'The prospect of Christmas is thrilling.' The 8 most unexpected delights from the first year of parenting.

Becoming a parent is one of the most indescribable experiences on earth. It’s emotional, intense, difficult and scary

Everyone – from your sister to the postman to strangers on the Internet – will tell you that you need to prepare yourself to have everything you know about the world turned on its head.

They aren’t wrong. But they might forget to tell you that the first year of parenting is also, in no uncertain terms, a complete delight.

Watch: Horoscopes As New Mums. Story continues after video.

Video via Mamamia.

1. The first time they make you laugh. 

Every expectant parent knows that the first time your baby laughs will be one of the most glorious moments of your life. But you might not know that it’s a two-way street - one day, from nowhere, your beloved child will do something so ridiculous and hysterical that you will quite frankly lose your mind. 

Forget every Netflix comedy special you have on your to-watch list: watching a little person try to eat mashed pumpkin with a spoon is all the comic relief you’ll ever need. 

2. The first time you share a celebration.

By the time we reach adulthood, most of us have learned what to expect from Christmas, Easter and our birthdays. It doesn’t mean they aren’t enjoyable, but most families are following the same patterns year after year without much variation. 


That all changes with a new baby in the mix: suddenly, the prospect of Easter egg hunts is thrilling again, and singing Christmas carols is more joyful than you can remember since you were a child yourself. Watching celebratory traditions shift and mould around your baby is one of the very greatest gifts of new parenthood.

3. The first long stretch of sleep. 

HALLELUJAH! As we all know, because everyone loves to tell new parents this, sleep deprivation is a form of torture. Is that a helpful thing to say? I don’t personally think so! In a way, affirming that someone is being tortured probably makes things a lot worse! But I digress. 

The bottom line is, that first uninterrupted sleep is total bliss - until, of course, you wake up with no idea where you are or what your name is and ruin the whole thing by thundering into your child’s room in a blind panic to check they’re still breathing. (They are). 

Image: Supplied


4. The first time you do 'The Thing' without thinking about it. 

Every new parent has The Thing: that one daunting parenting task that seems to take more time and energy than you actually possess in the moment you’re required to do it. For me, it was getting the baby from the pram into the car, and then getting the pram into the boot. 

The Thing, for me, required so much forethought and planning that I was often tempted to stay home rather than attempt it at all. It was literally impossible, until one day, without thinking, I origami-ed that baby into that car seat and that pram into the boot like a seasoned professional. WHAM BAM THANK YOU MA’AM! As a self-nominated expert, I am now available to assist new parents with any pram or car-seat related concerns.

5. The first time they say your name.

I’m cheating a little bit here, because I think most parents-to-be expect this to be a wonderful moment, but let me tell you a secret: it is so much better than you can even imagine. 

It’s not only seeing your previously helpless little one start to use language to navigate their world, but also the concrete proof that their world really does revolve around you – that you, their parent, are their safe space, their confidant and their best friend. Because of all the words in the world, they’ve chosen the one that means you.


6. The first time they try a food they love.

Starting solids can be hit-and-miss, but the first time your baby loves a food, you’re going to know about it. Watching their little eyes widen as they really take pleasure in eating for the first time is nothing short of miraculous – you can just see them thinking “so this is what all the fuss is about!”.

7. The first time they fit into their 'big kid' clothes.

It’s an indisputable fact of life that, at every baby shower, a friend or family member will gift the parents-to-be an item of clothing so absolutely enormous that it defies logic. This enormous piece of clothing will live in the bottom drawer, forgotten, until one day, it occurs to you to see if it fits and it turns out… you’ve left it a little late and it’s actually a bit tight now.

Your teensy tiny little baby is now getting around in a pair of overalls you once considered closer to your own size than theirs! Can you even believe it? (You can’t).

Image: Supplied


8. The fact that things are delightful at all.

There is so much content out there which tells new parents that the first year of parenting is HARD. But most new parents quickly come to realise that two things can be true at once. The first year of parenting might be the most intense of your life, but it’s intense in all sorts of ways, and most of them are incredible. Sure, the disruptions to your sleep schedule are full-on, but so is the adoration you feel every time you glance in your child’s direction. Of course it’s difficult to shift from a twosome to a threesome with your partner, but watching them love the same little person you do is one of the most powerful things in the world. Stepping outside of the workplace can feel disorienting, but you’ll surprise yourself with how quickly you learn to be competent with a whole new type of “work”.

The way you relate to the world might be slightly different, but, for me at least, the first year of parenting showed me that I have so much more to look forward to: so many more “firsts”, and so much more joy, to come.

Image: Supplied

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