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I can’t believe that nearly a year has passed since William was born and since my last post! On the eve of his first birthday I thought I would reflect back on an amazing 12 months and our journey as new parents.

William was born on the 16th of April 2013. He was four and a half weeks early. Maybe he was too excited to wait! Alana and I were stoked and once we got home we settled into a good home routine. The first week at home was a blur. Alana and I had to remind each other whether we had eaten breakfast, lunch and dinner. I am sure there are many other parents out there that can relate! Luckily for us we were very well supported by both sides of our family. William had been in special care for nearly two weeks but came home and was a good and regular feeder and sleeper. The first few weeks at home were very special and I really enjoyed feeling him sleep on my chest on the lounge.

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During the first three months we had lots of special visits from family and friends. William grew quickly. He began the awesome habit of sleeping well through the night (only waking once or twice and easily settled). Alana became a fantastic mum. She is a natural. Funnily enough it took us both a while to get used to being called ‘mum’ and ‘dad’ or even considering ourselves as parents. But as our bond with William quickly grew so did the concept of our parenthood and the joys, challenges, responsibilities and triumphs that come with it. Parents really dont sell how good it is to be a parent. Everyone hears how much sleep you dont get, how messy the last nappy was and how painful the delivery was. But until you go through the process I dont think you realise how special and individual and life changing it will be.

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William was a great little baby although I did have restrain my enthusiasm to go on adventures with the little man in his first few nurturing months. Too much stimulation can affect infants growth and they need lots of cuddles, food and rest to develop. I loved taking him for walks in the pram and sling. I remember Alana and my first meal out at a restaurant after William was born. Im sure we had packed and repacked a million things we didnt need but thats all part of learning. William was a cruisey and happy little man.

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After six months we enjoyed the daily rituals of smiles at nappy time, cuddles, massages and time on the floor. Alana returned back to work and recieved incredible support from her employers who allowed her to bring William and his portable cot into the office. Alana’s mother supported us immeasurably and provided childcare on 3 days. William has a strong bond with his oma (Alana’s parents have dutch and danish heritage) and gets time with my parents and family too. I will never forget hearing William laughing for the first time. He would (and still does) have us in hysterics when he would laugh at us, or our pet dog, ‘Muscles’ or other random noises or events.

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William came on road trips with us to visit family and friends and is a big part of our lives. He has come to visit my preschool and was star attraction on our dress up day last year! When surfboat season started we had to organise our weekly schedule around dual work, training and competitions. William and Alana are well loved in our surfclub and have been to many surfboat carnivals and events including awards nights, fundraising and dinners.

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I am so grateful that I have been able to continue the sport I love. I continued training at my crossfit gym for about four weeks after William was born but the training clashed with surfboats and Alana supported me to “pick my favourite” and prioritise family and work time. My rowing team and club had a busy season competing in several major national interstate competitions with good success. Our season finished two weeks ago at the Australian Titles in Perth, WA. I am glad the season is over. I have more home time and have started sneaking back to crossfit classes. Alanas sporting season has started now. She plays netball and trains at the gym 4 days per week. She also pulls her weight as mother and breadwinner! Super mum?

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Over the past few months William has become more and more active and vocal. He is fascinated with moving things (cars, planes, birds, people), his favourite toys are pegs, coins and paper. He is super responsive to people and can turn the charm on with big smiles and laughter. He has learned to clap and gives beautiful cuddles. He crawls, climbs and looks ready to walk on the eve of his first birthday. I love to wrestle and roll with him and I regularly make a fool of myself singing, pulling faces and walking down the street towing him on his ride-on digger. William babbles and only seems to get upset when he runs out of food! Teething at the moment has given him and us a shock to the system with disrupted sleep but we look forward to toothy grins in the next few months!

So as I sit down to start assembling William’s first bike I think back on the top moments in the past twelve months and smile. Parenthood is an intensely personal and special journey and we have a lot to be grateful for. So thankyou to all our friends, family and those who have supported us over the past twelve months, sorry to our neighbours! And happy birthday to William for tomorrow!

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