And just like that... he's one! If he wasn't sitting in front of me, then I'm not sure I would believe it. Over the past month, I have watched as he's gone from being a baby to a toddler - he's so big and robust now, and when I think back to what a tiny, delicate scrap of a thing he was this time last year, my heart feels like it might split in two.
I know every mother thinks this about their own child, but I'm pretty sure that Benjamin is the greatest human who has ever lived. I'm not sure there could be a more perfect baby. We are mostly set in the decision that we are 'one and done' so I have been trying to savour this baby stage even more than perhaps I would have, knowing I might never do it again. There are some bits that I will not miss, like sterilising a million bottles and changing a million nappies, but for the most part, it has been a very sweet experience being Benjamin's mother, and that is so much down to him.
He has been so chilled out from the beginning, and although his mischievous side is starting to come out now that he's really on the move (oh boy, it will not be long before he is walking), he still has the most pleasant nature. He is often happy to just stand and open and close his toybox for ages as I sit and knit and watch him. He will sit and 'read' books on his own, and for the first time ever has started to 'watch' cartoons with us when he is sleepy and needing a break.
It was my greatest joy to pick him up from nursery last week and have them tell me how smiley and happy he had been, and how they were so in love with this giggly, playful little boy. I feel like they are finally seeing the Benjamin that I see, and it warms my heart. He is always so quick with his smiles and laughter at home, going into hysterics at the silliest of things and giving himself hiccups every time.
I didn't have a baby for the baby stage; I love baby cuddles and the sweet smell of a baby's head, but I had a baby so that I could have a kid - a kid who could understand me, and talk to me, and join in with all of my crazy schemes (most of which involve baking something sugary...). And now I feel like I can see that kid starting to come through, and it's so exciting. He's learning so much every day - from patting his head on command to 'celebrating' with us by cheering with his little pudgy arms in the air, to copying the sounds of words (in the very loosest sense of the word - we're a long way off talking!). He went from being a bit useless on the gross motor skills front to doing everything except walking in one month - he's pulling himself up, cruising, sitting up from lying down and proudly parading around when you hold his hands any chance he can get. He amazes me every day, and I am so, so lucky that he's mine.