Later this week, on January 18th, we will be celebrating Josephine's first birthday. Celebrating the complete joy she has bought to our lives, celebrating the incredible little person she is now and is becoming, and celebrating our first year as three; our first year as parents.
No matter what people tell you, the advice you're given, nothing can prepare you for being a parent. The overwhelming love and happiness that fill your heart every second of every day; the changes such a tiny being can bring; the awesome highs and the exhausting lows.
This time last year we were eagerly awaiting the arrival of our baby. We didn't know if it was a boy or girl growing in my belly (we thought boy!!) and we were going to bed each day wondering if tonight would be the night our baby would start its journey to be with us (baby was already 5 days late by this point). We had chosen the names, washed all the clothes, set up the baby's corner in our bedroom. Our plans had been made.
But not everything goes exactly to plan when you have a baby.
When I was pregnant I remember seeing Claire's post on the ten commandments she'd set herself when she was pregnant. Reading through them I realised that Ben and I had almost exactly the same ideas. I wondered how, on reflection in the months after our baby was born, we'd have done in obeying our own commandments. So here goes...
1. We will birth our baby naturally and calmly, together as three at home. PASSish. Josephine's birth was beautiful. The most wonderful experience. It was calm and natural, but sadly not at home. These babies of ours have their own plans when it comes to making their way into the world and so Phiney was born in hospital. You can read our full birth story here.
2. I will breastfeed our baby, absolutely without doubt. FAIL. Wow, that seems so harsh on myself given everything we went through. But it's the truth. In all honestly I'm not sure I'll get complete closure on the issue until we have another baby and (keeping all fingers and toes crossed) I breastfeed with success. I could write a whole post regarding my feelings about breastfeeding, one year on. Maybe I will. In the meantime, read the whole story here. I just re-read it and my heart broke a little. And then I read all your amazing, supportive comments and it mended a bit. You guys are just awesome.
3. We will use cloth nappies as much as possible. PASSish. At home we use them a lot, but the truth is, for us, disposables are just so much easier when you're out and about. And in the depths of winter, when it takes 3 days for nappies to dry, it's hard. But our plan was to use reuseables as much as possible and I believe we do that. Most of the time.
4. Vintage stores and the charity shop will be the main source of clothing and toys for our little one. PASS. With flying colours, I might add. Apart from gifts and the odd bargain sale piece, the only things that aren't vintage, secondhand or handmade in Josephine's wardrobe are basics. Tights, vests, t-shirts and leggings. Go me.
5. All food will be made with our own fair hands. PASSish. I would say 98% of the food Phiney eats is handmade. It is with great pride I write this, especially given that until around 5 months ago, I could barely boil an egg (Ben's the cook - and a bloody good one - in this house). Now I am the maker of most of her meals.
6. Baby will fit in with our routine, not the other way round. FAIL. Ha! This may have worked until Phiney was around 5 months old, but when we implemented a more structured nap and bedtime routine, it went completely out the window.
7. There will be no TV watching, especially children's channels. Instead we will read and play games. PASS/FAIL. In those first few months, when Josephine would feed then sleep, feed then sleep, I watched a lot of TV. Seriously, a lot. Thank goodness for Netflix. But as she started to play games and be more aware, I was pretty good at keeping the TV off. Today, I'd say the TV is mostly off but sometimes, when we've had a bad night, early morning or a grumpy baby I need a bit of adult company in the day. And Jamie's 15/30 Minute Meals is pure research ;)
8. We will go for a walk at least once a day. PASS. We love our walks. To the park, along the canal, to the shops. Everyday, at least once. It is always a joy to walk and talk to our little bird.
9. We will not clear shelves or move fragile pieces from easily accessible places. PASS. Sure there are days, when I've said 'no' a thousand times, that it is tempting to move picture frames and ceramic pots and cds and game consoles onto higher ground, but ultimately Phiney is doing really well at understanding there are some things she's just not allowed to play with. I'm particularly pleased with passing this one.
10. We will not use a dummy. PASS/FAIL. Although I feel saying 'pass' is a total cheat. We bought a whole host of dummies when Phiney was born and we discovered that she very loudly made her dislike of being put down known to us. Unfortunately she refused every. Single. One. Now I see it as a blessing (no difficult weaning needed) but at the time we would have loved it if she'd happily kept one in her mouth!
On the whole I think we've done rather well. Sure, there are a lot pass/fails but heck, I'll take that. High fives to us.
ps. There will be a whole lot more on the subject of my learning to cook and our love of secondhand fashion in a new series I'm going to start next week.
Picture by Tori