Dear Balthazar and Lysander,
So now you are two. In truth you have been two years old for some time now, for a whole month and a little bit, but I’ll let you in on a secret now that you are old enough to read and for it to no longer matter: on the morning that you turned two, we woke up and decided that we couldn’t face a birthday. So we very quietly put the presents back in the wardrobe, ate the cake ourselves that evening, and you never knew. What wicked parents we are! You had a good day nonetheless, of course, but it didn’t have the pomp and presence of a birthday; there were no candles, the floor remained clean of wrapping paper, nobody sung to you.
You were one year old for three weeks longer than you should have been, and it’s just occured to me now that we finally celebrated your birthday around the time that you likely would have been born had you not been induced. Your party was not a big affair; we were still sleep-deprived, still exhausted. But Grandy and Nanny Fish were back from their holidays, your Great-Grandad drove all the way over from Surrey, Auntie Paige and Uncle CJ came to play and you loved the attention, the revelry and the cake. You were the sweetest little creatures with chocolate icing smeared around your mouths, down your clothes, in your hair.
It has been such a year. I hope that the benefits of having siblings so close in age outweighs the disadvantages of sharing us with three other demanding, unreasonable, vulnerable small people. I hope that even on the occasions where you ask to be held and our arms are already full, you still know how very much you mean to us. You are the little boys who started this crazy, chaotic journey; you made us mothers. You have taught us so much and you have learned alongside and from us, and I love that you share in – and frequently lead – this adventure. You are beautiful and wonderful and funny and oh, such a challenge, but a challenge that it has been an honour to embrace alongside you.
This year you have grown and changed so much. You have transformed from not-quite-babies who knew a word or two to walking, talking tiny people with big feelings and even bigger opinions. You can name so many objects, concepts and ideas and you light up when you recite the alphabet or count to ten. I am sorry that I laugh at you when you are face-down and howling with devastation because at seven o’ clock in the morning we refuse to give you the ‘bikkit’ that you have demanded – you are just so sweet and so funny, and listening to you talk is still such a novelty that it does make me giggle. You constantly amaze me with the things that you know, with your likes and dislikes that are often so different from ours that they could not have been taught. What incredible children you are.
I have so many hopes for your third year on this planet. Be healthy, be happy, learn well, love fiercely. Keep on growing. Be strong, be safe. Remember how much you will always mean to us.
With much love,