To my darling daughter,
I have come to realise something recently. It’s something that makes me feel slightly sad. Yet at the same time, it’s uplifting, exciting. I have come to realise that you are no longer my little baby girl.
I feel sadness because for the past 16 months, a tiny little helpless baby has been my whole world. I’ve adored you, I’ve soaked in your precious little features. I’ve watched and admired every little change, every development, every milestone. I’ve held you and talked to you, I’ve sung to you and played with you. All the while, you were my baby.
Now, quite clearly, you are not my baby. You are a toddler. A little girl who is very quickly growing. You have boundless energy, creativity, opinions and independence. You are in control and able to communicate your likes and your displeasure. This is all wonderful, it truly is! But a part of me will always hold dear the precious first few months of your life.
While I think back fondly to the incredible little baby you were, I also deeply love the toddler who you’ve become. You amaze me every day with something new. You freely share your smiles and laughter, and every time you do, it brightens up the world. You find pleasure in little things and you appear to enjoy the funny side of life! I hope that sticks with you as you grow. The world is already far too full of serious people doing serious things with serious looks on their faces. People who wouldn’t spot a joke if it fell on them like a grand piano – cartoon-style. But the world is a fun place and a funny place. It is yours to enjoy.
You are a great communicator. You make it clear what you want and when you want it. You are not afraid to ask for things or to put forward your opinion. Never be afraid to do these things. You express enjoyment, wonder and displeasure in the most clear ways. And you listen. I’ve never seen someone concentrate so intently on my face when I speak to them as you do. You want so much to understand every word that I say.
You love to move. The development of walking has opened up your little world and you take full advantage of it. You walk whenever you get the chance and you have no problem with covering large distances. You’ve even started moving very quickly. I feel that running is not far away.
One of your favourite things to do now that you are a toddler is read books. You climb up into my lap, on the chair in your room and you demand that I lift you up. Your eyes dart across the shelf until you find a book that takes your fancy. Your little hand shoots out and firmly grasps your prize. I lower you back into my lap and together we explore the book. Sometimes I read it to you from cover to cover. Other times you flick through the pages and we discuss the pictures. You know all sorts of animals and the sound that they make (although you still have trouble spotting the bees, even though you know what sound they make). Often, when one book is done, the request for a second is loud and immediate.
Sometimes you eat as much as I do! Your palate is fairly diverse, although you do have a tendency to favour carbs and dairy. You have excellent spoon control, although sometimes you try to fit far too much into your tiny mouth at once! I love sitting down with you and mum at meal time. I hope that as you grow, dinner will be a time to sit as a family and talk about all manner of things.
My darling girl, know that I loved the baby that you were, and the toddler that you are. Know that together we have created incredible memories, and that I appreciate every second that I have with you in the present. Little one, know that I look forward to the wide expanse of the future and all that it may hold for you. You may no longer be my little baby girl, but I will always be your dad.