Emotions are running high this week. Not only am I going back to work, but little miss is turning one, leading to all manner of nostalgia. What a year we have had. I am so proud of my little princess. She came into this world on her own terms (no everyone, I am not moving my head from this comfortable position, I don’t care if it’s meant to be down there) and has shown her determined, independent little spirit from day dot. Here are five of my proudest moments this last year.

Recovering from jaundice
Our little miss was born at just 2.5kg. A tiny little dot. So, when a mild case of jaundice was recognised early on the doctors didn’t want to take any chances, meaning she was to spend 24 hours under UV lights instead of making her way home with her Mumma and Dadda as planned. It was heart-wrenching. For those 24 hours we couldn’t cuddle her. Our physical contact was limited to bottom wiping and breastfeeds that I had to beg to be allowed to continue. It was with much joy we took our foamy bottomed little tot out of the crib and into our arms when she was just four days old.

Putting on 120 grams in a day
Most first-time parents doubt themselves … a lot! And, when you have hospital staff constantly monitoring how your baby is performing from the moment they pop out, that doubt tends to snowball. For us, the biggest worry was missy’s weight. Yes, she was tiny. This meant that any weight loss was cause for worry with the health professionals. After losing too much weight in hospital and an extended stay we were allowed to go home. But then, the weight didn’t pile on. The health nurses upped their visiting times. Looking back, I’m not sure what they were going to do if she was too light – take her away from me? I think not. But at the time, I was filled with anxiety, madly pumping my sore, swollen breasts to get more milk to top up my little girl who was too sleepy to drink from me. And then, just as the health professionals and mummy and daddy were beginning to feel really concerned, she puts on not 20 grams, as was required, but 120 grams in a day! Champion little girl. Always doing things in her own time.

Sitting on her own
I never thought I’d be the type of person that cried whenever my child learned something new. I’ve always prided myself on carrying around a certain degree of cynicism everywhere I go – nobody told me that it’s impossible to extend that cynicism to your child. The day little miss sat on her own was pretty ordinary. She had been trying to do it for some time. What was extraordinary was the proud, disbelieving look on her face when she realised what she had done. That look alone brought on Mummy’s tears and the realisation that my little girl is going to grow up in a blink of an eye.

Related: Five things I’ve achieved in my first year as a parent

Pointing at Daddy and saying “Dad dad”
Watching your child grow is amazing. People complain that small babies don’t do much. They really don’t. But when you’re a parent even a small sneeze is entertaining. But that little sneeze is nothing compared to the time your child starts to be able to communicate. I think if you go back to the scene of the event you might find a puddle from where my husband’s heart melted when missy, unprovoked, pointed her finger at him and announced, “Dad dad”. Amazing.

Waving goodbye to Mum at childcare
This one was equally pride-inducing and heartbreaking. I was very nervous about leaving little miss at childcare. I thought she’d cry as I left. I thought she’d wonder why mum was leaving her with all these strangers. Instead, as I leaned down and said “Mumma’s gotta go now” and gave her a kiss, she looked up at me, smiled and waved. Proud Mumma moment. Of course, I later found out she spent a lot of the day in tears, but for that moment she was my independent little lady.

Related: The first hour of the first day of leaving my baby at childcare

Of course, there are loads more moments that I could share with you. The moment she pulled my face to hers and gave me a big kiss, those special cuddles we have after a feed, sleeping on the chest of her Daddy, surviving a 24-hour flight. I think nearly every day is a proud day as a parent, these are just five moments in a lifetime of memories.

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