To my darling Leila,
I’m writing you a letter because you’re 16 weeks old today, because you’re playing happily in your bouncy chair and allowing me some internet time, because I want you to know, however old you get (and may you get so old that your wrinkles grow wrinkles, my love), how happy you make me. In the words of the M&S advert: Just Because.
When I couldn’t sleep at night, I used to visualize the place I’d like to be the most. A treehouse in a beautiful forest, a luxurious candlelit spa, a meadow. But one night, soon after you were born, I started this visualization and had to stop. I realised that there was nowhere I would rather be than where I was- tucked up in bed with you in your moses basket at my side, ready to wake me up two hours after I’d gone to sleep.
You’ve outgrown your moses basket now, and thankfully you only wake once in the night these days (you slept through the night for almost two glorious weeks. Hey, why don’t we try that again?). Soon you’ll be going into your own room, where perhaps I won’t be woken by your new hobby: scratching the side of your cot with your nails, like a little beast sharpening your claws.
At nearly four months old, the world for you is a fiesta, a sqealapalooza, a grinathon. You’re hilarious. You have no manners. Life is one long social faux pas: from burping loudly in the quietest part of a church service, to learning to blow (a constant stream of) raspberries whilst at Great Granny’s house, to managing to spread dribble across your entire face with your fat little wrist.
It’s all a big joke to you, my smiling, chuckling girl. Your jolly disposition does not come from your mother, but I’m glad of it. And you’ve made me jollier. You have managed this by just by being you. But you’ve also done it by banishing my demons. Before I had you, I was so scared of whether I would be a good mum. But, like a great gust of fresh air, you’ve blown away all these terrors. I know at last that I can be a good mum, that I am a good mum to you- though you make it easy, I have to tell you.
I could wax lyrical for hours on all the things you’ve taught me. But right now you’ve grown tired of cramming the teddy bear that hangs from your bouncy seat into your mouth, your socks have come off again, and each time I peer over the top of the laptop, you smile at me winningly and emit a loud shout. Clearly there’s fun to be had, and I can’t wait to share it with you.