Dear child, you are so soft. You are all softness. Your hair, your cheeks, your skin. Especially after your bath. Last night when you wouldn’t sleep I stroked and stroked you and you didn’t mind. And neither did I. You give the best, best hugs. When we said goodbye to my cousins in Edinburgh, you leant over from my arms and snuggled your face into each of their chests.
Today you are eleven months old. As soon as you were ten months, you seemed so much older. You mastered waving. You learnt to clap, and clap you did – for me, for your brother, for anyone who smiled at you, and above all for yourself, every time you did something clever and new, such as climbing up Felix’s wicker chair and pulling out all the books from the shelf. Just this past week you have started passing us things and waiting for us to give them back.
You love to read and sing about ducks. We have a book that goes along with the song ‘Five little ducks’ and you are so good at it now, I sing: ‘and mother duck said’, and you pipe up: ‘goh! goh! goh!’, which is a pretty good attempt at a quack. You have since decided that all animals say ‘goh goh goh’, and you are very pleased to pick up a duplo animal, wave it in the air and make your animal sound.
You adore our cat Whitby. You try to kiss him every time he comes close to you. We have a book with a picture of a cat with a furry tummy, and you kiss that, too. You have just started ‘reading’ books instead of merely eating them, and you have an impressive amount of concentration. The other day I found you on Felix’s chair turning the pages of a book, babbling, and pointing at the pictures.
Even more than your cat, you love your people. You greet Felix and Michael every morning with a very pleased smile. When grandma calls us on skype, you wriggle your arms and legs and beam with joy. In the coffee shop the other day Michael called us on skype (I had the computer out cos our internet at home was broken) and you were amazed, you couldn’t stop laughing.
You are brave, and fast, and intrepid. If there are stairs, you must climb them. If there are chairs, you must climb them. If there are stones, you must eat them. If there is a table, you reach up on tippy toes, holding on, to look over it. You can stand on your own for brief seconds. You cruise around clutching the furniture. On the trampoline, you bounce yourself on your knees, saying awah awah awah. If Felix jumps next to you and topples you over you laugh and laugh and get up again.
If you are hungry or tired, you climb on top of me and rest your head on my chest. Breastmilk is still your primary form of sustenance. You often eat a good dinner, but apart from that, snack on cucumbers and me.
On Sunday afternoon we all sat out in the garden, happy to be home and together. It was hot. We remembered Felix lying under the very same trees, only a few months old. I wonder if we would remember that, said Michael, if we hadn’t taken the photos. All the same, I didn’t get out the camera. It was good to just be. You were wearing a navy blue cotton dress covered in white flowers and you sat on the picnic rug for ages, totally engrossed in placing wooden rings and duplo people in and out of a box. Felix wanted us to bounce on trampoline but we persuaded him to blow bubbles instead, and so, for a few moments, we were totally content, watching the colours of the bubbles, trying to catch them. Then you were hungry, so you rested your head on me and I obliged. ‘Nom nom!’ you said affirmingly, before getting down to business.
You are so lovely. We adore you.