Today is Axl's first birthday, which means we have completed one full year of being parents for him. I want to reflect on that and write this piece. Maybe it would be nice for you to read, but I think this is kind of my way of giving thanks for what has happened in one year.
When Axl was born last year, lots of friends and families passed on their greetings, congratulating me for this cute little baby. But one friend wrote on Facebook "good luck for the next 18 years." I giggled, but turned out, I really needed that luck, simply to pass the first few months.
The first few months were the hardest. Or let me be specific. The first month was the super hardest. We were clueless. Turned out technology and Google were not able to prep us to becoming parents. All the links about nursing and parenting, all the apps downloaded, and all the lullabies from YouTube couldn't always help us to soothe Axl when he was having colic or when he decided to cry for no reasons.
Giving Axl breastmilk exclusively was another story. I was so focused on giving breastmilk exclusively that I almost ignored the signs of dehydration. Luckily I threw away my pride, gave him formula milk for a couple of days and caught up with the breastmilk production (which was basically eating lots and lots of green veggies, drinking kurkuma, drinking almond milk and gulping lots of water). Giving breastmilk to Axl is the best decision I made, because praise Lord, he hasn't been ill yet. But my oh my, it is really hard of being a breastmilk mom. I have to pump at the public toilet everyday for the last 10 months. When I went abroad for a business trip, I had to look for a freezer at the hotel, making sure my breastmilk was stored safely and I would come back home carrying a big cooling bag with lots of breastmilk pockets.
And don't let me start on how we haven't slept well ever since Axl was born. Ok, I might be lying. I did sleep very well once: the first night sleeping at a hotel in Seoul, when I went for a business trip. But no, I have never slept in anymore. We always wake up at 6-7ish, weekend included. Thanks to our very active Axl.
However, never have we ever regretted of becoming parents for Axl. The good and happy things are far more precious and memorable than the challenging stuff. Axl is a bright baby (I believe all parents would say the same thing about their babies). My mom said he is quite an easy baby too, of which I should be really thankful for. He understands a lot of things now. He likes being in a car. He loves people. He loves public places. He likes animals, especially dogs and cats. He enjoys his meal, but he prefers snacking. His favorite snack is cheese, especially Bernardi Gold Cake. He cannot sleep without his Tigger doll. He has started to be a big fan of Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. He speaks (mumbles) in bahasa Indonesia and English, but he can understand Dutch songs (he loves 'klapjes in de handjes' and 'hoofd schouder knie en teen').
So before I get all teared up, let me end this piece by saying that we are really proud and happy to be your parents. Should TimeHop still exists when you are older and you find this piece, let this writing remind you of how we really really really really love you (like Carly Rae Japsen's song. You should Google it, or whatever search engine you are using now), even when you think that we don't, but really, we do.
And for our friends, colleagues and families, a BIG thank you for all the support and encouragement. Thank you for your gifts, tips and tricks on how to nurse, parent and soothe a baby, your prayer, the leave days given, or taking over my job when I was on maternity leave, and many more. A big thanks for being part of Axl's first year.