I cannot believe we have already celebrated Esa’s first birthday. People say that the 1st birthday party is more for the parents than the child and now I see why. It more of the parents celebrating making it through probably one of the most challenging 12 months of their lives. It was like that for us.

We decided to have his party in Cape Town with all his family there as well as some friends too. The best thing we could have ever decided was to hire an events company to handle all logistics and set-up of the party. Living in a different city to where the party would happen would have made things tricky to plan ourselves.

The Theme

Esa’s current obsession (and I’m sure they’ll still be many more!) is ‘Spot the Dog’ and it was the theme for his 1st birthday party. This meant that everything from the birthday cake to the party decor was ‘Spot the Dog’ themed.

Prepping Esa for his party

The best advice I could give any parent ahead of their child’s birthday party is to make sure they keep their child to their routine – meals and sleep schedule else you may have an uncontrollable demon on your hands that will be crying in every picture. We made sure Esa had a nice long two hour nap and then lunch before we left to go to his party. He was a little champ and was in good spirits for his entire party.

The secret to a successful kids party

What we learnt from throwing our first kids party is that children don’t need very much or anything complicated to have fun – not at least for the first few years of their lives. The key to a successful kids party is having a jumping castle and a ball pit – have these and the kids will happily occupy themselves for the entire duration of the party. Also, a small kids party should not exceed three hours. Everyone had a fun time and gradually ran out of steam closer to the three hour mark (parents and kids).

What we learnt about being parents this past year

The first year of being a new mom is a baptism of fire – at least for me it was. It was filled with so many ups and downs. But I wouldn’t change a thing about it. Seeing my son grow and change over the last 12 months has been a privilege.

As a new mom, the first six months was very challenging because I struggled to breastfeed my baby, then expressing and then learning to let go of the guilt of resorting to bottle feeding him. All the while, my little baby was thriving and happy. In those first few months Esa got bad flu and we were so worried about him – this taught us that babies are alot more resilient than we think they are, as new parents we fear everything and feel that any seemingly negative thing our child encounters is a reflection on our ability to be good parents but it really isn’t. Children will get sick and a quick trip to the GP and some meds, they will bounce back. Don’t stress too much.

Whatever you do, don’t go overboard with the toys – there were so many toys we bought Esa and he still preferred playing with all the plastic containers and lunch boxes. Basically anything that was not a toy, that’s what he would have gravitated to i.e tv remotes, cellphones, empty boxes etc.

One area of his needs I was quite determined to do to the best of my ability was his solid food. He started on solids at 4 months old and this is seen as controversial in some mommy circles as some believe you should wait till six months to introduce solids – Esa showed the classic signs of solid food readiness at 4 months old and already started teething and got his first two teeth before his 5th month. I made all his solid food and I truly believe this was the best I could have done for him. Once you’re in it, it could seem like a lot of work, but honestly those few months of solid food puree preparations goes so quickly, by 9/10 months babies are able to eat everything adults eat (I just held off on really spicy food).

Mother’s wrists also known as mother’s thumb, no books, or experienced moms ever warned me about this, it was only when I experienced it and asked some of my friends about it was when they recollected having ‘mother’s wrists’. The proper medical term for the condition is ‘De Quervain’s – it is a condition in which the tendons from the thumb to the wrist become inflamed and rub against the “tunnel” that encloses them, causing sensations from mild discomfort to severe pain on the thumb side of the wrist. It was hell for me because I basically suffered with the condition for almost six months and had to go for  almost three months of physiotherapy to help heal it. There were times I was unable to hold Esa for long periods of time or even pick him up. I was so glad that by the end of November 2017, it had mostly healed and I could go back to my usual training and picking Esa up without pain.

When we had Esa everyone we spoke to said , “Take lots of pictures, they change so fast.” This is so so true! I looked at the pictures of Esa from when we was just a few hours old to a few months old to now being a one year old toddler and the changes have been exponential! So we totally agree, takes loads of pictures and enjoy them at every age, because it only comes along once and they’ll never be that age again.

Mommy and daddy also need some down time. This is so important, to take some time out for yourself, it doesn’t have to be a ‘date night’ per say, Kashif and I prefer a ‘date day’, sneaking off to catch a movie together or lunch or a quick coffee and catch-up was so great. Even taking timeout on your own is also good, for me, that was having an hour to just go to the gym and workout was so important to my sanity.

This first year with our little Esa has been amazing! It has been so special to see him develop his own personality and grow closer to us. It has just made us so excited to see him grow older and reach his next milestones like walking and saying his first word!


Happy Healthy Fabulous