To my dearest Finley,
It’s a strange time right now. The coronavirus (COVID-19) has got us in lockdown. Schools are closed to everyone except key worker family. Most work places are closed and we can only leave the house for essentials. Not everyone is playing by the rules…that’s the reason we’re in lockdown in the first place.
Today is your birthday. Your 1st birthday and instead of spending the weekend at soft play with friends and being spoilt with attention from all your family at our garden party, you’re in lockdown at home instead. The positive is that we’re all here…Mummy, Daddy and your big brother. I know you’re 1 and won’t remember this. I guess the first birthday is more for us parents. It’s a big milestone and time for me to reminisce over the last year.
What I want from today is for you to look back through the many photo and see that we tried. We couldn’t give you the party your brother had but we showered you with love and made the day all about you.
The last year has gone by so fast. It’s a cliche but it’s true. I remember when I was pregnant and I worried about everything: how was your autistic brother going to deal with all this? How will I love someone else as much as your brother? What if something goes wrong? Will I cope with two children?
I needn’t have worried so much…
Your birth was much simpler (although longer) than your brothers. I enjoyed it (?) more than before. You helped replace a lot of my negative experiences with happier ones. The second you were born I loved you. Each day I loved you more and more. My heart doubled in size and I easily loved you both equally.
As for your brother…I won’t lie the first I month was challenging. I felt guilty for that. I felt like I had just turned his world upside down. He struggled with the routine changes and having to share his time with me and Daddy. He really didn’t like when you poo’d and would hide under the kitchen table. He didn’t really acknowledge you. But he loved you. He would talk about you to everyone. He quickly learnt your routines and made sure people stuck to them.
A year on and your brother is your biggest fan. He just wants to make you happy, to cuddle you and praise you when you do something clever. He’s taken to being ‘big bro’ so well.
You are such a little character. Everyone who meets you comments on how big you are. You’ve always looked older…longer. In the last year you have had your challenges. You’ve coped with a milk allergy and tomorrow we start the milk reintroduction ladder. You’ve panicked me by not quite meeting milestones and a referral to paediatrics but then you had a week where you just seemed to do everything at once. I’m not ‘scared’ that you’ll be autistic like your big brother. It’s not something to be scared of, but I would like you to not have to go through all the difficulties he has had to face in just the last 5 years.
You are a big fan of music. You love singing and action songs. You love mummy to scoop you up and dance with you. Your favourite has been Row the Boat for a very long time now. You love your Tumble Tot sessions (which Mummy is missing right now) and I’m excited for them to see how you’ve come on in the last couple of weeks.
Today we celebrated by staying safe at home. We opened presents (with your brothers help) and played in the garden. We had fun with bubbles and the grass and the water. We had take away for dinner (although limited choices as most places are closed) and got both sets of Grandparents on video chat so we could all sing happy birthday (rather untunefully) together.
One is a big milestone. One of many more to come. Thank you for helping repair some of my emotional damage from J’s traumatic entrance in the world. Thank you for making J such a loving big brother. Thank you for making me smile even when the tiredness and stresses of parenting kick in.
Is anyone celebrating a lockdown birthday? What’s your plans? Ever made a icing sugar free birthday cake before? Find out how ours went over on Instagram.