Cameron’s first birthday

Today is Cameron’s first birthday. He woke at 5:50 and after his feed we had a lovely family snuggle as usual. But when Mom and Dad burst into song, he started looking very wary about this change in routine and he was tentative about opening his presents. We only provided two to unwrap, which judging by his response was a good call. Any more would have been a bit much I think! He seems to be finding birthdays quite overwhelming so far and has passed out for a morning nap.


For my part (and Colin’s to a lesser degree) I am finding it an emotional experience. In fact, I’ve been emotional all weekend and have spent a lot of time thinking back to where we were a year ago. Yesterday evening was especially poignant, but then the unexpected timing of Cam’s birth was rather stressful. I now understand why my mom always used to make a big deal over the time I was born, at 17:23 yesterday evening I couldn’t help thinking back to that moment when I saw Cam for the first time. Col and I have spent a lot of time reminiscing and are so grateful for how far we’ve come and for our happy, bouncing little boy.


There is also a part of me that is suddenly feeling a little panicky about the phase we are entering. I’ve gotten to grips with caring for a baby, but Cam is no longer a baby. He is a pretoddler, and judging from the book I’m reading (On Becoming Pre-Toddlerwise), that’s a whole other creature. Take this paragraph for example:

Ah yes, the mobile pretoddler. There is no question that a pretoddler’s mom is a tired mom, and for good reason. The emotional and physical energy needed to supervise an energy-packed tot can take down even the most physically-fit mom. If your pretoddler happens to be a boy, add fifty percent more energy into the equation. Yes, is it true, never so beautiful does this child look to his weary parents as he does when he closes his eyes at night in sleep.

At which point my eyes steadfastly refused to close and I spent a few hours thinking over all manner of challenges that are about to rear their strong-willed heads. But then I remembered how utterly overwhelming bringing Cameron home was and how much I’ve grown as a mom in the last year. Just yesterday, on our way back from the zoo, Colin and I were remarking on how comfortable we are taking Cam out now. It’s really no big deal but those first few outings we did with him certainly were! Parents, we have learned, are amazingly adaptive creatures.

About a month ago I was struggling with the fact that Cameron is at the end of his baby phase. In some ways it’s gone so fast and one can never get that time back again. But as I’ve been preparing for his party, I started to get excited (bunting and baking will do that to this creative spirit). The next phase is going to be filled with mind-boggling change and development and it’s going to be exciting to watch. Exhausting yes, but exciting too. Bring it on!

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Cam’s first trip to the zoo

In celebration of Cameron’s first birthday, which is tomorrow, today we took him to the zoo for the first time. The Pretoria Zoo is the biggest in South Africa and I was pretty impressed really. For a start, it’s huge! We strolled for three hours and didn’t cover it all. They have a much bigger selection of animals than I thought they would and the whole place seems to be well maintained. The only criticism I have is that human snacks and beverages were hard to come by. You are allowed to take your own food in, which I think most people do, and so the kiosks and cafes aren’t well stocked at all. But next time we’ll just take our own picnic and that will solve that problem.

Cameron seemed to enjoy the experience but it must be said that he was more interested in the people than the animals. Second favorites were the birds and then the Gibbon monkeys, although he may just have been feeding off his dad’s enthusiasm for the latter! He loved the aquarium too.

It was a happy morning out and Col and I had a lovely time reminiscing over the last year while we walked around. But more on that tomorrow …