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Yesterday, my little baby girl had one candle on her birthday cupcake.

What an awesome weekend it was! On Friday evening, friends came over and helped bake cupcakes while I was making and baking other goodies. My ‘babaliefie’ was enjoying the pre-party festivities thoroughly and stayed up till 1 am.

I invited friends over on Saturday and family on Sunday. We spent both days ‘kuier’-ing from about 11 am till about 6 pm. ‘Babaliefie’ loved all the attention as she went from lap to lap. She was such a happy, pretty little fairy. Luckily the daymother came by on Saturday at 4 pm. ‘Babaliefie’ got unto her lap and almost instantly fell asleep for the first time during the day.

I’m so grateful when I think about all the blessings and joy we experienced during the past year. I find motherhood incredibly tiring, but my little girl is more delightful than I could ever have imagined. I’m in awe of the amount of love that DH and I have for this tiny, cute and funny little creature.

About two weeks ago I squeezed into my sexiest pair of jeans again. It was the first time I wore them since I fell pregnant with my ‘babaliefie’. I’ve been wearing most of my old clothes again for some time now – sadly, including my tiny bra’s. (How I miss those exuberant breastfeeding boobs!) My weight has been back to my pre-pregnancy weight for a few weeks now.

When I looked at myself in my trusty pair of jeans, I realized that my body felt as if it had never been pregnant. It’s a strange thought. My baby angel is living proof that my whole life has been turned upside down, yet my body had forgotten all about it already. (OK, all those spider veins that appeared on my legs during pregnancy tell a story of their own, but still, they don’t make my body feel any different.)

I guess I’m lucky. On the other hand, I miss the softness of my post-pregnancy body. Since I’m thin as a rake, I felt wonderfully sexy and curvy during pregnancy and breastfeeding. And yet, it also feels nice and familiar to have my own ass back again. To be ‘just me’ again.

Later on that skinny jeans day, I almost forgot to pick up my baby angel at daycare! It’s the first time that my mind was so focused on other things that auto-pilot driving caused me to miss the turnoff to the daymother. I felt guilty for a few moments, but then I realized I didn’t have to. It was as wonderful as always to see my baby’s face again when I arrived at the daymother. It’s just that I finally seem able to immerse myself in my own life again to some extent – that is my life away from my precious baby.

Someday I hope to teach my baby angel how to fly high, high, high and as far away as she needs to in order to reach her dreams. It’s the most beautiful, but also the saddest thought.

It’s reassuring to realize there should still be a ‘me’ left behind on the day that my beautiful baby leaves the nest. A doting mother, yet someone with some hopes and dreams of her own.

The quiet little cherub that was content to view the world from a particular spot on the bed or floor is now a distant memory. During shopping trips and outings, my little ‘babaliefie’ is now a squirming little octopus that’s magically able to reach far beyond what seems humanly possible.

At 9 months, my little fairy is already 75 cm long (as long as the average 13 month old baby girl), yet weighs in at a petite 8.3 kg. She loves her food and is also drinking 2 to 4 bottles a day. She seems happy, healthy and (if you ask me!) gorgeous.

She’s never slept well, but we’ve had an exceptionally trying month. Since breastfeeding came to a halt (due to the downward spiral of lack of demand and lack of supply), she started waking up at night and would simply fail to settle again, sometimes for as long as two or three hours! If I would turn on the light, she’d be so incredibly happy and excited to see me. Exasperated, I started giving her a bottle in the night and that seems the only way to get her asleep again. (She has NO teeth yet, so at least I’m not worried about the effect of this on her teeth..)

It’s also been harder to get her to fall asleep. Lately she pushes herself into sitting when I put her down in her cot at night – and then she just wants to play some more! I’ve come to view the time it takes to get her drowsy as our special time together though, so I don’t mind ‘working’ a bit to get her asleep.

I’ve been quiet lately as juggling motherhood, work and part-time studies is taking its toll. After a bad night, I sometimes feel as if I’m hanging onto sanity for dear life! DH is talking about ttc number two, I feel exhausted just thinking about that.

Still, I can never wait to pick up my ‘babaliefietjie’ from daycare in the afternoon. It’s my favourite moment of the day – seeing her little face again after all those long hours apart.

DH and I love her with wild abandon, this perfect, funny little angel of ours.

As a wonderful an adventure as motherhood has been, the sleep deprivation has been a tough challenge.

Till about last week, my LO was still waking up for a feed at 1 am and another at 4 am on just about every night – occasionally less or more (!) times. I’m someone who needs more sleep than most. In fact, my in-laws sometimes teased me about such a sleepyhead.

During the past months I often felt like a zombie, barely able to function. (Once I accidentally paid one month’s salary over into my Pilates instructor’s account, instead of into my husband’s. Whoops! Luckily she repaid most of it, thank goodness!)

So bring out the champagne! Last night LO slept through the night and she also did so the night before without needing a feed. She only needed her dummy a few times and would then drift back to sleep instantly.

It feels as if I’m going to get a large part of myself back once she starts sleeping through regularly.

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