You were that new baby, a little Frog, with huge feet like paddles and long, gangly limbs. You gulped at the air and made a tiny whimper. Then you nuzzled in and had your first taste of milk.
That morning was three years ago today. And now you are no longer a tiny baby, depending on me for milk and warmth and cuddles. Now you are three. And an independent three at that.
The last year has seen you blossom from a wobbly, often shy toddler to an outgoing, funny (and sometimes hard work) little girl.
You rule with your voice and your mood can change like the shadows on the wall. But you are witty, with a wicked sense of humour and an infectious laugh. Your chuckle rings through the house and lifts whoever hears it. You are, as many say, a “character”.
Each month that has passed since your second birthday has brought new strength to those long, flexible limbs of yours. Regular trips to the physio treatment room are a distant memory. You can walk without wobbles now. You can run, jump, skip and climb. And dance – you LOVE to dance.
We will often find you locked in your own world, as you enchant an imaginary audience with dance moves, stories and songs. I catch brief glimpses of that world now, as I listen to you speak to “Jenny”, “John Jelly Moo” and all the others.
We are on the cusp of great change, little Frog. I’m not sure that you realise how much is going to change in your life over the next few weeks. We talk about saying goodbye to our house, about your new bedroom, new nursery and new friends. You regularly tell anyone who’ll listen that you are moving to Devon, although I’m not entirely convinced that you understand Devon exists beyond your grandparents’ garden. We shall see.
I am around more for you these days, and you seem to like that. Unused to seeing me in the mornings, you still ask if it’s the weekend when you find I haven’t left for work. I like being with you and getting to know the child that you are becoming. We’re growing to be friends, not just mum and daughter. You entertain me, we chat, we laugh.
The capacity for love never fails to amaze me. Before you arrived I thought I understood that rush of emotion I would feel. I had an inkling that my own parents loved me – but I had no idea what that really felt like to experience first hand. I do now. It’s all-consuming. It’s fierce, raw, fragile, exhausting, inspiring and gets bigger every day.
I often imagine my heart like a balloon. Every moment of joy or rage or sadness that I experience as a parent sees a little puff go into the balloon. It gets bigger and bigger. I’m scared that one day it will burst but, so far, I seem to be OK. It’s reassuing to see my own mum and dad haven’t exploded with that love yet – and they’re a good thirty years ahead of me.
I made you a birthday cake for today Frog. You asked for a chocolate cake with chocolate buttons. Nervous, having never attempted a birthday cake for you before, I almost gave up. I’m not a cake type of mum, really. I like the idea of it, but I never have the time. So I hope you’ll see this cake and realise that it’s one in a million ways that I’m showing you that I love you.
It’s probably not something you’ll understand until you’re older, so I took a picture to show you when that day comes, as proof:
(It’s meant to be a hedgehog.)
Thank you for the last year, little girl. I promise I’ll continue to keep doing my best as your mum. It’s all for you now, always has been really. I just didn’t know it before you came along.
Love Mummy x (or “Molly” as you’ve taken to calling me recently).