Dear Arlo,

I am writing to tell you about the past few months. A lot has happened and I think that I might forget if I don’t write everything down once in a while.

There have been a lot of firsts. You went on your first holiday at 9 months old. This started off with your first plane journey, which didn’t bother you at all, although I think you would have prefered to crawl around the plane and make friends rather than sit on Mama’s lap. You had a great time in France crawling around the big house and loved having your aunties, uncle, grandma and grandad around. I think you were a bit disappointed to come home. You worked out how to pull yourself into a standing position, and you had your first taste of ice cream (which you didn’t even like, and made you look like you had a beard).

Back at home, you are all about climbing and cruising these days. You can reach things that you couldn’t reach before, and you know how to open all the cupboards and where all the good stuff is kept. I can’t keep up with your mess, it is like a little tornado has whipped through our house every day.

You have discovered the stairs, and can climb all the way from the bottom to the top and into your bedroom or our bedroom, where you like to play the banjo, or try to climb the banjo. You always wait for Mama or Dada to walk behind you before you climb the stairs, which is very good of you, but I think I will need to put a baby gate there just in case.

At 10 months old, you slept through the night (from 7.30-6am) for the first time ever, and have done this a few times since, although you often do like to wake up at 5am for a play or a feed.

When you were very tiny, Dada went away with work and brought you back an Iguana toy. He is now your absolute best friend and partner in crime, you crawl everywhere with him in your hand and love to chew his tail. Unfortunately, Dada gave him a rather offensive name that I think we will have to change, seeing as you like to bring him out in public so much.

You have learned to wave. You won’t wave back, but you will give spontaneous waves to people every now and then when we least expect it. You enjoy waving to your lampshade the most. You like to bite me. You don’t really do it to anyone else so I take it as a sign of affection, but it does hurt a bit sometimes.

You have started to mimic our actions, and your favourite one is to shake your head and say ‘Nah’. I have been trying not to say ‘No’ too much, but it has made me realise just how much I shake my head when I am talking to you. Dada plays a funny game with you in the highchair, which involves you both shaking your heads like loons and making funny noises. If you throw your beaker off the table, you know that Dada will catch it and make it into a hilarious game, which you play over and over. You also know that Mama does not play these sorts of games.

You have discovered the delights of being the active player in a game of Peekaboo, and any curtain, door, or large object is susceptible to an impromptu game. Your babbling has taken on a whole new level. A month ago you could only make ‘Da’ noises. Now you have a whole range of ‘Ba’s, ‘Na’s, and even ‘Mama’s.

Next week, you will be 11 months old. You are growing so quickly and changing every day. I love watching you learn new skills. We’ve had a lovely year, and I am a little sad about the thought of not being with you every day, because even though you are such a big boy now, you are still very little to me. So, I am trying to work out a way to earn us a little more money and still be able to spend a few days of the week with you. It’s called ‘having the best of both worlds’, because I want to be able to give you everything you need and make sure our house is good enough for you, but I also want to be there for you every day, at least while you are still so young and so attached to Mama. Both these things feel quite important and scary to me right now, and I know that you have noticed that Mama has been quite busy at the computer recently.

Hopefully we can sort it all out very soon and go back to having fun packed days, just you and me.

Love you very much,

Mama

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