Melissa C. Koh

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Noah’s Very First Birthday

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They say that the first year of motherhood is always the hardest, but yet, it also feels like the shortest. It seems like it was just yesterday when we celebrated Noah’s first month. Over the past year, we’ve watched Noah grow day by day, from a small little infant to the energetic and curious young toddler that he is now. It’s really amazing when we look back on how far he’s come and how much more he’s going to grow. At the same, we’ve definitely felt overwhelmed by the slew of changes that we’ve had to adapt to. From small things like learning how to properly carry an infant to finding the best ways to comfort Noah when he cries, we’ve struggled to juggle parenthood and the lifestyles we’ve been accustomed to. Yet, beyond the numerous adjustments and very erratic sleep schedules, I can say with utmost confidence, that I’m very thankful to have been blessed with my dearest Noah, and he’s possibly one of the best things that’s happened to me.

We started birthday preparations on a sneaky note. While Noah was still fast asleep, James and I were quietly setting up some decorations for the handsome birthday boy. We wanted the birthday theme to capture how quickly Noah has grown, and so we opted for this wall decal from Urban Lil, along with some dreamy clouds and adorable illustrations of paper planes. We knew how much Noah loves helium balloons, so we made sure to order a few from Looney Bloons! The white and silver confetti balloons matched the dreamy blue colour palette we were going for perfectly. We filled our bedroom with helium balloons, so he would have the best possible start to his day. We also took the time to set up a photo display with my instax of Noah’s growth throughout the year. It still amazes me to see how quickly he’s grown up!

Noah definitely woke up in a good mood. He was very excited to see the room filled with helium balloons! It was so, so cute cos he went “eh” and  just that sparkle in his eye reassured me that being this  “extra”  was totally worth  it. While Noah was happily distracted by the balloons, I whipped up a baby-friendly banana pancake (stay tuned for the recipe) for Noah to have for breakfast!

After Noah’s yummy breakfast, we sang a birthday song for Noah and had a mini photoshoot. Noah had his first zoom call with his 奶奶, his uncle and his aunt. Noah was very blessed to receive many birthday well-wishes over Zoom. He was very fascinated by the many familiar faces appearing on the computer screen and kept reaching his hand out to touch it.

Next, it was Noah’s favourite part (or so he thought): Present Time!  If there’s anyone that loves unboxing, Noah would be the first in line. We had all his gifts waiting for him out in the living room and I let him rip them open, parcel by parcel. I think he was definitely overwhelmed.  

After playing with some of his new toys,  it was time for his afternoon nap. After he fell asleep, James and I took the time to set up his cake smash with the  “time flies” wall decal from urban lil and “birthday quarantine” obstacle course. We used danger tape to set up a spider web in our hallway, taped up the cot and threw in a ton of balloons to make a pit video on my Tik Tok). He was in for another treat after his nap. 

As soon as Noah woke up, he crawled out of the room to find the entire corridor taped up. He was confused but enthralled. His expressions were so priceless. He looked cautious but yet enthusiastic about getting through the tapes to his cot outside in the living room.  We snapped some photos and even managed to piece together a video. Now this is definitely one for the record – who can actually say they spent their first birthday in “quarantine”? 

After all the fun, it was time for probably his favourite thing of all – the cake smash!

I am certain this activity made his day the best day of his life. It is also probably the only time I would ever let Noah make such a big mess but I must admit, it was pretty fun and he only  turns one once. What can I say? He definitely deserved that good cake smash? Don’t worry, we didn’t let the cake go to waste after that cake smash. We ordered a baby friendly banana cake from Delcie and it was so delicious, we really couldn’t resist. 

After Noah had his fun with the cake smash, we had a few more zoom calls lined up. We bathed him, changed him and dressed him in his birthday outfit. I cooked dinner while James cleaned up. We had dinner virtually with my girlfriends via Zoom, of course. 

After dinner, while still on Zoom, we prepared for another fun activity that we had planned. Early on in my pregnancy, James and I tested and debunked a few old-wives’ tales surrounding pregnancy (you can read about our findings here!). This time, we wanted to test out the Chinese tradition of Zhuazhou (抓周), where parents place a few articles for their child to choose from. The object that their child chooses is said to symbolise his future capabilities and occupation. Of course, whether this is accurate or just a superstition, only time will tell…

We laid out a stethoscope, a xylophone, camera, clipboard and some baking toys. Noah went straight for the xylophone without any hesitation.  He definitely loves music.

After a very eventful day, Noah was treated to yet another surprise – a very special song performance by his Godma. It was a song written specially for him. As I listened to one of my closest friends sing with such love and joy, I was bombarded with many emotions – excitement, happiness, pride, and gratitude that we were able to commemorate Noah’s big milestone with the people that mean most to us. I still have the urge to pinch myself every time I remember that Noah’s already a year old. I’m in awe of everything that’s happened thus far and I’m excited to watch Noah grow to be a wonderful and kind young boy. 

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