Dear Arlo,

I’m writing you again and you are still the same age?!

That’s right.

The last letter was a summary of the past four months, but I realised there are so many more things I wanted to say about you at fifteen months old specifically. You have so much going on right now.

You still like to say ‘Mama…Dada! Mama…dada!’ over and over, which makes us laugh.

We love the sing-song way you say ‘Dada!’, a mixture of surprise and delight in your voice. Every time you say it, it sounds like you weren’t expecting to see him, even if he’s been in the room for hours.

You say ‘Mama’ in a quiet and thoughtful way. You often look quite serious when you say ‘Mama’.

It’s funny when you say our names together, that you can alternate so quickly between your happy and your serious voice.

Your tone says it all. Dada is your fun, I am your comfort.

When Dada comes home from work you want to be chased around the house and tickled immediately. If Dada doesn’t initiate the games straight away, you climb up on the sofa or the bed and roll around roaring until Dada gets the message.

Books are so big in your life right now. You want to read every single book you can find. I love the way you grab a book, climb on my lap and nestle in. I’ve never seen you sit so still as when we have a big pile of books around us.

The other day, I read you a book, then when we were finished, you went over to Dada and held the book out to him. It was so cool to see you exerting a preference like that, ‘Now I choose Dada to read me the book’. I think Dada was pretty pleased by this too.

You have two toys in your cot. A cat and a bear. I put them there because I thought it might be nice for you to have some friends at night time. They are there when you go to sleep, and every time I come in to you when you wake, they are on the floor. You like calling their names, but I’m not sure you like sharing your bed. It makes me laugh that you do this same thing every single time.

You say ‘Noonoonoonoo!’ and point when you want something. It’s almost like you are saying ‘Now now now!’.

I ask you, ‘What noise does a pig make?’ and you will snort. But if I ask you, ‘What noise does a sheep make?’ you will snort for that too.
If I point to a pig and say, ‘What is that?, you snort. You just like snorting, really.

I am fascinated by your ability to categorise.  There must be some awesome things going on in that brain of yours right now.

How are you able to tell that it is a dog when they come in all sizes and colours? When did you learn that?? How do you know that your dog bath toy, that is bright yellow and cartoonish and doesn’t even look anything like a real dog, is a dog?

And how on earth, at eleven months old, did you know that a multicoloured beach ball, a basketball, or a tennis ball were balls when your only previous reference was your ball, which was black and white?

You have toy cars of all shapes and sizes, but you know to group them together when you are playing. Same with your trains, and your different sets of stacking blocks.

You have three little Nintendo cars that you spotted on the bookshelf (they had been Mama and Dada’s once) and you begged me to get one down for you.

But you weren’t happy until I had got them all down for you. You knew there were three, and you treat them as a set. If one car is being placed on the TV unit, the other two are sure to follow close behind.

You are not that crazy about balls anymore. There’s hardly any ball herding these days. You’ve firmly moved on to cars and trains.

You do the roar at, ‘If you see a lion don’t forget to roar’ bit of row the boat. And the scream for, ‘If you see a crocodile’. (Actually, you’ve been doing that for a couple of months but I forgot to mention it until now).

You still like dogs, but you are so fascinated by cats. When the neighbours cat came in for a visit, you followed him all around the house and squealed the whole way. There are lots of cats at Grandma and Granddad’s and you love to spot them.

I am trying to teach you some other animals, you are very good at spotting bears and birds, but every time I say ‘horse’, you look at me very insistently with your brow furrowed, and you say ‘dog!’.

Your baby smile was a big wide grin  In order to get one, all you had to do was smile at you first. Now it’s changed into a knowing smile. This smile knows all about jokes and comes with its own sense of humour. A little bit harder to crack, but once you do its such a sweet little smile.

At bedtime and during the night, when we walk you round and round your bedroom, you like to be cradled. My giant baby.

I study your features. So much of that face has changed. But when you lay with your head nestled to the side in the crook of my arm, it just takes one glance at the shape of your closed eyelid and I can see your face just as it was on the night I first cradled you in my arms.

I wonder if this is always the way. Will I will always be able to see your newborn face when I watch you sleep, even when you are all grown up?



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