Evangeline is one year old today. Looking back at her birth story, I can’t even image the emotions I was going through during my C section. It feels a lifetime ago.
The last year has had its challenges: twin boys going through the terrible twos slightly late, trying to juggle freelance writing without a childminder to help and coping with an overgrown puppy who was always wanting to steal my attention by chewing shoes, toys and anything he could sink his teeth into. There have been many times I’ve flopped into bed exhausted, but it’s been a contented exhaustion that comes from having the fullest life I could imagine.
E has grown into a delicate, perfect little girl. Her jet black, spiky hair quickly turned dark blonde – the same colour as her brothers’. Her spikes have flattened into a wispy pixie cut. The baby who once reminded me of a clinging little monkey doesn’t want to be cuddled and held anymore. She’s fiercely independent and wants to cruise her way around the room instead. She eats grown up food. She rarely wants to drink milk from a bottle, even at bedtime. My baby is slipping away, no matter how tightly I try to cling on to her.
I miss the non-crawling stage in so many ways. Life was much easier, but there is something about that phase when they need and want you all the time. Having a baby gives you a purpose, and it’s an amazing feeling knowing that you’re needed so much by somebody.
Before I had her, I felt like my heart was full to bursting with love for my boys. The second I saw the blue line appear on the stick my heart swelled beyond anything I could image and she was a part of the family from that very second, eight months before we even met. She has been the missing piece of our puzzle. Our relationship is different from the one I have with my boys. They’ve always shared me with each other, but in turn I’ve had to share myself with them. With her I’ve had the privilege of being able to be a mum to a single baby and give her my full attention on the days when they’ve been at preschool. It’s been so amazing going along to rhyme time at the library with one baby and not having to chase after two of them. Being able to go into town shopping and carry her in one arm while pushing the buggy if she gets bored. Being able to occasionally put my feet up while she naps rather than feeling I’ve got endless things to do. I feel so happy to have had the pleasure of carrying and raising one baby as well as twins, as I think I’ve had the best of both worlds. Both experiences have been equally incredible in very different ways.
As she turns one, I’m struggling to imagine her as a toddler. It’s hard to think of her needing me less, seeing her naps dropping off and having her cry in the buggy because she wants to be set free. My heart strings pull every time I fold up another little baby dress and replace it with grown up jeans or skirts.
I can’t imagine not having another baby to care for. I can’t imagine not being in that haze of dirty nappies, sterilising and night feeds again. My heart is being ripped in two – I want my baby back but I don’t think I want all of the things that come with it. Life has moved on and it’s a lot easier now. Everyone is growing up. I even told somebody at the weekend that I could see the end of the tunnel. You know about the tunnel? It’s that long, dark place where everything feels like a challenge, but you know one day you’ll all make it out the other side and you’ll look back on the journey as one of the best times of your life. But while you’re travelling through it, the end seems so far off that you aren’t sure if you can ever make it out. And we’re at least three quarters of the way through now, I think. On the home straight.
I’m trying to treasure every second, even though sometimes my eyes are a little blurry and my house looks like a bomb site. I’m trying to be mindful of the fact she *could* be our final baby. But something in my heart won’t quite let me believe that. Not just yet anyway.
To celebrate her birthday and us surviving a year with three children under four, Husband and I took E to the beach for a fish and chip picnic earlier. E thought it was great fun.
Happy birthday my darling baby E. We all love you so much. In T1′s words (after he woke screaming from a nightmare last week): “We love our sister and don’t ever want her to fall through a gap in the floorboards and disappear” (thankfully in his dream her big head stopped her from slipping through the gaps, so it had a happy ending. He does, however, like to keep a close eye on her in the living room now just to make sure this doesn’t happen).
The beautiful newborn pictures were taken by Jan from Essential Images Photography when E was one week old and she has kindly allowed me to use them on my blog. I paid for these photos and it was not part of a review but I can highly recommend her as a maternity, family and wedding photographer as over the last four years she’s taken many beautiful pictures of my family.