Reflections on the First Year

My little treasure Mary just turned 1 years old in mid-December.  I don’t know where the time went.  I know everyone says that, but it truly seems to just slip through your fingers while you’re busy kissing your baby, changing diapers and pouring yourself a third coffee to get through the days where you only slept four hours the night before.

The first few weeks were an exhausted blur of feedings, visits to the change-table, social calls, and appointments.  I had my daughter on a Friday night and was running on adrenaline until Tuesday morning.  I just couldn’t sleep and it made it hard to adjust in the weeks that followed.  The fact that she was born just before Christmas didn’t help in the fatigue department.  Luckily I was able to opt out of my usual tradition of hosting family at our house!

I found the early months to be a learning curve.  I was amazed at all the changes occurring – mostly physically at this point.  She was more or less a cute little lump that I could carry around with me wherever I went.  Despite the routine feedings and lack of sleep –I didn’t find that my life changed that much.

Cue 6 months and my little charmer seemed to be really coming into her personality.  She was sitting well and interested in other people.  She could easily recognize family and friends and wouldn’t shy away from sharing smiles at her weekly playgroup.  She loved music and reading.

I found the really fun times (and trouble!) started around 8 months as she became more and more aware of the world around her and interested in exploring through crawling and emptying cupboards and drawers.  We started attending “Babytime” at the local library and she absolutely loved it.  I couldn’t believe the look in her eyes as she stared at the rows and rows of books.  Complete glee!  Yes, she loves to be read to, but I think she also enjoyed the idea of pulling all the books down…

At 12 months, she’s Miss Independence – She’s taken her first steps, she can communicate through words or actions and she’s sleeping in a “daybed” rather than her crib.  She’s come a long way from her days as Mommy’s tag-along because now I am chasing her around!  And as she hits certain happy milestones, she’s reached others – tantrums, separation anxiety, etc., that are teaching moments for both parent and child.

What the first year has taught me is that this little being is my priority in life.  Parenting is harder but better than I ever imagined it could be.  With the combination of reflecting on the first year and having Christmas upcoming, I am committed to making sure that when she looks back on her childhood years from now that she remembers special moments with her parents more than any item unwrapped after birthday cake or found under the Christmas tree.  I know that our time and attention are the best, and most crucial, gift that we can give her.

What are your happiest childhood memories?

Samantha lives in Stittsville with her husband, Jon, and their daughter, Mary. Samantha works full-time for the federal government and also enjoys writing part-time. She is a contributing writer for Ottawa Parenting Times Magazine and Ottawa West End Living.


  • I feel the same way. This year has gone by way too quick. Soon we will be celebrating my little girl’s first birthday. I’m just cherishing every single moment with her.

  • Marie

    In many ways my own childhood memories are but a distant past…each day I spend and enjoy with my son, who is now 13 reminds me of how blessed I am to have him. i tell him every day ‘you are the love of my life”…and i mean it! Enjoy the early years Samantha because they truly are what forms the amazing bond between you and your child. At 13 my son and I are very close and while I’m working at letting him go, he knows and I remind him that I will always be his safety net.

  • Samantha Ball

    Hi Marie, I understand the “love of my life” comments – I find myself telling Mary that more and more! 🙂
    Congrats Isa on the first year!