I wanted to write to you on your birthday, but things haven't been quite as straight forward as I'd like around here lately. Still, as the saying goes, 'better late than never', and you'll find out in your life that I take that notion quite seriously. (It's not that I don't realise the importance of marking an occasion, rather that I prefer to be sincere in my wishes instead of hammering out another cliche for the sake of good time-keeping - you understand, don't you?)
Your lifetime to date totals fourteen months and a day. I almost can't believe a life can be so short and still have as much impact as yours has had.
You are a source of much hilarity, Little One, mischief has found you and made you its willing servant. You are regularly found wandering down the passage from the bathroom, merrily unrolling five bucks worth of two-ply as you go. I closed the bathroom doors for a few weeks to try to discourage you (unsuccessfully), and soon you found that lifting up whole sections of parquet flooring could be just as fun. And almost as fun as the fireplace and its never-ending supply of soot. Almost as fun as the booze cabinet and all those sparkly, smashable glasses it holds. Almost as fun as unpacking bookshelves, drinking the dogs water, switching the washing machine on and off midcycle, and climbing up everything.
You say a few words perfectly now - 'shoes, Gogo, Homer, Dad'. You refuse to say anything that sounds like Mom, though you can point me (as well as your grandparents, aunts and uncles) out in a room full of people. The rest of your communication arsenal is baby sign language and sound effects. Jack the Labrador and Buell the Rottweiler are known as woof woof. Our cars are vroom vrooms, the birds are whoo hoooos (the owl sound Dad taught you), food is mmmmm mmmmmm combined with tapping your hands to your tummy in an approximation of the hand signs we've been teaching you. You eat your meals at the table with us, breakfast and lunch with me, dinner with Dad included. You eat almost everything, and in healthy amounts. You love to sit on the kitchen counter while I cook or bake, passing the time by stirring, sampling, and generally fidgeting with whatever I'm busy with.
You like to follow Chorina around the house as she goes about her day, sweeping when she sweeps, wiping when she wipes, running off with the toilet brush when her back is turned. You like to sing, and accompany most of your mischief with song. You frequently stand in front of the radio, pointing and singing and dancing in an effort to get us to switch it on for you. Bob Dylan, The Offspring, The Beatles and Suzanne Vega are high up on your list of singalong tunes. Dad's been trying to teach you to chant Oompah Loompah while marching around the house, and I laugh each time you get closer to mastering it. We always know you're unpacking my handbag or shoving something into the video machine when you're silent.
I've tried to show you how to draw, but for now you appear content to eat the crayons. You're very right handed in most things, a little victory for Dad. He likes to pretend that I am inferior for being a lefty. It's still early for him to be getting smug about that though. You love to look at books, your favourite being a book of shapes as told by the Cookie Monster from Sesame Street. I don't know where the book came from, but it is a seriously stupid story. I can't wait for the day when you're as bored of it as I am. We read it at least seventeen times a day.
You are healthy my love, almost never sick. You figured out that sleeping was best done for long periods, at night, not long after you were born, and I thank you for that. You rarely interrupt our sleep patterns, the exception being the one or two nights before your new teeth arrive. Those nights you snuggle up in our bed, the rest of the time you sleep in your own bed, curled around your favourite furry dog. The cot didn't get as much use as I expected it would. Then again, my expectations have hardly been accurate. And you have exceeded every one of them anyway.
It's been an eventful year and a bit. I never imagined that I actually would forget what my life was like before you, even though so many people said it would happen.
Thanks, Little Guy, for being all that you are.
I love you more than I knew I could.