You must have known I was going to sit down to draft this post today. You have bombarded me with your affections, listened to me for the most part and upped the ante on the cute. It’s easy to forget you have days like this. Especially when raising a 2.5-3 year old more commonly involves frayed nerves, short tempers and a relentless battle of wills. I know it’s as difficult for you as it is for us. The more you learn, the more confusing and overwhelming the world around you must become. But seriously… sometimes… there is a lot of steam billowing out of my ears – that I do, incidentally, listen with!
Thankfully, for you, Ffion Megan, you still look blindingly beautiful when you are sleeping. I have gone to bed beyond exhausted so many times this past six months but I can hand on heart say I haven’t ever gone to bed angry with you. There are still countless photos, so many the same, that I’ve had to take while you are sleeping.
Sleep still isn’t one of your most favourite things and I’ll never know how we can succeed in tiring you out. You climbed your first mountain on Easter Sunday yet still resisted a nap as we did laps of the M4 to ensure you were rested before a family lunch. Perhaps it was the pizza you had on the Saturday. It was at that lunch where your speech started to melt hearts around you. Beyond being on generally excellent behaviour, you attacked your margherita with what you declared was a ‘steering wheel’ [pizza cutter]. So many other beautiful quips have followed. Like your first nettle sting that you described as having made your foot “spicy”.
You are one of life’s most engaging raconteurs but still struggle with a sense of time or place. It’s amazing what we did “yesterday” (which was actually six months ago) and how vivid and important to you the memories of a cruddy Bluestone side show and a blackberry prickle getting stuck in your thumb are. Never forget the things that matter to you most.
After multiple trips to the hair dresser in a desperate bid to grow your once untamed mane all one length, we finally hit the ponytail jackpot. With a keenness to choose the colour of your hair bobble has also come a love of all things so much more feminine. Dresses; the new default. I’m sorry things have to go in the wash and perhaps a Sunday best should be worn to (black) paint in. But sometimes, we have to draw the line. Besides, there was absolute uproar the day I dressed you in your now favourite blue seersucker flower sundress for, once again, some totally unfathomable reason.
Other things you have got a real taste for are far more useful. Showers, that cut down the hair wash time no end; shouting “Come On Tink” from the sidelines as your one true idol laced up her boots for another season; your bestest buddies’ little sisters – a year of so many more little girls.
And now you are the bigger one, soon to have a little sister all of your own. I was ridiculously terrified of sharing news of my pregnancy with you. When was the right time? How would you understand? Were we really doing this for you too? It went extremely well until you declared “I not want a be big sister” and the scan photo was rapidly whisked away. Since then you’ve come a long way with heart melting “Mama, how’s your baby?” most mornings and regular confirmation “Mama’s have a girl, a sister.”
We holidayed again to Rhodes and you are at last on first name terms with the waiters, being finally able to properly communicate with them yourself as they relentlessly shower you with their affections season upon season. The kids club nannies have the best measure of you though. After our fortnight’s break in May you were awarded the “Entertainer” prize for quite a selection of shining moments that including decapitating a doll and covering yourself head to toe in Factor 50; “I Olaf…”
It was all change once we got back. Goodbye to bottles, hello to potties. Toilet training is a pretty relentless work in progress but to your absolute credit you took to it like an absolute boss. Probably because, for the first time in their lives, your parents actually approached something with consistency and the help of a really, really good book!
We’ve had one heck of a summer to remember. Pre-scheduled weekends away to the Cotswolds and Tenby were the reality check we all needed – relentless drizzle far more common of July / August than the absolutely sweltering temperatures that gave us all an excuse to squeeze every last drop out of the day, stay up far too late and pretend it wasn’t once a baby led weaning crime to eat anything bright, bright blue. But oh how those ice lollies kept cool.
Long before you came along I used to buy an academic diary. I loved September for fresh starts, stricter routines and clearer boundaries that summer struggles to define. You are now here to remind me how far we’ve come in 12 months, all of us continuing to grow together. You change so much yet remain my leech, my shadow – forever in my bubble. Don’t ever leave it… unless I want to drink my morning cup of coffee in peace.