Saturday, September 01, 2007

Happy Birthday, baby!

I just want to say Happy Birthday to my son, today. OK, so I already have, like about 1000 times but this one is in writing so it's different. I think. I waltzed him around the garden this morning singing the Altered Image song 'Happy Birthday, Happy Birthday, Happy Birthday, Happy Birthday' but since I can only remember the chorus I just sang it over and over and over again until the neighbours undoubtedly put their heads under the covers (it was 9am) and prayed for silence. He bobbled around on my hip with a big grin on his face because we were outside and dancing and Mummy was being silly, presumably.

One set of his grandparents gave him money for a winter coat. The other set gave him a toy drum complete with sticks, a tambourine, maraca, xylophone and jingle-bells, ie, a head-ache-in-a-box. Guess which was the gift from MY parents????!! He loved loved loved the drum however and so I can hardly hold it against them... although I will try to do so in a creative way when it comes to their up-coming birthdays...

We had a picnic for a few of his friends in the park this afternoon and he spent all day eating organic baby snacks and being very happy hanging with a big group of people outside on a nice day. I guess it's sort of the way we as humans would naturally have lived in the past, great hairless groups of us lazing about under trees with our offspring. Not sure about the place of Pringles and fairy cakes in this historical view of mankind mind you but there you go.

Anyway, on to say Happy Birthday to my lovely son, who, having crawled and rough-housed all afternoon is now sleeping the careless sleep of the tired infant, both arms flung out and breathing the sort of deep, quiet breaths that make a parent dash frantically over to listen at his nostrils.

We sat, the three of us, before the arrival of our friends, we sat on the grass and felt like a family. Or at least, the Frog and I sat on the grass, the spud tore off as fast as his knees could carry him into the great green yonder. We sat and sort of smiled in wonder that an entire year could have passed so quickly, without us really noticing. They tell you that this is going to happen, they, the books, Those Who Have Gone Before, they say 'It'll just fly past, you won't believe it' and it does, and we don't. A whole year. Gone.

I know why though, it's because before one is a parent, one has many, many things to focus on. Work, friends, family, life, the changing of the seasons, shoe sales. One notices time going past because one is waiting for various things to happen, one sits at a desk looking at a calendar, reads newspapers, takes holidays, buys shoes. Time does pass more quickly as one ages but it doesn't disappear. Not completely. Once one is a parent however, things are crammed into the moments around the edge of one's offspring and one only takes quick bites at the life one once consumed completely. Time passes un-noticed except for the daily changes and developments. Moving, grabbing, holding, picking up, rolling, crawling, teething, standing, units of time measured by growth and development, not by the ticking of a clock or the turning of a calendar.

A year. A year of the spud. A year ago today, right here in this living room, he pushed out into the warm waters of the birth pool and bubbled up to the surface. I remember being surprised at how solid he was when the midwife lifted him out of the water and put him on my chest, as if babies should be soft and floppy and unresisting. He was a bit blue and grey at the edges and had a dreadful cone head. Once the cord was cut he was dried off and put against his father's chest to warm up and go pink while I was diverted into the mopping up part of childbirth, the bit they never show in movies, the bit where you push out the placenta and get dropped into a bath to clean up.

After my bath the midwife put him on a boob... and he's pretty much stayed there for an entire year. He could hold his head up from the moment he came out of the womb, his little conical grey noggin was questing around for the remote controls before his cord was even cut or his eyes could focus. He cried a little bit and I, who would probably have imagined that my first words to my son would be something deeply profound to put him on track for the rest of his life could only say 'and who are you? who are you?' to him as if he could possibly answer. The answer, of course, was that he was my dearest darling spud and the light of my life, but I could only guess at that back then.

A year ago he lay in the moses basket by our bed making little creaking noises and looking like an alien. We stayed up all night listening to him breathe and taking off and putting on various items of his clothing as we tried to guess whether or not he was too hot or too cold. Back then we had no idea what to expect from him and now, a year later, he lies in his big cot in his own room and we still have no idea what to expect from him, most of the time at least.

It's been an amazing year, a wonderful year and I can only hope that this next year will be the same.

Happy Birthday, Charlie, Happy 1st birthday. I love you, spudlet.

Thanks for coming by, everyone, it's been great to have the word, wit and wisdom of others in this time.


Briget said...

I've been lurking for a bit, so had to check in to say Happy Birthday!! to the spud. We called my nephew that, because his head was so dented in at the sides after a tough birth that it was truly potato shaped. He is now a truly hunky 22 year old. (Damn, when did that about the years going quickly...)

Sparx said...

Briget - thanks for that, good to meet you. We should have called the spud the banana based on his birth head!

jenny said...

Happy Birthday to the Spud!! I loved loved this post and once again, you have a lovely way with words. Sounds like you all had a lovely day and may this next year be filled with more awe-inducing discoveries of a growing child!

Suki said...

Wow.. Happy Birthday to the Spud! :)

Amandeep said...

What a lovely post... Truly loved it!!

May you have many more such wonderful years with the Spud...

the mad momma said...

Has it already been a year.... we've been right alongside and time just flies doesn't it? Happy birthday to the spud... and a very happy one year of being mommy to you. as other have said before me- you have such a wonderful warm way with words.

Lou said...

I've been a lurker (and big fan of your blog)for quite a while but on an occasion such as this, I really felt the need to say happy birthday to the spud!! May every year be filled with as much happiness as the first.

Anonymous said...

Oh, that was..sniff..really nice...sniff. Lovely. Waaaah!

Rachele said...

Happy Birthday Charlie! We're sending smooches from all the way across the pond. I say "we" because I've engaged my whole family in your wonderful blog. My MIL reads it faithfully and I recount your stories to my hubby and 8 month old son! :) I'm a bit teary from this incredibly beautiful tribute to your life with your dear boy and wish so much we could invite you over for a play date.

Anonymous said...

Absolutely beautiful! Happy Birthday, Charlie, and Happy Birthing-Day to you, Sparx. I am constantly amazed at how something that starts out so small and helpless becomes this little person, and how everything that seemed important before this little things arrival is now not so important.

Here's to a wonderful 1st year and a wonderful year-to-come!

PJ Lore said...

Happy Birthday, Baby and Mom!

Sparx said...

Jenny - thanks! I hope next year is as good too!

Suki - many thanks!

Amandeep - that's so kind, thanks!

Mad Momma - and you too - hasn't it gone fast?

Lou - great to meet you - thanks and thanks for coming by!

Jennie - you softie...

Rachele - really? Wow, thanks! Come over and we'll set up that play date!

Driving - I know it'a amazing... thanks for the kind words!

PJ - thanks!

Good to see you all, thanks so much. I'll pass on your greetings to the spud.

Jen said...

Just found your site, and I love it! This made me emotional, thinking how in just 3 short months we will celebrate my son's first birthday. I can feel the love and I'm sure Charlie feels it too, even though he can't say so yet.

Anamika said...

Happy Birthday Spud. And Sparx, just keep blurting. I love stopping by your blog and realsiing you've updated it!

Samantha said...

Happy Birthday, little big-man!

Your words are perfect... beautifully written memories - print this blog and keep it for him! (especially when,as a teenager, you may rethink the whole why-did-I-decide-to-become-a-parent thing!)

DJ Kirkby said...

Happy birthday sweet boy! Born into water at home, how special the day of your birth was, how serene. As a midwife I know how wonderful these births are and it was what I had chosen for N3s too, however he had other ideas about where he wanted to be born!

Mom de Plume said...

Happy Birthday Charlie!!! Isn't it amazing how you can no longer imagine life without them! Just proof of how their characters become such a part of who we are as Moms! I realy enjoyed this post!

Self employed mum said...

Beautiful, tears in my eyes. Complete unconditional, undescribable love. And how brave to do a birthing pool at home. x

lady macleod said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY SPUD!!! And happy day to YOU Mom! Well done, you made it through the first year, the adventure has just begun. Huzzah!

Threat Assessment & Response Canada said...

Hi, Sparx!

Happy birthday, Charlie!

Sparx, you have received an award. It's not on the blog of mine that you normally visit, but on my personal blog at

The title of the post is... "Sparx"

Congratulations and keep up the good work!


Diana & Marco said...

Very moving. I've been reading your blog for the past couple months and really enjoy how you share your daily experiences. I have a 3 month old and in reading your blog, I imagine what my boy will be like at 1 year. Thanks again.

Sparx said...

Jen - it is amazing, isn't it? Better start planning that 1st birthday now, the next three months are about to disappear!

Anamika - Many thanks - not sure I could stop clurting if I tried! Thanks for commenting as well, great to meet new fellow bloggers.

Samantha... hm... might take that advice! Lordy, the spud as a teenager...

DJ... N3S sounds like he's had a major mind of his own since before birth! Thanks for the kind words, will come by soon!

Mom de Plume... I know! I was thinking much the same thing today... it's hard to look back and remember what it was like. Good to see you.

Lady M - thanks! And thanks for the good wishes... It's funny isn't it - much as I love the spud, I did half hope for at least breakfast in bed for me! Does that change over time? Good to see you.

Laurie - you know, I was just thinking about your blog this afternoon and wondering if you kept your own - thanks so much!!! Good to see you.

D&M - thanks for commenting and revealing yourself(ves)! It is hard to imagine when they're that age... but I promise you, it'll be a year in no time at all...

Thanks again everyone.

Ivanna said...

Wow, it's been a year!
Happy Birthday, Spud, and congratulations Sparx for making it through the first year with lots of humor!

cara said...

Happy Birthday Spud!

my little guy had his first birthday a week ago. i've been following your blog for a while now, i think i commented the first time i read it.... it's amazing how our little guys are similar and we seem to have similar experiences as a new family :)

thanks for the entertaining read and the reality that is parenting.


Lindystar the HOR blogger said...

Happy Birthday SPUD!!!!!

And happy day and many congratulations to you sparx (and frog :)

Thank You again for sharing these past months before and since Charlie was born. I've learned so very much about motherhood just from this one site, and all while being absolutely entertained.

You did a quite a fine job writing his 1st year birthday tribute, I look forward to more :) Have a good one.

Krissie said...


(Sorry I'm so terribly late!)

Sparx said...

Cara - thanks for coming by again. You're right, they're both very similar! Same age too!

Lindy - Thanks hon. I think you should jump in, the water's warm (or is that a puddle of wee? I can't tell anymore...)

Krissie - don't be daft! Thanks for coming by at all, it's appreciated.

Hattigrace said...

My rule was always- silent toys!!!! Happy birthday to a very blessed little man.

Sparx said...

Hatti - you're so strong! We caved in on the beeping toys early on... trying to move to silent wooden ones but then this! Drumming! Argh! Lovely to meet you, thanks for coming over.

Lisa said...

Oh happy birthday spud! I hope this doesn't mean the end of our wonderful tales of you!

Chipper said...

Happy Birthdday Big Guy!! And Congrats to the mom that has got him here to his 1st birthday!!

Frog in the Field said...

This is beautifully written, Thanks for sharing it.
My eldest is almost 13, now that really scares me, we still don't know what to expect!

Elsie Button said...

oh wow, a big happy happy wonderful peachy birthday to charlie. I have LOVED hearing all about his antics during this year and look forward to many more. What a lovely post too! YAY - one year old, can you believe it!

IngeniousRose said...

What a lovely post. I feel I just have to say HAPPY BIRTHDAY too even though I have never met spudlet!

Hoto said...

Dearest Nephew Charlie

Given how many people have commented on your likeness to me, (and now, given your percussive tendencies, your predilection for a truly special musical instrument which I share) I hope for you that you _don't_ end up like me, but rather that you are kind, thoughtful, funny, loving, energetic, wise, industrious, handsome, thin and abstemious like your beautiful mother and father.

Neglectful Uncle Hoto

DJ Kirkby said...

Sparx, a truer (is a that a word?) sentance has never beenw ritten! you HAVE been paying close attention to my posts about N3S havent you? Can't believe little Mr Know It All starts school on Monday! Have already had the teacher round threatinging not to show up on monday, now you ogotta love that, a teacher with a sense of humour! I think N3S has met his match in her, should be an interesting year...
P.S check out Rain's blog (on my blog roll) great posts about Vanc Island life. *sob*

Sparx said...

Lisa - no no, just a pause for refreshment, good to see you!

Chipper - thanks! Thanks for coming by!

Frog - that's very scary... although not surprising... I remember my brother and I at 13 and being unpredictable was part of the job description! Thanks for visiting.

Elsie - nope, can't believe it - just wait, Betty will be there soon! Good to see you.

Ingeniousrose - thanks, that's so nice of you!

Hoto, you old softie, you're not a neglectful uncle at all. Can't wait to see you.

DJ - that makes me laugh, I'm glad he's got a good teacher to look after him.

Summer Showers said...

Very very late, but Happy Birthday, Charlie! I did intend to remember, but something came up and it's been a month since I've followed up here.

I've been following your blog for a while now, and it's one of my favorites - keep up the writing, you never fail to bring a smile to my face!

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