Hello my lovely!
We have had a lovely summer together and, as the yellowing leaves begin to submit to the inevitability of autumn, I wanted to take a few moments to remember and to mark the progress you have made this year.
It's been a big year for you. In fact it seems that every year is a big year for you. Virtually every year you have been alive, you have experienced seismic changes that would rock a secure adult on their heels. This year it has been the acquisition of a new sister.
Of course, she's not new to you. She arrived two Christmases ago, all tiny and squidgy and bundled up. But now she is your official, real-life, legal sister. I have asked you many times to welcome children into our home and to play with them and help me show love and care towards them, but this time I am asking you to make a permanent commitment and it feels momentous to me. I'm sure it does to you too.
You are an amazing big brother. I can tell that from our very long 'try out'. You fetch snacks and toys for Birdy when she is crying. You tickle her tummy to make her laugh. You sing to her and tolerate her destruction of your carefully constructed play worlds amazingly well. You kiss her goodnight. You are concerned when she is hurt. She couldn't ask for better. I couldn't ask for better.
But becoming a big brother hasn't been your only achievement this year. I know, sweet knees, that you are afraid of many things. You don't want to be afraid. In your head, you want to do the things that scare you but, when the time comes, your body betrays you, adrenaline overtakes you and you freeze up or prepare for flight. Sometimes you fight.
All of this makes it even more remarkable that this summer you actually stroked a dog. A real dog! I know that this doesn't mean that your fear of dogs in general has melted away, but I am so proud of you for taking control over your strong feelings in this way. It's something we can build on together, I'm sure of it.
Not only that, but you screwed up all your courage while we were on holiday and put your face completely in the water. In fact, you actually swam a few strokes underwater. Even now, I can picture the delight and pride on your face as you wiped the water from your eyes, laughing and smiling. You've come a long way from the little boy who wouldn't even get into the bath. These days you even let me shower the soap out of your hair (as long as you're wearing your special splashguard of course!).
And then, last week, came another amazing moment. You agreed to have a little try at riding your bike without stabilisers. We prepared thoroughly, equipping you with a shiny, new, red helmet, as well as elbow and knee pads and some very cool fingerless gloves. I thought you might back out when it came to it but, no, you let me get the spanner out and take those stabilisers away.
You didn't cry. You didn't panic. You worked really hard and would have kept trying long after I was too tired to run after you any more. You wanted to have a go on your own. I could have cried with delight at seeing you so confident at something so scary for you. You haven't mastered it yet, but you are keen to keep trying.
My very best boy, you are a delight and a treasure. Every single day, I am glad to be your mummy.