September 14, 2011

One year

On Friday, Kai turned one year old. I am shocked that a year has passed, amazed and relieved that we survived it. Over the weekend we celebrated with not one but two parties, one mainly for our friends and family here in the city, and another one out of town mostly for Scott's country-dwelling relatives.

In Hawaiian culture, a child's first birthday is celebrated more than his or her birth. This originates from their formerly very high infant mortality rate; making it to a year old was a big deal. In my case, reaching this milestone with Kai is a real accomplishment due to my PPD. Kai may not be Hawaiian, but his first birthday merits a celebration of Hawaiian proportions, so we decided to add a touch of tropical flavour to his first party.

Since Kai is our sweet little honu (sea turtle), Scott and I collaborated on a tiny turtle-shaped cake. (The cake itself was heart shaped; Scott then sculpted the turtle features in icing. Lots and lots of icing.) This was Kai's first taste of refined sugar. What a mess and what a blast!

Some of my earliest days as a mother seemed interminable. In a stark contrast to that period of time, the past six months have flown past. As my baby becomes a toddler, I wanted to make note of some of the things I have learned and experienced since his birth.

I love it when I place my sleeping baby in his crib and he immediately rolls onto his front, puts his hands beneath his tummy, tucks in his knees and sticks his bottom up in the air, still fast asleep.

When I stop rushing through my day and take a moment to reflect on how lucky I am to have Kai, I feel a surge of love for him that is stronger than words can adequately express.

Above all else, I want Kai to be happy, healthy and safe. Secondly, I would love it if he were compassionate, caring and kind. Thirdly, I just really hope that he's not obnoxious.

When I make a decision as a parent and it works out, I feel strong and proud and wise. When I make a decision that doesn't work out so well, I wonder if I will ever stop second-guessing myself.

I learned that babies do not always smell nice. I won't post a photo to illustrate this.

If Kai is not with me, I miss him with a tangible tug in my belly when I think of him -- even if he's just sleeping upstairs in his crib.

This year certainly took its toll on me, but I can say this without a doubt: Kai is the best thing that has ever happened to me.

We've come a long way, Baby Kai, and we've got a long, exciting way to go.