Family and Firsts

Life is full of firsts. And babies seem to start ticking them off from the day they’re born. The first time they open their eyes. The first feed. The first dirty nappy (Adam had the privilege of that one…and it has its own comical story that I’ll save for another time!) First journey home. The first time they wrap their hand around your finger. And once these ‘firsts’ start, it snowballs, they don’t stop! I guess that’s been one of the overwhelming factors of Motherhood, taking in all these new experiences not just for me, but for her too. 

And the ‘firsts’ don’t stop do they. Ever. There’s even some firsts that I’ve not experienced yet, first house for example (I’m sick of rented flats!) I’ve never dyed my hair before. First time I feel like I’ve done all the housework. And I guess we eagerly await each of these ‘firsts’, until it comes and then we celebrate before beginning a countdown to the next one.

The last few weeks have been full of firsts for us as a family. Adam took his first day off! This may seem insignificant to many, but having worked in Education all his working life, this day off was when we chose! And it wasn’t during a school holiday! But this day off was for us to drive up to see Adam’s family (sing theme tune and clicks in your head here) which meant it was Annabelle’s first trip north! And her first time meeting the majority of the Deacon clan. 

 

The journey was great. Annabelle slept in the car and we only made 1 scheduled stop. We made it in good time and with Adam taking the day off, we maximised our time with family that weekend. Annabelle had cuddles with Granda (southerners, that’s not a typo, it’s pronounced Gran-dar), Grandma, Auntie Molly, Great Gran, Great Aunties, Great Uncles, second cousins, first cousins once removed (we googled it), friends, children of friends, other relatives who I can’t even begin to fathom out how they’re related to Annabelle…we counted over 30 family members in about 24 hours! It was so lovely, just seeing everyone coming together for her, surrounded by family and a room full of love and laughter. She also had her first trip of many to the beach and to an ice cream parlour! 

        

                                                                                   

                   

Another ‘first’ is Annabelle using her hands and beginning to grab things. About a week or so ago she was having her regular stint in her bouncer chair which is always accompanied by some pretty ferocious kicking and arm waving. But this time, as I watched her hand hit one of the rattles that hangs down from the bar, she stopped and an expression of realisation spread across her face. She looked at her hand with such awe and wonder and then carefully lifted it again and aimed for the rattle before clamping her fingers around it. I’d never been more proud of anything in my life! In that moment, I realised she had demonstrated a number of new skills: awareness of her hands, control of her arms, visual depth perception, sense of fun and enjoyment, ability to control things herself etc (skills I wish I had!) She did it again, and again, and again and squealed with excitement, it was beautiful to see her so happy with her own achievements. 

She has since used this new found skill to engage with other toys, most importantly ‘Cow’ (we’re yet to come up with cute, ingenious names for toys). Cow has 2 light up buttons and a spinner that all set off a medley of tunes and songs when banged. I say banged, as Annabelle quickly progressed her hand development from gentle stroking motions to vigorously smashing it through sheer excitement. And thus commences the ‘Grabbing Stage’. We are still in the infancy of this stage so I can still enjoy the fact she isn’t grabbing my hair yet, or lunging for the food off my plate. I’m aware these will surface at some point.

I was able to enjoy my first Mothers Day this weekend. I’ve always tried hard to make Mothers Day special for my mum, it almost always falls on or near my mums birthday too, so it’s easy to make a fuss for two occasions! I had already invited my parents up for the day, planned on cooking them a nice meal and started thinking about her gifts. Then one day it dawned on me, “I’m a mum!” I blurted out. I hadn’t thought about Mother’s Day ever being for me! It was a lovely day. Adam was given explicit instructions from Annabelle and she got it spot on. One of my favourite things about Mothers Day is seeing the hundreds of tributes of friends and celebrities to their mums on social media. Not only do I get a nosey at old family photos, or seeing what some peoples’ mums look like, but I just love reading all the beautiful things people feel/say about their mothers. It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy. 

I follow mum blogger Susie Verril (hilarious, tell-it-how-it-is blogger, mum to Milo and Greg Rutherfords girlfriend FYI), who wrote a post that I totally agreed with…

“Seen a few ‘I don’t need a day to celebrate being a mum, I don’t need a medal, I don’t need recognition’ posts. I do. We’re grafters, we’re second best, we’re battlers each and every day. Very little of this is easy so we can reward ourselves a day withou putting on our Mum crown and telling everyone we’d do it anyway. Of COURSE we’d do it anyway, but we’re allowed a wonky card and some flowers thrown our way too. Give yourself a Mothers Day.”

I want to have a day where I celebrate and treat my mum, and now I’ve experienced this mothering malarkey firsthand, I don’t feel bad about enjoying a special day myself! And I’ve only had 3 months worth of mothering, I’m sure I’ll have earned a Mother’s Day more and more as each year passes. And the same goes for Fathers Day too of course! 

Annabelle also has her first cold which is miserable as she’s struggling to breathe and feed with a stuffy nose. She’s been a little bit more teary which breaks my heart, but she’s also being more snuggly which makes it all better! 

Another ‘first’, and my absolute FAVOURITE all-time of Annabelle’s firsts was her first giggle. Thursday 23rd March. Bedtime. I can’t remember what I did or how it happened, but she just erupted into the most adorable, spontaneous giggle. I cried. And then tonight in the bath, her second giggle came and it was even more giggly and squealy and enthusiastic as the first, but just as beautiful. Adam and I just stared at each other with open mouths. It was just the most precious moment. Nothing makes me happier than seeing my little girl happy. 

Annabelle has also slept through the night for the first time too (sorry to all the mothers hating me right now). 2-4 times a week, she’ll have a mega nights sleep, going down any time between half 10 and 11, waking up some time between 7 and 9. It’s silly though, I kind of miss our special time during the night feed, but I’m sure I’ll always be grateful for a good nights sleep too! 

I know I’ll look back on these moments and wish I could turn back the clock or stop time right there in that moment. Perhaps reading this has made you feel nostalgic or pine for the good old days, or brought back faded happy memories. But for now, I’m loving each and every first that occurs, and although I shouldn’t, I can’t wait for the next first that awaits us. 

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