One of D's multiple second birthday celebrations... It seems like this past year has been filled with firsts for Diana: first words (and now, unbelievably, sentences), first hair style - and cut, first toddler-sized tantrums, first mastery of walking and then running and first real interests and obsessions.
But last week we celebrated a big second: Diana is now two-years-old.
Now, I remember thinking that last year's birthday was momentous: D was eating real food, crawling at Olympic speeds and even starting to walk, but, yet again, I've been blown away by my child's transformation in just 12 months. The fact that she understood what her birthday was - and milked every opportunity to get more cake and presents throughout the week as a result - says it all.
When I reflect on the past year, watching D grow from baby to toddler, I think that it's been my favourite stage of D's development so far (although I remember thinking that at every stage of her life so clearly I am just over-enthusiastic). But nothing can quite describe the feeling I get every time she says 'Thanks, mum,' or 'Mummy, mummy!' as soon as she wakes up, or my stupefaction that Diana is now helping me unload the washing machine, do the washing up, put her toys away, fetch books, brush her teeth and even help walk Bolshy. Let's face it: she's already more useful around the house than Daddy.
But there is also an added excitement in that I've seen Diana really forming her personality over the past year, and I see elements of myself reflected in that (a natural curiosity, a love of books) and personality traits that I do not possess and already find myself in awe of (she's superbly socially confident, sporty, outdoorsy, chatty and far more extroverted than I have ever been). If someone had told me that my daughter would be carrying three stuffed handbags with her, demanding the rings off my fingers and begging me to read The Three Little Pigs for the twelfth time in a row at the age of 20 months, I never would have believed it.
When it came to Diana's second birthday, I decided that this was probably the last year we could get away with having an intimate gathering with family as opposed to a proper birthday bash with friends, so we spent D's birthday with her grandparents and uncles in Wiltshire (although she did have friends visiting with treats and pressies throughout the week so the event was strung out over several days, much to D's pleasure). It was really lovely because D was so engaged with every aspect of it from blowing out the candles of her homemade ice cream cake and tossing around her birthday balloons to singing her rendition of 'Happy birthday.' It's been almost a week and she still uses every opportunity to bring up the event, giggling, singing to herself and blowing out imaginary candles.
D's birthday this year was also a big deal because it's the last birthday she'll have as an only child (well, hopefully). I'm pregnant! So Diana's adventures are about to get even more chaotic as we move from Toddler Tales to Three Into Four (plus one pesky bulldog, of course!).
More:Is It Just Me?
SUBSCRIBE TO & FOLLOW UK PARENTS