A letter to my son, on his first birthday.
Can it really be one year since you arrived in our world? Since you went from abstract concept, bladder-squasher and rib-kicker to an actual squeaking pink baby in my arms? What I have learnt, what I have felt, what I have known in this year cannot be explained or quantified, but I can tell you some things.
Let me tell you about you. At one, you are a beautiful boy – and I’m not just saying that! Strangers rave over your pretty eyelashes, your beaming smile, and your chubby pink cheeks. I count four rolls of fat on each of your arms, and four on each of your legs. A source of pride, for I have fed you, and a source of love. Your skin is soft and smooth and your hair is soft and increasingly fair. I can’t stop kissing your fluffy head and stroking your smooth, fat little legs. Dressing you in shorts and tshirts is such joy! People tell us you take after me, but the older you get, the more they see of your daddy in you. Despite family resemblances, you are delightfully, adorably and totally you. We made a new, original and unique human being.
You love books, as I knew you would, and we read often. You have adored turning pages for many months, and lift-the-flap stories are favourites. You laugh before the flap has even been lifted, knowing the cheeky monkey hides beneath. We practise actions, voices, rhyming. Some stories are already ingrained so deeply in my memory that I’ll probably be able to recite them to you when you’re forty!
Although you have always been happiest sat with fiddly toys to explore and study, in recent weeks you’ve become so active, I can’t keep up. First you began to roll away from me when I changed you, then I would return to the room to find you first facing a different way, then sat in a different place entirely! Your father and I watch each miniscule milestone with love and excitement. These days you are on the move, and I am growing a second pair of eyes to help…
Since the moment you were born, midwives and visitors told us how alert you were, how wise and knowing your little expression. At the time I admit I laughed to hear a newborn baby described as ‘knowing’, but as your character develops, you remain thoughtful, observant and interested. Yet you are not serious. You smile always, laugh often, and your happiness is what we aim for each day.
Of course, you are the cleverest baby that ever was. You know that the lightswitch makes the lights go on and off, and when you hear the switch click, your head swivels round at top speed to catch the light turning on! Then you point and laugh to see it lit up. What fun. You stack things beautifully, choose toys with precision and eat food with dexterity.
You think, unfortunately, that being told ‘No’ is hilarious. We will work on this.
Your Granny and Nana love to look after you so very much. While I am at work, you spend such happy hours with them, your Auntie Debbie and Harry. Your Grampa and Grandad make you laugh with silly games, and you love to spend time with Auntie Nikki and Charlie too. We hope that you and your cousins will become great friends as you grow older, and already Harry takes such nice care of you. He’s very patient when you grab his hair or try to snatch a toy, and he’s only young as well. You love to chatter and shout with Charlie, taking turns to make noises and laughing to hear the other one shout back. We expect Charlie to remain taller than you, but you will probably overtake Harry one day!
Recent changes are your growing number of teeth, your enthusiastic clapping, your high fives, your desperation to get onto your feet, and your little efforts at saying words. You give cuddles and kisses readily, and I hope in my heart that you’ll still be giving your mummy cuddles for many years to come.
Don’t grow up too quickly. Don’t change too fast. Don’t make me say goodbye to my baby boy before I’m ready. Then when the time comes, I won’t mind saying goodbye to my baby because there will be a beautiful, kind, clever, funny little boy waiting for me. I love you, and can’t wait to meet you as you become your own person.
You are our joy, our best love, and our very greatest achievement.
Happy birthday, son. Love from Mummy xXx