This week, you are one.

A love letter from a mother to her not-so baby-anymore boy on his first birthday…

Happy Birthday, Toby x

This week you are one. A year ago on  13th November 2012, under the light of a new moon and in the darkness of an eclipse, you were pulled in to this world, changing it forever. Your big, dark eyes locked with mine and in that moment, there were only us two. You knew I was your mama, and I knew you were mine.  Your dad cried.  I held my tears in that night then cried every day for 2 weeks over you, a perfect little creation, a baby hoped for and dreamed of for longer than you will ever know.


We called you Toby, meaning ‘God is Good’. You looked wise and contented, like you had been here before and took to breastfeeding like a dream. The first night I couldn’t sleep, I needed to take in every hair, every little detail, smell you, hold you, kiss you. Like a lioness tending her cubs, I felt primal, wild, fierce, keeping a watchful eye on you as you were checked, tested and ‘approved’ before I negotiated my escape home. I took you straight to bed, and left your Daddy to flood the kitchen whilst emptying the long abandoned birth pool.  The next morning we popped you in to your rocking swing, tiny and wrapped in soft blankets, and we couldn’t take our eyes off you. We were a family. Terrified, still not quite believing you were ours, and slightly delirious on lack of sleep, we felt elation beyond what we thought was possible.

 It hurts my heart that the memories of the first few days are now so fuzzy, never truly sharp in my mind anymore. But there were cuddles. Oh so many cuddles. Flowers and more flowers, to the point where I had to go begging for vases. Balloons, cards, and presents, some from people we didn’t even know.  The first tentative walk outside with you, us both clutching on to the pram for dear life. Venturing in to the city to register you, and having to negotiate my first public breastfeed 6 days in. Perhaps the lack of clarity is a good thing,  because there were tears.  Hormonal, milky sobs, brought on by nothing and everything that flowed constantly but thankfully left as quickly as they came.

Your dad went back to work after 2 weeks and we were on our own. We didn’t move far – we stayed in bed watching Downton Abbey, sleeping, feeding, sleeping, feeding. We were doing well if I got in to the shower, but leaving you to do that seemed too long. I couldn’t get enough of you, and you grew chunky and round, little chubby thighs ripe for eating.

When you were exactly a month old, your great Grandad passed away. One in, one out, he would have said. He never got to meet you, but he saw your picture and thought you looked like a good un’. At 6 weeks, we took you to his funeral, and you brought so much joy on what was a very sad day.  You have his bottom lip and the stubborn streak he passed down to all of us.  You love your Great Nana, and reserve special kisses for her, almost like you know she needs them more than any of us

I carry you close to my heart in a sling, and still now sneak a sniff of your hair when you are wrapped up and asleep. Your daddy likes to tease that I have hippy tendencies, but even he admits that sling snuggles are pretty special. You do a dance at the sight of it, so you must think so too.

At 3 months old, we ventured to our first baby group. The babies you met there are now your best friends, and their mummies have been a constant source of support to me. You love meeting new people and make it very easy for me to get over my own shyness and strike up conversations. It does mean occasionally we end up entertaining the odd random ‘alternative’ person on the bus, but you give them a smile all the same.

I carry you close to my heart in a sling, and still now sneak a sniff of your hair when you are wrapped up and asleep. Your daddy likes to tease that I have hippy tendencies, but even he admits that sling snuggles are pretty special. You do a dance at the sight of it, so you must think so too.

I’m still breastfeeding you, with no thoughts to stopping yet. But you only need me two or three times a day now, and even then it is only when I offer. I miss the milk drunk faces and cuddles of the early days, but savour the brief feeds you have now, because I know before long they will be gone too.

Seeing your Daddy with you makes me love him all the more. I won’t lie – there have been times over the past year where we maybe haven’t liked each other very much. Sleep deprivation is a cruel mistress and she is not conducive to harmony, especially when the sink lies full and the washing basket overflows. But he bought me a dishwasher, and has been at my side no matter what poo or puke covered disaster we have face, so I think we aren’t doing too badly. 

Time runs away with us, and all of a sudden you were sitting up on your own. Then you start to crawl. Now you stand and cruise along the sofa, getting braver and braver. I spent so much time looking forward to each milestone, and with each one that passed I wish you could go back a step.  I look at you and swell with pride at what an amazing little person you are, so full of life, spirit and attitude. When did you get so big? And clever? I need to practice to be able to achieve – you just decide that you are going to *insertchallengehere* and you do it. No fear and no self doubt. I hope you will always be brave like you are now. I hope that I can nurture all your qualities that I can see in you – from the kindness you show to other children, to the wicked sense of humour that has us enthralled.

Today we went to playgroup. Then I took you for lunch and we chatted over a sandwich. We came home and you read your books while I sorted washing. You watched me cook dinner, and clapped with excitement as I put you in your highchair. You didn’t throw your dinner at me or on the floor. We snuggled at bedtime as I fed you, whispering secrets and promises of sweet dreams in to your ear. Today was a very good day. Not all days go like this. Sometimes we clash over the wearing of socks, the opening and closing of doors and drawers, the eating of things pulled from the wastepaper bin. You have been known to throw your hands in the air before collapsing to the floor in a faux tantrum over remote control/phone/other unsuitable object removal. Yesterday I wore your breakfast. Being mama to a baby you was a breeze. I’m still finding my feet on how to be the best toddler mama I can. I have no doubt that you will show me the way, for better or worse.

We are having a party to celebrate your birthday. There will be cake, balloons, food and all your friends. But more than anything else, there will be lots and lots of love. No matter how big, ferocious and grumpy like your Daddy you get, you will always have our hearts.

Categories: Any Other Baby, Becoming a Mother
13 interesting thoughts on this


  1. Posted November 11, 2013 at 7:27 am | Permalink

    God you know how to make a pregnant hormonal lady cry.
    This… All of this is what I’m looking forward to (and dreading at the same time).
    What a gorgeous and lucky little boy to have a Mama like you.

  2. Becca
    Posted November 11, 2013 at 7:53 am | Permalink

    What a squigy perfect little face. How you get anything done other than smother it with kisses is beyond me.

  3. Liz
    Posted November 11, 2013 at 8:10 am | Permalink

    Just lovely! All captured so well. My T was one on Halloween, and I have also done a lot of looking back and reminiscing – it all went so fast, even when the days seemed like they would never end. Watching my little girl grow more and more independent makes my heart swell, but at the very back of my mind there is that bit that misses the tiny little dot who needed so many cuddles. Enjoy your birthday Toby, it is sure to be very special xx

  4. Posted November 11, 2013 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    We’re five months behind you but I could have written so much of this. It’s such a beautiful letter – thank you for sharing it with us. Enjoy these last two days of his first year, and I hope the next year of adventures is a wonderful one for all three of you!

    Happy birthday, Toby!


    • Posted November 14, 2013 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

      Oh you summed up so much of how I feel about Annie! She is three months and it’s passed in a flash! You just have to savour every single moment. Still overwhelmed by how much I love her!!! Loved this post! X

  5. Posted November 11, 2013 at 8:32 am | Permalink

    Beautiful! x

  6. Posted November 11, 2013 at 8:37 am | Permalink

    Aww V this was just gorgeous to read, I have tears in my eyes in the car. Toby is one lucky boy to have gotten you for his mummy and you one lucky mama to get that amazing little boy as yours.

    Happy 1st birthday when it comes gorgeous little T xxx

  7. Zan
    Posted November 11, 2013 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    So lovely – and seriously, every time I see a photo of Toby I just want to reach into it and squish his lovely gorgeous cheeks! Hope he has a fantastic first birthday x

  8. Posted November 11, 2013 at 10:47 am | Permalink

    So emotional, so beautiful. You guys are awesome. Happy birthday T xx
    Ps. Please let me know how you got your fella to buy you a dishwasher….the rows would definitely be more palatable if I had that to look forward to!

  9. Kirsty-Anne McEwan
    Posted November 11, 2013 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

    I am sitting sobbing like a wee lassie here!!! Need to redo my make up! aaawwwww Toby Tall I love u xxxxx

  10. Sharon
    Posted November 11, 2013 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

    Wow just beautiful, you have summed up all the things I can’t wait to experience over the next year or so, it made me cry. Can’t wait to meet my bubba, fingers crossed he/she has cheeks as squish able as your Toby’s he’s just gorgeous. Xxx

  11. LottieS
    Posted November 11, 2013 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

    I’m 22 weeks pregnant today and reading this at work. Like other posters….you have made me cry. SO beautiful. As my husband says, pregnancy and parenthood is so ordinary yet extraordinary at the same time.

    You have compounded, multipied and heightened my excitement for my little one’s arrival exponentially! I was already super excited to begin with!

    Hapy birthday little boy! Have a wonderful one!

  12. Merida / Hobo Mummy
    Posted November 15, 2013 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

    He is utterly gorgeous, and he looks like a Toby – a perfect name choice x
    A beautiful letter……and one I will show a family friend who gave birth to her Son in the early hours of this morning, she needs to know how to breathe all this in and keep it somewhere safe xx
    Lovely x

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Hello! We're Clare, Aisling and Anna and welcome to a corner of the world where smart, flawed, real women talk about the bigger picture; about their experiences, stories and opinions on all aspects of being a woman today, from marriage to feminism to pretty, too.

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