Cal took his first steps two weeks ago, at fourteen and a half months. He started moving around holding onto furniture a while back and then a month ago was walking with the aid of a push along walker, but was still not confident enough to go it alone. All of that changed one Monday morning when he got up and walked. Only about five steps but he walked all on his own. In the last two weeks his movement has gone from a nervous wobble to a confident strut. I am so happy with his development but a little sad that he is no longer a baby. When I watched him walked across the sitting room today I got a little pang in my heart. My little baby boy is growing up. It may seem strange to say this but with each step I imagined him growing from a boy to a man and no longer being dependant on ‘Mama’. I know that this is years away yet and I am being totally dramatic, but on a serious note, it is true what people say, that you blink and they are all grown up. Time passes really quickly when you have kids.
But watching a child’s development is so amazing. To watch them grow from a helpless little creature a few short months ago to a strong little toddler. I am in awe of life when I look at Cal.
I feel so lucky that I have been able to spend so much time with my little boy over the summer. The Today Show, which I present on RTE 1, came off air for the season at the end of April. Since them I have spent nearly every day with Cal. We went to my home place of Inis Mor for a month. The Island is so beautiful and so safe and the freedom children have is amazing. The surrounding nature, which I took for granted, growing up there totally fascinated Cal. He loved all the wild birds and the cows and goats. I couldn’t believe how observant he was. My mother brought him out to play in the fields and showed him all the different kinds of birds. The sound of the cuckoo really captivated him. I love that sound myself. We always knew that summer had come as kids when the cuckoo arrived on the Island. After a week he could say ‘birdie’ and wanted to go and see them every morning, even when he woke up at 5am!
We always grow our own vegetables on the island, and we are lucky enough to get lovely fish from our neighbours. Cal was spoilt for choice with new foods to try. He ate a little bit of fresh mackerel, but his favourite new food to try was lobster, which was literally out of the sea for an hour when he ate it. I couldn’t believe when he gobbled it all up. But I don’t always find it that easy to get him to eat fish, especially oily fish which is so important for omega 3 and also vitamin D. You have to be creative to get them to enjoy fish. A great recipe in the first 1000 days cookbook is Salmon fish fingers with wedges, roasted carrot and parsnip. Cal loves the crunchiness of the fish fingers and the sweetness of the veg. It’s a big hit for me.
The summer has literally flown and I am back to work next month. Cal is so different from the tiny little bundle I handed over to my childminder this time last year. He has grown into a strong and witty little toddler. The only problem is that I have spent so much time with him over the last four months that there may be more that a few tears when I have to part with him this year. But that is the choice I have made; and I know it won’t be long before Cal and I settle into our routines once again.