Boxing Day was special for more than one reason for us. As well as celebrating Christmas, Boxing Day marked my partner's, Willow's daddy, 31st birthday, as well as Willow turning 11 months old. Her update is a little late this time, usually posting on the day she reaches a new month, but with the festive season and a New Year to see in, I think we can let that slide.
11 months, starting the countdown to her very 1st Birthday. The final month before she is no longer a baby and on her way to becoming a toddler. A toddler, my little girl! I'm clinging on to every last day of her first year like I never want to let go, my baby is growing up quicker than my heart can cope with, and with each passing day she learns something new and does something to make my heart burst with pride and more love than I ever felt possible.
So what changes did we see from month 10 to month 11? A lot, that's for sure! Willow is well on her way to walking now and has even taken a step or two towards me without needing to hold on to anything. She is also using her walker more often as an actual walker, rather than just playing with the toys on the front. Tooth number 8 popped through a couple of weeks into December, which she seems to be doing OK with, although I know those awkward molars are on their way soon and I'm a little nervous for how she deals with those!
Willow had her first travelling adventure in December, as we spent a weekend in London visiting family and shopping for some last minute Christmas gifts on Oxford Street. The journey there on the train each way was 1 hour and 40 minutes; both there and back she did wonderfully well and although restless and tired on the way back, she managed to sleep on me for the last half of the journey which was a big help. Navigating the London Underground with a pram was a little more tricky, as so few stations have lifts and escalators and stairs with a heavy pram travel system are tricky! Despite being carried up and down stairs, how busy the Underground was (people were practically sitting in her lap in her pram the trains were so packed!) and how busy Oxford Street was, she was happy and all smiles all weekend. She adored visiting the Oxford Street Lush store and was even spoiled with bubbles and dancing by the wonderful staff there. I'd been so worried she'd find the weekend all a bit too much, but she never faltered and was an absolute dream throughout the whole weekend!
Willow has now cut down from 3 7oz bottles of milk a day to just 2 7oz bottles. When she turns 1 she will be moving on to full-fat cow's milk and I have to admit, I'll be glad not to be spending £40-£50 a month on formula anymore! Eating is still going well, she's enjoying her three meals a day and now has a few snacks in-between. She is also much better at drinking water too, which was something we took quite a while persisting in as she just wasn't interested! She seemed to love her Christmas dinner and on Boxing Day, she may have tried a teeny tiny piece of strawberry cheesecake as a one-off treat for daddy's birthday.
Of course, her 11th month fell right smack bang in the middle of the run up to Christmas and all the festive celebrations December brings. We spent our first December together watching Christmas movies, looking at the Christmas decorations and reading books about Santa. On Christmas Eve we watched my favourite Christmas films, sitting down together as a family in the afternoon to open up Willow's very 1st Christmas Eve box. Inside was a Rudolf Tutu Sleepsuit, more Christmas stories, a personalised plate to leave Santa and Rudolf some treats, a Christmas Minnie Mouse, a 'My First Christmas' bib and Rudolf comforter, and a letter from Santa himself! Next year I want to get her a proper Christmas Eve Box (or even make one myself!), but this year we made do with an old cardboard box wrapped in Christmas paper, and it did just fine.
On Christmas morning Willow woke at 4am. She often wakes between 4am and 6am, at which time we will scoop her up out of her cot and bring her into bed us. Of course with it being Christmas Day I decided that we wouldn't try and get another hour or so of sleep out of her, oh no, we were going downstairs to open stockings and see what presents Santa had left!
I cannot describe just how magical it felt, bringing my daughter downstairs on her very first Christmas, to see her inquisitive face as she saw a pile of presents. We sat down together and opened up her stocking, where she was delighted to find two small plush toys from In the Night Garden, a favourite of hers to watch before bed. Opening up her presents was funny to watch; some she wanted to open herself and pulled and tugged at the paper, some she left to me and Daddy to see to. All of my attention was on Willow; this was her Christmas, it was all for her.
New Year's Eve was another night she didn't want to miss out on, waking up at 11:45pm and with it being so close to midnight we decided to bring her downstairs where we settled down to watch the London fireworks display and dance to Robbie Williams. She was absolutely mesmerised by the fireworks and watching her face, her eyes open wide, the odd smile and giggle as a really big firework went off and the sheer joy on her face at the music, it was so wonderful to see and a lovely way to kick off 2017 together as a family.
Willow turns 1 on January 26th and I have all sorts of feelings about it. I'm excited, of course, but also a little bit sad to say goodbye to her baby days. I can't wait to see what lies ahead for us as she starts to properly talk and walk, and the adventures we'll go on in 2017. Our little girls first year has been wonderful, and I cherish every moment and memory.