How to raise a rebel (six months to a year)

For her first birthday (man does time go at lightspeed when you have a kid) we bought our not-so-little girl the charming Chewie and the Porgs and an Amidala vest. It’s not her first piece of Star Wars apparel, nor anywhere near her last if we have our way, but it’s a bit special that she now has some clothing depicting her namesake queen-slash-senator-slash-kickass space lady.

We gave her the middle name Amidala in part because we wanted her to grow up independent, bright and loving. Little did we know how she would come to display all those qualities in spades. This is a girl who will go and say hello and give a smile to everyone in any room she’s in. She’s determined to explore and learn, knows her way is the right way and shines a beaming light into people’s lives, not least into ours. She makes life an adventure simply by sharing her natural wonder at the world, that burst of laughter when she discovers something fun.


Our first, biggest adventure together since her birth came when she was only just six months old. We journeyed with her over land and sea to her first holiday in my ancestral home of Ireland. What a new experience, a holiday as responsible adults. She was tuckered out every single day and her nap schedule meant we couldn’t do everything we wanted in that gem of a country, but for all that we would change it for anything. She loved that trip in all its colours and all its weathers – but mostly rain – and her first ever cave tour was easily the highlight. We were far more frightened for her in the close dark underground than she was. Being scared barely seemed to cross her mind, she just wanted to get on and see the next waterfall, the next crystal formation. No patience for our tour guide’s information whatsoever. For all that, he was so charmed that he gifted her a piece of calcite from that very cave. Just one of the many treasures she brings to our lives just by being herself.


Once we‘d all recovered from that trip, it was time to start baby-proofing our house. As we’ve gushed about before, she started crawling at five months, so we’d been procrastinating around the task for a bit too long by that time. It was just another little reminder that being a parent is full of annoying and oddly sad menial tasks while the youngling grows up behind your back. Spending our first autumn together only intensified that rush of time behind us. This last season of cosy reflection brought new light to all the gifts being parents – being a family – has brought us and we wish won’t fade with the months and years. Interspersed with the constant coughs and sniffles that spiralled off from her first cold were beautiful walks between red and gold trees, our big breath fogs meeting her tiny one halfway.

There seems to be so little time when everything goes through the illusion of falling, never to be green again. But the holiday season reframed that in the calm happiness of watching Lorelei open her presents, imagining how excited she’ll be for all our Christmases to come. That first turkey dinner must have flooded her with some serious spirit, because before long after she’d started to walk unaided. In the greyest half of winter, we could cheer ourselves up by quoting Obi-Wan in The Force Awakens. Just like Rey, she’s well on her way to standing on her own two feet in the universe, and we couldn’t be prouder of her.


As giddy and tingly as all these milestones make you, there are some you don’t even want to think about, until they sneak up on you anyway. After our first house move in an unfamiliar kitchen with a sly sharp edge behind our oven, our poor baby got a deep gash in her foot and had to be taken to A&E. After much flustering on both her parents’ parts, she was the one who dealt with it best. All in all I think I cried more than her, and she made the waiting room just another adventure.

Her latest step into a world full of bright new shining things is unbelievably appropriate; her first word, star. Trust a couple of dorks like us to drill that word into her head above any of hundreds of thousands of possibilities. Something as subtle as her babbling becoming words has brought our dreams for her before she even knew the world full circle. We wanted her to shine with curiosity, bravery, love and happiness. She already does all that and more, looking out at the world and wanting to sing and talk all about the stars, in our galaxy and one far, far away.

Categories: Parenting

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