The Friday before last our Little Man turned one. I’m finding it hard to believe that my baby has reached this milestone already. In some ways it feels like we’ve arrived at this point far too quickly and yet at the same time it seems like an age ago that I was holding my little boy for the very first time. I remember them passing him to me and me asking The Bert if our baby was a boy or a girl. ‘It’s a boy’ he said. ‘Are you sure?’ I replied. I’m not sure why I thought this was the time for jokes!
And here we are 12 months later and our Little Man is a proper little boy. Not quite walking, but extremely active – he can crawl at quite a pace, climb the stairs and happily cruises round holding onto the furniture or his brick trolley.
He’s a happy, chatty chap and already knows quite a few words, and signs too (we’ve done baby signing with him since he was 4 months old). It’s quite amazing really that he can already communicate so effectively with us. He can say ‘there’, ‘up’, ‘down’, ‘mama’, ‘dada’ as well as animal noises for duck, bird, snake, lion, monkey, sheep and rabbit. He loves making car noises and zooming his cars around on the floor. And he can sign lots of words too: more, drink, light, car, aeroplane, helicopter, duck, snake, dog, bird, crocodile, home… and this week he’s shown that he also knows giraffe and bee! Wow, that’s the first time I’ve sat down and listed it all! And the amount he understands is quite astounding. He has quite a sense of humour already too – sometimes he’ll offer you something and then just as you go to take it, he snatches it back with a big grin, giggling and shaking his head! I don’t think I’d really comprehended that he’d be doing so much by his first birthday.
We had a little party at home on the day itself for family – my parents and The Bert’s mum came to help us celebrate which was lovely. And then we had a little joint party on the Sunday with some other little ones that were also turning one in February. There was quite a feast:
Mealtime started early for one of his little pals!
Now, everyone knows that birthdays mean cake and I’d been planning what to do for quite a few months. A lion cake! A roar was the first animal noise he mastered and it remains his best and most convincing. I typed into Google image search ‘Lion cake’ and it came up with a wonderful selection of pictures. One really caught my eye and I thought maybe if I tried really hard I would be able to make something similar, which is what I did! Ta dah!
Here it is during the final assembly:
I found it quite hard to fill the piping bag with the three colours. There must be an easy way to do it but I muddled through and they turned out well in the end. I thought the main cake was going to be the part I struggled with but that went reasonably well. I did a buttercream crumb coat and then another layer of buttercream before the final yellow fondant. The Bert was in charge of the eyes, aren’t they good!
The design of the cake worked well for our guests as I was able to make the cupcakes gluten free for my mum and mother-in-law, keeping the main cake full of gluten for the rest of us! However, it wasn’t baby friendly at all so I’m afraid the birthday boy didn’t sample any – he seemed happy enough with some raisins though and I did a sugar free banana cake for the little people party on the Sunday which was a big hit, and meant his birthday wasn’t completely devoid of cake!
And now the birthday is over, a new year in his life has begun and it’s all change for both of us as my maternity leave comes to an end. I’m starting back at work tomorrow and my little boy will be going to nursery. I feel mixed emotions about going back but I think it will be good for both of us, even if I feel apprehensive about it at the moment. I know I am very lucky to have been able to take a full year off and enjoy so many special moments every day with my son. It’s been a really wonderful year.