A couple of weeks ago my precious firstborn turned 10. Double figures. It felt like such a huge milestone I spent the morning looking at old photos and crying!!
I can remember 10 years ago so clearly. I remember crying when her dad went back to work, overwhelmed with the huge responsibility of keeping this little person alive on my own. She was a difficult baby and I was a new mother. The days were long and so were the nights. I didn't have any friends with children so we spent our days together. When she got a bit older I braved some classes, we made some friends. We struggled together through this new journey we were taking. I did everything for her, she became my reason for being. I gave up my career because I couldn't bear to be apart from her. She completely changed my life.
10 years on I can't believe I was ever worried about looking after her. Looking back we had some wonderful days together, just the two of us we had a lot of freedom that we don't have now. 10 years on she's a wonderful, feisty, independent girl. I know that I could trust her with anything and she is very reliable. She's still my little best buddy. She's turning into a teenager, there is no doubt about that but she'll occasionally snuggle up with me, like she did 10 years ago when it was just the two of us.
Parenting her is still difficult, I think it always will be, because she is the first. Every new stage offers a new challenge. 10 years ago I worried about what to do with nappy rash and how to trim her little nails. Now I worry about how much television to let her watch and whether she should be on social media. She has it hard, we'll have figured these things out by the time her siblings are her age, but she's our maiden voyage, and I hope we continue to get things right.
So in honour of 10 years with my beautiful girl I'm sharing a photo of her in each of these years. I desperately miss the younger girl in these photos but I also love the girl she has turned into, and I can't wait to find out what sort of girl she'll grow into. Here's to the next 10 years, may they go a little slower than the first.
This was taken at a photoshoot at our house when she was only a couple of months old. She actually was dribbling here but I asked them to airbrush it out!!
This was taken at one of our Sign and Sign classes. She loved these and I've taken the younger two to them too. She could sign from a very early age it used to really impress everyone!
I love how happy and chunky she looks here! We are in a fabulous cafe in Cardiff here, which sadly is closing down soon - it was one of my favourite places to take her.
I love how her eyes are filled with happiness here. She has her whole life ahead of her. She was a little monkey at 3 - we struggled with potty training and I ended up having to bribe her with dressing up outfits in exchange for using the potty!
At 4 she became a big sister. She had been so desperate for a little sister, I was so happy when her sister was born and she had what she wanted. She was brilliant with her and a real help to me (she still is now).
She's starting to thin out in this picture, she's lost that chubby baby fat face. I remember she absolutely loved dresses and everything girly. Completely unlike her now!
She loved (and still does) going to school. She always looked so smart and loved having a bow in her hair. She's still got her baby teeth in this picture, I always think they look so much more grown up when their adult teeth come in.
At 7 she became a big sister again - this time to a little brother! She thought he was going to be a girl (and I think she wanted him to be too!). She was absolutely delighted with him though. She is brilliant with him still, she has so much patience with him and in many ways they get on better than she does with her sister. I often think that having a third baby would have been hard if it wasn't for her keeping me company and helping me out. Oh and look at those adult teeth!
She looks here like the Bean I know today. She stopped wearing dresses and wanted everything to be blue! She broke her front tooth which I was so sad about and it's had a lot of repairs to date!
Just look how old she looks here! She started to find out about the realities of life a bit by now. She has struggled with friends, struggled at school, worried about things. Life isn't as simple as it was when she was 3. That shiny happy eyed look has gone. Not because anything particularly bad has happened - she's just grown up. She's also forged brilliant friendships, excelled academically and turned into the responsible, sensible girl she is today. A world away from that little baby she was 10 years ago. If I could have looked forward when she was born and known that she would be who she is today I would know that I was doing something right.
I love you so, so much darling girl. Here's to the next 10 years, although I probably won't be allowed to share photos of you when you are 20!