Dear ‘Dactyl (daughter).
Loud. That’s what the midwife said when you first popped out. So loud, apparently, the maternity ward hadn’t heard a newborn yodel like it in months. I refused to put a label on you – so soon – however, after your brother started to say, “Girls are loud, aren’t they?” your Father and I gave in. We accepted you might have an ingenious volume button. And amp. And equalizer. That’s when you became our little Pterodactyl.
Just imagine the fun when you have some actual words to throw around those vocal chords? We feel like the only people who know you right now, as you can’t talk. I know which flower you want to hold when you’re riding in the backpack and which tree to touch. I know why you wave at the couch sometimes – you’re no longer sitting on it, right? You get upset when a drawer is sticking out. Easily fixed. When your volume button nears ten, we trot outside. Also, easily fixed. The woods are a fantastic place for us now. I don’t need a blow horn to ward off cougars – you can be heard all the way to the Eureka! Use that talent my darling.
People tell you that you’re beautiful and sometimes I flinch – not because I disagree, you certainly are – but I don’t want you growing up with the heaviness of being told You’re Beautiful, from the age of one. Oh yes, beauty opens doors, plumps up luck, gets more friend requests on facebook, but it also brings with it close scrutiny. Feeling intensely watched, weirdly, can increase self-doubt. We like to tell you you’re beautifully funny. There’s nothing more gorgeous than well developed wit. You make us chortle when you blow at the lights to turn them off and dress yourself in my knickers.
Your adoration for your big brother breaks my heart – he can’t appreciate the benefits of an affable shadow yet. He will. Your little fingers tickle your father’s heart. You just need to smile and say ‘puudah’ and he will take you outside in the rain to splosh in puddles. He’s coiled around your pinky and I hope it stays that way forever. You first touched me, in my belly, when one small foot stretched up to tap the cave you were in. I felt that. I’ve felt every discovery since. Your fingers are from my eyes, my ears and my smile. My heart has never felt so large.
Sometimes, I seem annoyed when you sit on my head when I’m trying to do yoga. But I don’t actually mind. One day you won’t want to scramble all over me, and certainly never hold my hand at parties, race back to my lap in music class, or lunge at my legs after I’ve popped outside for a minute. At some point you won’t want to walk next to me, no matter how amazing I am – and believe me I am – as I’ll become uncool. I hope by then, I won’t mind that either.
When I lose my patience with you and your brother – those times when I turn into a wide mouthed toad – you have every right to be startled. I am afterwards. Who knew I could be so loud? You don’t understand I’m having a moment of Not Wanting To Be Just A Mother, because that’s all you need me to be. The scale of emotions you both make me dance across, every day, is extraordinary.
For now, while we have all this glorious time together, and space, let’s celebrate how remarkable we are; how hysterically funny; how blindingly clever; how ferociously passionate and how wonderfully, incredibly, marvellously loud. You go my little ‘Dactyl.
Merry second Christmas.