Turning A Year Old

Saturday, 7 March 2009

I will never forget the day both my children turned one.

More than any of the precious birthday anniversaries to ensue, there is something about turning one that changes everything. It is a morphing from infanthood to childhood. It is a milestone time of enormous leaps and bounds. It is a time to celebrate an emerging personality and individuality, slowly unfurling and spreading its lanky legs into the world.

When my daughter Ella turned one, she almost instantly began to show semblance of becoming a “girl” – the girl she is today. Within weeks, she was stretching her dimpled baby hand from the shopping trolley, swiping at anything sparkly, bedazzled or pink-glitzed. This astounded me, as I had only ever dressed her in neutral colors since birth – without a trace of tizz, feather boa or rhinestone. M7 also showed almost immediate preference for anything art-related, clutching plump crayons in her fists long before she could scrawl and wriggling her fat, nappy-padded behind to funky music and pointing with bubbling glee at anything even remotely resembling a fairy, mermaid or princess.

When my son Riley turned one, he took to his feet suddenly. A calm, amiable and sweet baby, within weeks he was off and running, and with this transition, the sugar coating rapidly dissolved and suddenly, rough-tumblingly, we had a fast-tracked, fiercely independent and somewhat energetic boy on our hands, who ceaselessly began to challenge every parenting skill Xiansheng (husband) and I had ever initiated with Ella.

Yes, turning one is a milestone.

Fast forward several years and, thankfully, it’s not all fluff and glitz with Ella, who is also a clever, deep thinking and enormously compassionate child. And the sugar coating Riley left behind still intently lingers in that sweet, baby-smelling place at the nook of his neck, in his doe-like eyelashes and the pure affection and self-effacement he imparts, even as a roustabout young boy.

Another thing I will never forget when my kids turned one is the influx of thoughts and wishes written inside the gift cards of so many people – from the checkout chick at the supermarket to my mother-in-law’s neighbors. Amongst these lovely wishes, however, it was my sister-in-law Margot who wrote something very special. Instead of congratulating our children on achieving this one year milestone, she congratulated Xiansheng and me. For getting through that very first life-altering year. For forging the vital bonds in our family so selflessly, for supporting each other let alone the positive wellbeing and development of our babies. It was a stunning gift to receive this acknowledgement and it’s something that remains precious to us, even now.

This month, tbjkids turns one year old. Like a child, the magazine has grown and developed though its first year into a unique and wonderful personality. But it has taken the dedication and responsibility of many affectionate and loving ‘parents’ to raise it to one year old. In this regard, I would like to offer my congratulations to all who have participated in this treasured time – from conception to first birthday. And congrats also go to tbjkids readers, for the added and vital support that makes the life of any one-year-old so rich with reward.

First published on the beijingkids website.

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