Dear-heart, you are now ten months (and quite a few days, this is ridiculously late) and the sweetest little bundle of cuddles and chortles and determination.
As you catapult towards your first birthday I've been going through old photos of when you were first born and all the months in-between and oohing and sighing and aahing and crying (just a wee tad, just the suggestion of tears, my last baby all grown up). From your tiny, perfect, just-out-in-the-world-and-smelling-of-newness-and-milk self until now, your very loud, humorous, easy-going self, each day you've been with us has been a blessing.
You can clap your hands now, and do so with great frequency and delight. You love waving to people as well. You make deep and meaningful eye contact with complete strangers and slowly, oh so slowly, start to smile, and then treat them to your overjoyed grin.
You think peekaboo is the best game ever and play it with overwhelming delight, giggling and giggling as you draw a piece of curtain or some clothes over your face and then take it away.
You remain devoted to water and whether it be sea, swimming pool or bath you twist and turn to be allowed to play and splash. I quickly put your face under for half a second at the swimming pool to accustom you to it (your big sister hates putting her face under with a passion and it makes swimming lessons problematic) and not only do you love it, but you twist to try to do it yourself.
I love watching you hit the water with your chubby hand, watch the splash and then do it again.
Your face changes so rapidly I could just sit and watch and watch. You wear such an expression of reflection and judgement in repose, so serious and stern, and then something will happen to make you laugh and suddenly you're completely overwhelmed with joy and delight and deep gurgles and giggles.
We've turned your car seat around to forward facing as you were protesting so much about getting into it, twisting and arching and grabbing, and you are a lot more content being able to see more, and most particularly being able to see me. It's still not your favourite thing in the world, to be stuck in a car, but you can just about put up with it.
You love making all sorts of sounds, and you particularly love blowing raspberries but you're also trying out trills and growls and squeals, as well as saying mama and dada, hello and up.
You remain devoted to your siblings, and while your brother is casually fond of you, although generally preferring you in a different room, particularly if he has lego, your sister adores you and loves to carry you around and hold you. Sometimes, admittedly, you don't exactly want to be held and cuddled, you want to go exploring, but mostly you think she's amazing.
You remain devoted to blueberries and I've never met anyone as excited by broccoli as you are. Even as I cut it up to steam you start making urgent noises of desire. Presently, you are the most adventurous eater of all three of you - let's hope your tastes stay broad!
This is a time of great change for us - in the next three weeks, we sell one house, buy another and move in and… get a puppy. While my head is spinning with contracts and forms and things to sign and did I post that and why hasn't that arrived yet and are we sure we want that kitchen cabinet over there, wouldn't it be better over here, we are almost more excited about the new puppy. This will be (God willing) the dog of your childhood, my little one. He'll be the dog to watch over you, stay by you, through your earliest years. The breeder assures us of his gentle nature and we know he's spent his first weeks with other kids around. You are too little to understand, but we are all sooo excited and I know that you will love our new family member too. Soon… soon!
My little one, everything about you brings me the deepest delight - from the tuck of your little mouth to the dimples on the back of your hand. This baby year of yours has raced by far, far too quickly and I wish I could go back and re-live every moment of it that I got to spend with you.
I love the way you stretch right out just before you wake up, your chubby legs going straight as straight, your toes curling out and back, your arms raising straight above your head, your bottom lip pouting out. Then your eyes fluttering open, and then you look for me.
We make up silly rhymes (that generally end in blowing raspberries on your tummy or kissing your neck.
Lilli-Bear over there, Lilli-bear in her chair, Lilli-bear eating pear. Lilli-bear over there in her chair eating pear!
Lily has the pretty toes, pretty toes, pretty toes, Lily has the pretty toes, yes, yes she does. Who does? Lily does! Lily has the pretty toes!
And you laugh and laugh and laugh. You kick your little legs with delight.
Sweetheart, each and every moment of every day, waking or sleeping, you enchant us.
Photos from a nearby beach - enjoying the lovely breeze in the dusk at the end of a stinking hot day. You have mud on your face - collateral damage from your siblings mud-fight. You loved crawling in the shallows (and they stretched for silty miles in the low tide) but began getting chilled (true, in Queensland!) so I picked you up.