I thought I'd spend much of today in tears, but so far I've managed to hold things in and only had a couple of near misses. In the run up to Willow's birthday, I've felt a little sad, sad to say goodbye to her first year, to her real baby months, sad for her to become even less dependent on me. Yet from the moment we woke up I have felt nothing but love and pride and excitement, as I look at the little girl my baby is turning into.
Over the past month, Willow has changed a tremendous amount, what almost feels an impossible amount turning her into a completely new little girl in the short space of time since Christmas passed. She is constantly on her feet, no longer content sitting and playing with her toys, still happy to stop and sit for reading time, but generally on her feet all day. Exploring, playing, testing her boundaries and seeing how much of the house she can get to without our help. She's not yet walking, but happy to stand and sit unaided, standing still unaided and without holding on to anything as she watches her favourite Cbeebies shows as she sings, claps and dances along.
She now has a few more words under her belt, being able to say 10 individual words, some still not perfectly but easily decipherable, and has become even better at letting us know what she wants whether that is something to eat, a nappy change, to watch In the Night Garden, when she wants a nap or some water. So although she's not yet walking confidently on her own, her talking is coming along nicely and I don't think it'll be long until she puts a couple of words together too.
Willow now has her very first pair of shoes, which we picked last weekend as a gift from her Bapou (Granddad). We took her along to Clarks to have her feet properly measured and fitted and she is a size 3F. She looks quite smart in her new shoes and we have been putting them on a few times a day so that she has a little more grip when moving around, as with wooden floors she can find things a little slippery in socks and tights!
This month Willow also started a 6-week swimming course with Splashbabies, representing the wonderful team at Konfidence and being a 2017 Swimologist brand ambassador for their baby swimwear range. I cannot tell you how it feels to watch Willow in the water with her daddy, enjoying her swimming lessons and being such a confident little water baby. The first couple of lessons I actually shed a couple of tears, full to the brim with sheer pride. You can read more about Willow's role in my recent feature, 'We're Konfidence 2017 Swimologists!'.
Today for her birthday, we had a fairly relaxed day, with Willow's daddy at work until early afternoon and so it was just Willow and my first thing as we opened presents together. For her 1st birthday, we absolutely spoiled her, with lots of new books, some Disney teddies, some more wooden toys and a new wooden kitchen. She has a lovely new rocking horse and Toot Toots sets from her Bapou, too. A very lucky little girl, she's already smitten with her kitchen and has been playing with it all day, and it's been nice to read some new stories together too.
This weekend we have Willow's birthday parties; she has one on Saturday and one on Sunday. The stress of planning two parties is ridiculous but I am sure it will be worth it, and when you have a big Cypriot family like ours, it's impossible to get everyone in one house in one go! Two parties means two birthday cakes, who can complain?
We made it through the first year in one piece. Our little 8lbs 8oz baby has blossomed into an incredible little girl who makes my heart grow bigger with love every single day. I can't wait to see what the next year holds for us as she begins walking and talking properly, to see what adventures we go on and what we learn together.
Happy Birthday, my sweet little girl x
Did you read my birth announcement when Willow was born? '& Then We Were Three'