Tomorrow is Arielle's first birthday. Being the second child, you might think the significance of first birthday might fade a little. But no, not in this case.
The past one year, I felt like I struggled really hard. And got stressed up a lot. The general success in the short 18 months of parenthood we had with Anya right up till Arielle's birth boosted our confidence. We thought raising children was our thing. And then, God gave us Arielle to humble us. The early days of her drinking woes, the persistent crying, her heightened sensitivity to light, sound (and her elder sister), her inconsolable bawling every time she falls sick gave me twofold of grey hair within a year, as well as constant fretting and panic attacks. And that is just me. I have yet to start on the Husband.
Seeing how much difficulties I had dealing with Arielle, the Husband had to spend more time at home with Anya while I focus on Arielle. It was not easy for him - to be constantly torn between work and family, worrying over Arielle, and to continue win favors from people at work when you are not there as much as people would like you to be.
Therefore, having braved through 365 days (after tomorrow), we think it marks great significance to us. We like to think that the worse part of what we call Project: Desensitising Arielle is over. We trust that in the coming year, things will only get better and better. Especially when she starts to talk and is able to articulate her thoughts, surely she will improve by leaps and bounds. It calls for celebration and thanksgiving because we don't think we could come this far without drawing strength, wisdom and joy from our Father day after day. My junior college years was the last time I was this fretful. Then, I was grappling with the loss of a relationship that did not work out and studies that went downhill. I was on the verge of depression (doctor's words, not mine).This time round, I know that if not for the presence of The Lord in our lives, I might have lost it.
We are so thankful for our cell group members and close friends who rallied around us, constantly praying for us and Arielle, sussing words of wisdom and always so encouraging. Our apologies though, that we could not hold a celebration together with all you for this occasion so dear to us because with the preparation for the new house and such, we are up to our neck and organizing one is simply beyond us.
And for the birthday girl. We think it is quite a feat for her that she has come this far.
Our darling little Arielle, Daddy and Mommy are so proud of you. For every child, it takes a degree of effort to cross milestones. With your heightened sensitivity, your intense disposition, you seem to require more crying, more fussing, more getting used to before you grow to accept to a new idea / new ways of doing things.
In retrospect, perhaps it was also why you took six months just to get use to the idea to drinking milk. What came naturally to other babies (hunger = drink milk) was beyond comprehension for you. Or rather, you would not even seek to comprehend. You were so upset every time we stuck a boob / bottle to you that you were more concerned with crying and making your displeasure known than to register your own hunger.
And so, our little mushroom head, we think you are a real trooper! Although there is no big party to mark your special day, Daddy has especially taken a day off tomorrow just so we can spend some quality time. Your Jiejie has also prepared a nice present waiting for you to rip it open tomorrow. No worries though, I'm sure she will help. And then there's also your Ah Gong, Ah Ma, Gonggong, Porpor, and your uncles, aunties and cousins who are looking forwards to celebrate with you this weekend. together. Even Aunt M is looking forward to celebrating with you and has choose not to go for her leave on Sunday. We hope you will have a blast and keep on growing. We love you lots and sweetheart, in case you think otherwise - no, it was no trouble at all.