As we all know, the first birthday is really a party for the parents and you might as well schedule the party during naptime. But you aren’t celebrating any old birthday that happens every year. This first year is a celebration of survival.
Surviving a time when you really thought you might starve your newborn because you forgot to set your alarm to feed him exactly three hours after the last feeding started (which only gave you a 32-minute nap after the feeding took an hour and then it took another hour to put the baby to sleep and then 28 minutes for you to fall asleep).
Surviving a time when you tried to make lunch plans with a friend and after taking 25 minutes to remember all the stuff you should pack in the diaper bag, spending 50 minutes feeding your baby, changing your baby and bundling him in four layers to go outside, your baby poops just as you load him into the car. Yep, surviving that time.
As my son prepares to turn one this week, here are the reasons I’m celebrating… me:
1. I survived spending 12 hours a day alone with a newborn and two sleeping cats.
2. I mastered typing on my phone while breastfeeding. (An even bigger success in the dark.)
3. After week three, I stopped caring that my nipple was known to every waiter and bartender in my neighborhood.
4. I only cried for 5 minutes when I forgot to put on breast pads and my boobs leaked all over Old Navy.
5. My son didn’t ingest any foreign objects severe enough to require an ER visit.
6. I limited middle-of-the-night binge orders on Amazon to twice a week.
7. I figured out how to make baby food and not poison him.
8. I didn’t always buy organic food, and didn’t poison him.
9. I only attended a “few” baby yoga classes for the free childcare.
10. I only fell asleep while breastfeeding every other night (and miraculously never dropped him).
11. My son only peed in my face twice.
12. My son never pooped in the bathtub.
13. My son only face-planted into the ipad screen once during a binge viewing of “Orange is the New Black.”
14. I accepted that poop explosions, OxyClean and laundry replaced girls’ nights of wine and cheese.
15. It only took me seven tries to figure out how to use the Bjorn.
16. We only had one episode of projectile vomiting.
17. I only cried once to the checkout lady in Target.
18. I didn’t forget I had a baby and leave him somewhere.
19. I only wore mismatching shoes to work once.
20. My husband and I didn’t get divorced (and I only thought about it a few times).
21. My son didn’t swallow any cat litter.
22. My son didn’t eat any dog poop.
23. I accepted that I have half a wardrobe that may never fit again.
24. I smiled and pretended it was cute when my son was the only kid shrieking with excitement in the Gymboree class.
25. I only panicked, called my doctor and Googled “why isn’t my child crawling” a few times when my son didn’t crawl until 11 months.
26. My son didn’t fall through the bucket swing.
27. My son only bit one other child.
28. My son didn’t choke — or figured out how to cough it up before it became a dire choking situation.
29. I went to the beach and managed to only burn myself, not the baby.
30. I didn’t lose my job, even though I spent the last 3 weeks planning his birthday party during work hours.
31. I didn’t smother my husband in his sleep, as he slept through our son screaming at 3 am.
32. I didn’t smother him the next morning when he said “The baby was up last night? I didn’t hear anything!”
33. I didn’t smack all the people who asked me if my son was crawling when he wasn’t.
34. My son never once fell off the changing table — even without using that buckle. (Does anyone use that?)
35. I accepted that my saggy boobs and gray hair are a fair trade for an adorable son.
So, happy first birthday to ME!
Jill Ceder is a psychotherapist, writer and mom of two in Brooklyn. You can read more of her parenting writing on Verywell.com (formerly About.com Parenting) or her website. Connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.
This post was originally published on Scary Mommy.