It's almost a month before little Margaux's first birthday, but when the Woman's Day team pulls out a cake for our photo shoot with her and mum Jessica Mutch McKay, the wee girl somehow knows it's all in her honour.
Laughing at her daughter's wide eyes and outstretched arms, the TVNZ political editor says, "This is beyond her wildest dreams. It'll take all her willpower not to grab a big fistful. She's very into exploring, touching and biting things at the moment!"
It's an adorable scene at the family's Wellington home, but things are set to get even cuter on Margaux's actual birthday on October 31.
Mutch McKay, 36, tells Woman's Day, "We'll have a little party with family and friends, and we'll have the kids dress up in Halloween costumes. I'm getting a pumpkin outfit for her – just think of the embarrassing photos we'll have for her 21st!
"I only hope coalition negotiations will be done and dusted by then because I definitely plan on having a glass or two of champagne to celebrate surviving this first year and I don't want to be on call!"
Being a first-time mum during an election year, not to mention a global pandemic, has meant 2020 has been more intense for Mutch McKay than most – and the pressure only increased with the flame-haired star moderating last week's 1 News Vote 2020 Multi Party Debate and this week's final Leaders Debate.
"It's a juggle," she admits. "Being a mum brings me even more joy than I thought it would and I've got this huge job that I love, so I can't really compromise on either of them. I just have to fit my life around those two things.
"Margaux is in the office a lot and she can be quite clingy when she's teething. I'll often take her to where I'm doing a live cross, hope she doesn't dribble on me, then hand her over to another Press Gallery reporter just before I do my piece.
"I haven't had any disasters yet, but I did once get milk spilt on my dress 15 minutes before a cross. Luckily, it was at the bottom. I just wiped it up and hoped the shot wouldn't be too wide. Wearing dark clothing on the days she needs to come to work is important!"
Her husband Iain – who found fame as Jacinda Ardern's "hot hipster bodyguard" last election – was able to take eight months of paternity leave, but the 34-year-old's now back on the job as a diplomatic protection officer, shadowing the PM and Judith Collins on the campaign trail.
The TV star tells Woman's Day, "Sometimes with work, we'll both turn up in the same city and go, 'Oh, I didn't know you were here, but it's nice to see you!' It happens less often now we've got a baby as we have to keep closer tabs on each other and tag-team a bit – we've become a well-oiled machine out of necessity.
"But he's a really cool, calm, collected dad and he's really sweet with her. She gets a big, cheesy grin when he walks into a room. It's really cool watching their special relationship.
"Interestingly, while heaps of people were very kindly asking how I was balancing my work and mum lives, when I queried Iain if he's had everyone asking him how he's coping, he was like, 'Literally no one has asked that.' Perhaps they don't really think of new dads doing it tough too."
Questioned whether her girl has had a playdate with the PM's daughter, Mutch McKay laughs, "No, she hasn't met Neve – well, if she has, she hasn't told me about it! But she does like to crawl up and down the corridor of the Press Gallery, peering into people's offices. She definitely has favourite reporters – she's very smiley with Maiki Sherman, Benedict Collins and Claire Trevett.
"She's a really inquisitive, nosy baby," continues the doting mum. "She loves knowing what's going on and if someone walks into a room, she'll keep an eye on them – I guess that comes from both her parents! But she's also really giggly, smiley and snuggly. We're very lucky."
- Woman's Day