a surprise to me in so many ways. You and your brother are so different – whereas Max has always been cautious, you are a risk taker and an explorer and you love nothing better than trying to shove things in your mouth you shouldn’t. I’m constantly having to fish out little stones, or stop you from devouring another fistful of sand. Just when I thought I knew where I was with being a parent, you came along to keep me on my toes!

I wanted to do something fun to capture you at this age, so yesterday afternoon we headed out to the common to do a little birthday photo shoot for you. Balloons are your absolute favourite thing at the moment, so I had the idea that I wanted to create a hot air balloon with a big bundle of balloons and a basket for you to sit in. I took you to the balloon shop with me and you had the best time playing with a little balloon and bum shuffling around the shop while the lady inflated our 14 balloons for us. It’s fair to say that you weren’t the biggest fan of my photo shoot idea, which is unusual for you as you normally love having your photo taken, but you were in a bit of a teething grump yesterday. But I think it says a lot that I managed to get this gorgeous shot of you laughing as Max ran around behind me – you never stop watching your brother and studying his every move.

We’ve had a lovely today, with a BBQ in our garden with family, and it’s been perfect. The sun shone and we had the paddling pool out which you loved splashing around in, and you’ve been full of smiles all afternoon. As expected, you showed very little interest in your presents (not even in the wrapping paper!) but loved the balloons from the photoshoot yesterday.

Watching you grow up this past year has been the most incredible thing. You truly have been the addition to our family that we didn’t know was missing and we all absolutely adore you. You’ve brought so much sunshine and happiness to our lives and I can’t thank you enough for just being you.

Happy 1st birthday Ben!

 

Ben at 1 week old, swaddled

Baby lying on sheepskin rug, with mouth open and shocked look on his face

Closeup of baby being thrown into the air. Baby is wearing a navy bear suit and has a big smile on his face

Ben wearing mustard yellow jumper with penguins

7 month old baby sitting up in cot, dressed in white and grey striped bear suit, cuddling Maileg soft toy deer

Baby dressed in grey jumper with star on it, smiling up at the camera, holding a brown knitted Maileg sleepy wakey deer

8 month old baby, sitting and looking up at the camera, smiling

Ben sat amongst the purple crocuses, wearing a grey bunny bonnet