You are 18 months old now. I know it’s cliché, but I really don’t know where the time has gone. I remember the first time I met you as if it happened yesterday, your cloudy eyes staring up at mine as I held you in the birthing pool, I’ve never felt more terrified in my entire life. Your clay-like skin, wet and slippery from the pool, your cloudy eyes searching for mine, I couldn’t catch a breath.
You are not a little baby anymore, you are growing and developing and finding your place in the world. You are so determined in everything that you do, and you know exactly what you want. You demand your own way, and we always give in, so amazed are we by your strength and unfaltering pursuit of your wants.
You are sweet and loving, always giving kisses and cuddles. On our trips with the carrier, you will sometimes wriggle your arms free just so you can wrap them around me and squeeze tightly. When you are walking on an adventure, you always grip my hand with yours if we are near roads, and you rarely struggle to get free.
Sharing a bed with you is one of the most special things in the world. Your face is the last thing I see at night, before I switch off the light, watching you breathe in and out as you dream peacefully of unknown things. My mornings start with kisses and cuddles as you try to rouse me from my sleep. Occasionally you will be more forceful, and use all your strength to try and shove me from my slumber.
You are so friendly with strangers, always saying hello and waving. You march to the middle of the path, and stand proudly waving until you have been acknowledged. You make friends wherever you go, with strangers on the bus and children at the park, you love to be a part of it.
You love animals so much. You are so gentle and respectful towards them. You don’t run at birds and scare them, or pull the tails of cats. You stroke gently, whisper quietly and observe with love, I feel so proud to be your mother.
You love music, and dancing in particular. You will point excitedly at the TV, with your expectant face on, until I play you some music. You grab your Daddy’s phone and dance to nothing until he puts Chuck Berry on for you to dance to. Recently, you have learnt to sing and it is so lovely to listen to you “la la la” along with the music. If we are walking down the street, and a car drives past with music blaring, you will break your arms free of the carrier so you can dance. It seems almost uncontrollable at times, your intense desire to dance.
Stories are one of your favourite pastimes. You will walk over to the shelf and pick one of your many books, and walk over to me with outstretched arms. We sit together in the afternoons, and I read you story after story until you decide you’ve had enough. Sometimes you read them to me too, “loodle loodle loodle” you always say.
We spend our days outside, exploring woods, walking through meadows and clambering on playground equipment. You have no awareness of danger, and love marching up to nettles, stroking bees and climbing the over 7s equipment. I live in a constant state of fear that something terrible will happen, but I fight the urge to intervene. I stand back and let you climb, and sometimes fall, because I know how much you love the independence, and how important it is to let you be you.
I am so proud of you, Ebony. I feel so lucky to be part of your life, and to be sharing in your childhood.