You are ONE! One whole year with our little peach. You have been here for the blink of an eye and an eternity, all at once. Second child syndrome should be your middle name, not as many milestones have been recorded for you, weeks and months pass us by, life is busy with two small people, busier than I ever anticipated…and now you are this big baby girl, barely even a baby anymore at all. I’d like to say that I enjoyed the first few months of your life in a blissful baby bubble, completed by my two beautiful girls, but life with baby Harriet was hard. Beyond hard. The hardest thing I’ve ever done was Mother you through your first six months of life. But the difficulty that was your early days have made the easier days oh so much sweeter. I wouldn’t change a thing about your first year – you have challenged me and pushed me and made me dig so very deep within every Mothering fibre that I could muster. Depths that I didn’t think I had, and often thought impossible to make it through another day. But we did it. My second baby girl made me a Mother – a real-deal, sobbing on the bathroom floor some days, feeding and feeding and feeding you at 1am, 2am, 3am, night after night, patting and patting you to sleep, rocking and rocking you, juggling you and your big sister through this year, with me 100% of the time, we are such a team, the three of us. We did it. We bloody did it.
When you were born some other Mama’s of Harriets warned me: “Oh…a Harriet! Good luck!” We were given a few ‘Harriet’ books: ‘Harriet You’ll Drive Me Wild’ and ‘Horrible Harriet’. Talk about a baptism of fire! You are cheekier than your big sister, you have a sharp sense of humour and a funny chortling laugh, big intakes of hair and you laugh with your whole self, twinkling blue eyes especially. Those twinkly eyes I’m sure will get you into far more mischief than Mummy can bear to think about right now. You push boundaries more than your placid big sister as a baby, but mostly I think that is to keep up with her. At one year old you are so keen to get up and go! You stand up on anything and everything, and just this week have started standing up unassisted holding anything – look mum, no hands! Your little legs just don’t seem ready to walk yet though, your keen little brain is a bit ahead of your little body. Soon you will be off and racing around with Eleanor, bye bye baby! I can’t wait for you to walk, but it really is the last hurrah to babyhood, soon you will be a toddler. Heaven help us, I’m not sure I’m ready for toddler Harriet. Probably about as ready as I was for newborn Harriet.
You don’t talk very much, all you really say is “mum-mum-mum-mum-muuuuuuum!” often when you are sad about something. You rarely say dada, and haven’t said any other words yet. You often do know what we are talking about when giving you simple instructions though, you obviously listen and absorb the busy-ness going on all around you, in your own way and on your own terms. You do lean in and ‘offer’ your head for kisses when saying goodnight or goodbye when I say “Kisses, Harriet? Kisses?” You do a funny little head butt with Eleanor in your high chair to ‘kiss’ each other, pressing your foreheads together. Sometimes it’s like raising wolves or living in a zoo, I swear! I do understand simply instructions really well though, like ‘pass me your socks’, so your little brain just hasn’t made that next leap to verbalise all of this sparks flying about your beautiful little head.
And that head of hair! It’s pretty wild. So suitable for you – it really matches your personality! You haven’t had a haircut yet but it’s not far away (you’re growing a, er, lovely mullet).
Teething for you is a next level intense experience, again unlike your big sister. You are a hot mess when you are teething. Hoooooley dooooooley. You have a temperature and a red hot ear and cheeks, your nappy rash is NEXT LEVEL and your disposition is something akin to a demon crossed with a banshee crossed with a gang leader. You wail and wail, the crying and clawing at ‘mumumumumumumum’. Yup, it’s intense business when Harriet is cutting a tooth. At 12 months old you have two teeth up the top, with two red bulging buds next to them, and four teeth down the bottom, although the outer two teeth have only just cut and are more like white lines. Better white lines than the bulging red buds of doom.
You are mummy obsessed, always have been, and I have resigned myself to the fact that you will be my clinger. If you are teething or tired or just woken up or if the stars aren’t aligned or Mercury is in retrograde, you will dissolve into a sobbing mess if I dare look at you the wrong way. Or take a step away from you. Or toward you. You keep changing the goal posts, keeping me on my toes seems to be this great game, and often I’m the loser. Your unpredictability is all very ‘Harriet’ though. Of course it is. And they told me second children were easy breezy! And then I laughed and laughed… Your grumpy disposition is reserved just for Mummy though of course, if we’re at Grandi’s or Mumma and Opa are here or we are somewhere with other babies and children, you are the epitome of a placid wallflower baby girl, chortling and gentle exploring, plodding along on your own course. People comment on how placid my girls are. And yes, you are. But it’s fire and ice sometimes, Jekyll and Hyde. Or smoke and mirrors!
Since you crawled at 10 months a whole new world of playing with Eleanor has opened up to you. You can play in her room, with or without her, often without is best as the sibling sister boxing matches have begun! Eleanor sets up her little scenes of animals or dolls just so, and you just want to have a turn to, to see what’s going on, what’s all the fuss, whatchya up to there big sis?! Cue Eleanor giving you a swift whack to the head and pushing you over, probably the reason why I think you cry so much more than Eleanor did as a one year old is because she is the cause of all the tears! Sometimes you play nicely together…but it’s relatively short lived before it’s pistols at ten paces again and poor Harriet gets to sit on Mummy’s hip while she unstacks the dishwasher or puts on another load of washing. Fine by you. You haven’t yet learnt to fight back, but I suspect it won’t be long – and I warn Eleanor accordingly. Either fight back, Harrigirl, or wise up! I think you will over the coming months get smarter to why exactly you’re getting pummelled…even if it is fairly unwarranted. Such is life as the little sister, I know all about it Peachy.
I am still breastfeeding you – I can’t quite believe we got to 12 months, let alone to weaning you…which I think is soon. I thought for sure that I would feed you for longer than I did Eleanor, but as it turns out I think it will be just about the same (14 months). You still have a feed in the morning when you wake up, although you could take or leave this really and it will be dropped soon I think, then at bedtime. Your sleeping at night is still hit and miss…mostly you sleep through the night, but when you don’t, the only way to settle you is often with feeding you. So I feed you.
At around 10 months old your night waking reaches a new peak. An epic Mount Everest peak. You had been going ok with semi-consistently sleeping through the night…then bam! You wake several times a night. Like a newborn. And because you’re Harriet, the only way I even know how to get you back to sleep is to feed you. So I feed you. And feed you. And feed you. Then you start expecting it. You wake almost hourly. At 10 months old. Finally, I say no more! I know that we can’t go on like this, so one night (when Daddy was away for work) I tuck you back in instead of feeding you “sssshhhh sssshhh shhhh Harriet, nigh nigh’s, sleep time”. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. And it takes two hours of repeat repeat repeat, but you sleep. And then you sleep again. And again. Clever clogs. You’re not silly (and neither is Mummy).
Now look at you, baby girl. Look! Look how far you’ve come. Once on the 3rd percentile for weight and plummeting fast. Now you are this chubby, chortling, (mostly) happy, delicious girl in our midst. A real life doll. We just can’t wait to see what your second year holds – such adventures, such promise, such fun. And if there is fun to be had, I think you won’t be too far behind it, my wild child. Thank you for teaching me so much in such a short time, from someone so little, yet so fierce. I simply can not wait to see what you do with your one wild and precious life my darling girl. Go get ’em.