I've put off this post and put off this post and then put it off again because I can't quite get my head around the fact that my amazing little baby is now a very determined toddler - and well past one.
I think I've been a little teary since your birthday and determined to remember every moment of your fast-fleeing toddler-dom, as I know how quickly it will vanish. It seemed I blinked and you left baby-dom behind.
Ever day I blow raspberries on your neck and kiss your chubby thighs and wonder at how the feet that were once so small, those narrow, wrinkled little things with teeny tiny, skinny toes that could never fit comfortably in a shoe, are now pudgy, solid little feet that go very well in shoes.
In this, your first year, you are a daily - hourly - delight. You are also extremely mischievous. You love to do things you know you shouldn't - like climb onto the table and do a little dance, or pull out all the books, or sink your teeth into someone - and then laugh with glee.
You love to toddle as quickly as you can, holding someone's finger, busily pointing out all the things of interest, particularly birds, which fascinate you.
You adore water and as soon as I mention 'shower' in the morning you toddle to the bathroom, looking over your shoulder the whole time to check that I am following. In the evening you hurry to the bathroom again, as soon as you hear the bath running for your sister.
Your favourite game is the 'hugging game' where you launch yourself from person to person, putting your soft arms around each persons neck and giving their back little pats, cheek to cheek.
Despite my best intentions, you still sleep in my bed, curled in my protective curve, distraught if the milk moves too far. (As I write this now, in bed, in a dark room, you sleep in the curve of my arm, one of your small arms curled possessively over your milk) And watching your silhouette in the night-shadows, I try to memorise every line, every moment. The feel of your little feet kneading, the rise and fall of you breathing, the line of cheek and lashes and pouty mouth. The little dimples in your ears.
You are still very clingy, far clingier than your brother and sister were at this age. It's strange to think I'd already gone back to work for a few mornings a week when your sister was your age - you think the world has ended if I leave you with your daddy for an hour. I went to a yoga class on the weekend and returned to find you in the chair by the front window, both of you asleep and you with clear evidence you'd cried yourself to sleep waiting for me. (The guilt... and yet, at your age your brother was quite happy to go off with your daddy for most of the day. You, my little one, have had to rely more upon me, which, much as I love time with you, I'm not sure has been healthy...) You are just beginning to realise that daddy is a pretty wonderful person as he gets to spend more time with you.
You grow up so quickly - already you love putting on my sunglasses, pretending to talk on my phone, you demand your share of any sunscreen or moisturiser I put on and you are sure to claim your rightful chocolate and froth from my cappuccino. You love all your big sister's sparkles and plastic jewellery and we spent a good ten minutes trying to get a tiara you were insistent on wearing to stay in your slippery-silk hair. You often walk about the house with stray clothes you've found placed artfully on your head.
Our puppy (now the size of a small donkey) is your boon companion. You feed him cucumber, biscuits, apple, and he dutifully licks them. You both remain desperate to get into the loo - you to throw down treasures, him to drink the water and you often squabble over toys.
Your big sister and brother are your delight. Your big sister loves to cart you around (you often object) and has had to be firmly told you are too young for roller skates or a skate board. You would have given them a try. Your big brother is fond of you in an off-hand kind of way and you adore him.
You believe poking out your tongue is the coolest thing ever. You have the stubbornest look, little chin thrust out, bottom lip prominent, when you decide on something. When we go somewhere new, or somewhere you're a little unsure of, you hold carefully to my top and look around with a face so full of reserved judgement, as you weigh everything up, that you really do look like a little, displeased, queen.
You love to make eyes at people and giggle though, and make people laugh, and you think extravagant compliments are your due. (Which they are.) You wore a little white fluffy bonnet with ears last week and we were stopped on average every two minutes by gooing people and you thought it was wonderful. You are very perplexed by people of the non-cooing variety, and I have to try to distract you.
You still aren't talking very much, mama, dada, hug, Bec, no, but you make the most musical sounding, nonsensical sentences and often sit and talk to yourself melodiously.
You have started dancing and will often bounce on your knees when a song comes on you like, and you've started head-banging - giggling the whole time with delight at your cleverness - to songs you like on the radio in the car.
You love drawing - on paper, on walls, on yourself... and I have to be very vigilant with your brother and sisters pencils and textas or I find you covered in drawings. Your sister has also tried out her makeup on you. It was not a good look and said makeup made it's way discreetly to the bin.
You love the trampoline, and will often make your way down the back garden, haul yourself up the steps and run around in delight. You prefer it when other people are on the trampoline with you, but you're quite happy by yourself as well.
Your breath is still milk-sweet and you still smell of newness and baby. Every day you bring delight. Every day you bring joy. O Giggle-Bear we love you so!