Balthazar. Zaza. Nenky. You are small and fierce; your mummy calls you ‘Ickle’ on account of your diminutive stature but every inch of you is filled with determination. I love how, when you spot something that you would like to possess, you shout before you set off toward it. The advanced warning provided by your yell is sometimes enough to catch you before you wreak havoc, but not always – you are disconcertingly fast when you put your mind to something. Much to our dismay you can climb a ladder as fast as any man and you have realised that in order to access objects that are higher than you can reach, all that you need to do is push a smaller object toward it and climb that first.
One of your favourite tricks is to climb on to the sofa and from there progress to the arm rest. From the arm rest you have the choice of either climbing the laundry rack, which you quite enjoy, more so when it half-collapses and ‘bounces’ you (a favourite game!) or else diving head-first into the travel cot, which we frequently use to contain things that you are not allowed to have.
Recently I ‘lost’ you in our living room and found you in there, in an upturned box, unravelling your mummy’s knitting. She thought that you were tremendously clever but was not impressed with me, which I found to be slightly unfair given that all I did was become absorbed in the laptop and you clearly took advantage of that (she had already accepted that you are clever, after all.). At eleven months you learned to navigate stairs and now you are surprisingly steady on your feet as you climb up and down, largely unassisted. We think that you might have an aptitude for mountaineering as you grow.
You are a master at games, your small face lighting up at the realisation that there is merriment to be had. It is something special that we share with you, the people that love you the most; you have a perfect poker face for strangers.
You have always adored our dog, Josephine, but it is only recently that she has been willing to allow you to sit beside her. You like to say ‘Ahhh!’ and lean in for a cuddle, burying your face in her fur. It gives me hope that you will be an ‘animal person’, like we are. You demand kisses from all of us, even your brother – pushing him over with the force of your enthusiasm at times. It is especially funny to watch you develop into your own little person because you look so like me and yet our personalities are in some ways very unalike: I have never been nearly so physical, so comfortable in my own body, as you are at not even one year old.
We love you, our firstborn, our little one. It is a pleasure and a privilege to watch you grow and develop, to know the baby you were then, the baby you are now, the person you will be. Never lose that fierceness. You make us smile every day.
With love from your mother.