This post is inspired by Mick Inkpen’s children’s book “One year with Kipper”. Even before Holly was born, Mark would read the Kipper books to “bump”. If you’re unfamiliar with this story, Kipper documents the year by taking photographs.
Last week, we celebrated our daughter’s first birthday. Being first time parents, this year has been what I can only describe as a magical mystery tour. Holly was born at 17.06 hrs on December the 9th 2009 following a very short and incredibly painful labour.
I will never forget the midwife smiling at me as she put Holly on me and asked “what do you have?” I looked at Mark who was crying and said “we have a baby girl.” It was one of the most amazing and precious experiences of my life – at that point our new daughter kicked me in the throat! We named her Holly because of the Christmas season and chose the middle name Elizabeth to continue a family tradition. Her Aunty Becky (my twin sister and best friend) has the middle name Elizabeth which comes from our great Grandmother (Charlotte Elizabeth) an incredibly warm and special lady who would’ve been 112 yrs old the following day had she still been alive.
So what can I say about Holly. Well, to us and to those who know her she has a number of names; our favourite is Holly Hula (she danced the Hula if you put her on her feet as she tried to balance). She has reached all of her milestones so far within a normal range and some early. However, I truly feel as long as children get there in the end, that’s all that matters.
But this post isn’t about her milestones, it’s about our milestones as a family. It wasn’t easy to begin with. Our classes with the National Childbirth Trust were brilliant at practicing breathing techniques during labour but nothing prepared me for the rude awakening I had when I took Holly home.
I truly felt I’d been kicked by a horse, so it was with great difficulty that I learnt to sit down. To top it off, Holly had a tongue tie so I struggled to feed her for 10 days. I felt that I was failing before I had begun. I thank the Lord for my husband! He would bring me a drink, put something very silly on the TV (often the Mighty Boosh) and tell me that I was doing an amazing job. My new year’s resolution was that I was going to enjoy Holly and stop stressing about everything – something that I have stuck to as much as I can ever since.
People have often said to me, “Enjoy her, she won’t be little for long”, I can honestly say we have embraced every moment that we’ve shared with Holly. I think that we’ve been extremely lucky to have her.
Mark and I feel that we have blagged our way through this first year. We were aware of a number of different parenting styles, but we’re glad we did it our way (as Mark said to me, there is no one right way of raising a child but there are lots of wrong ways to do it, it has to be what you feel is right for you and your family). Holly eats a fantastic diet, sleeps throughout the night, in spite of having a 2-3 hour nap during the day and is a social butterfly. Perhaps I’m biased but she is one of the happiest and most content little girls I have ever met. My mother-in-law says “you know this isn’t usual, she has such a sweet good-tempered nature”. What else could we ask for? Our baby is healthy and happy and makes us laugh every single day. I can imagine that a child can put an enormous strain on a marriage but Holly has made Mark and I even stronger as a couple. Every time she reaches a new goal, we glance at each other with enormous pride.
Each night we go into her room to check on her before we go to bed. We look at her and then look at each other in awe of our greatest achievement in life. Our little girl brings so much joy to us and our wider family. We feel truly blessed to have her in our lives. I hope you enjoy the photographs of Holly’s first year.