Friday, 29 November 2013


Eyes like autumn. Still changing. At birth; dark, muddy puddles with a touch of grey.  This summer, reflecting green, sometimes with a hint of amber. Now, on your birthday, a rich warmth, hazelnut brown.  Autumn eyes. "Where did he get those from?" asks Grandma, observing that she is usually surrounded only by green and blue eyed folk.  Someone, somewhere in your genetic lineage has bequeathed you different eyes to the rest of us.  I never really liked brown eyes before yours.  But, now I think differently about brown eyes, I find them enchanting. I could gaze quite happily into your smiling Nutella orbs forever. 

Your first year has passed so very fast.   Those early months are now a blur.  Photographs remind me of how you were; valued prompts to jog my sleep deprived memory.  The calendar on the kitchen wall shows a picture of you at birth, this time last year. It’s hard to believe the little person opening every pan drawer and creating havoc all around me, has grown so big so quick.

Your personality is still revealing itself, surprising me with the unexpected as the days and months go by. Right from the start, you were and still are, the most social baby.  From early days, you would reach out your arm with a splayed hand in greeting to passers by, giving them ‘The Starfish’, as I liked to refer to it.  Your wave, (perfected at around 10 months), reminds me of the lucky gold cats with automatic waving arms that are found in Chinese restaurants. Once you start waving, you don’t stop; not until the world around you breaks into smiles.  And you’re still the champion of Koala hugs.  Climb up and nuzzle in, burying your head into my neck with your arms holding tight. I love your hugs so very much.

These past few months you have shown yourself to be a determined little soul.  Finally, I understand the meaning of ‘baby lead weaning’. You steadfastly refuse to let me feed you anything from a spoon. Either wrestling it from me in a vice like grip, or simply rejecting anything that you cannot put in your mouth yourself.  Physically, your strength amazes me. You are strong. You are agile. You are Houdini like - a restaurant high chair is the perfect opportunity for you to practise your escape techniques. If I turn my back for one second, you’ll be half way across the table. It must be said, we eat out far less regularly these days.

You are loud. You have a belter of a voice. The whole world knows when you’re not happy.  That said, you rarely grumble.  You have a sunny personality and a wonderful sense of humour. You laugh from your belly; a deep guffaw. I think you may well turn out to be the joker of our pack. You like nothing more than trying on all the hats in the fancy dress box, laughing at yourself, and me, as we do it.

You’re a turbo crawler, racing down the hall at top speed, laughing your head off all the way.  I was convinced you’d be walking by now, but now you’ve discovered your boost button, you seem to have stopped trying. A couple of times I’ve caught you cruising the furniture and taking one or two steps alone, then you check yourself and sit down; giving me a sly sideways grin, as if to say; ‘Not yet Mum, not yet’.  You’re such a tease.

Your vocabulary is understood only by you. Your babbalogues are wonderful, I just wish I were able to translate more.  Of the two discernible words you can say, ‘Mama’ comes and goes but the most frequently offered up word is ‘hot’.  I hear this about fifty times a day, even for things that aren’t hot.  It is very helpful in coffee shops though, and does endear you to random members of the public as you point at their cups and issue your safety warning with the most serious of faces. ‘Hot’.

Your favourite food is bananas. You love swimming. You like putting pegs in holes, letters in postboxes, things inside things. You like playing with balls. You like making noise; shaking a maraca, banging a drum. You like peering inside dustbins, you like trying to pull the plug out of the shower tray and you are fascinated by the inside of the toilet bowl (and dropping things in it).  You love the swings, the slide at the park, and will happily throw yourself down it without any supervision.  Your favourite person in the whole wide world...

is Pip.

It makes my heart sing to see you look at your brother with such adoration.  Perhaps for a little while after your arrival, he felt slightly displaced. You had to work hard (on occasions) to wheedle your way into his heart. Ever resilient, you gently elbowed your way in and found some room. From there on, your relationship has blossomed. He loves you very much; calls you ‘little guy’. You get excited about going to collect him from school each day. He lets you wear his cap on the way home and you smile with delight as you pull it around your head. Watching the brotherly bond develop between you makes me very happy.

My sweet boy, what a wonderful year it has been, I feel blessed to have you. ( Even if you do persist in getting up at 5.30am). Happy first birthday.  xxx