Our Little Bear, our Baby Small.
I’ve been remembering over the past few days where we were a year ago. You still weren’t quite supposed to be here, not for another four weeks yet. But there you were, tiny and perfect.
We were still in hospital, this time last year. You’d been in an incubator at first, not quite strong enough to face the world alone. I was so happy when they brought you to sleep by my side.
They were rocky, those first couple of weeks. But ultimately you WERE strong – strong enough for the both of us.
It seems like yesterday and also a lifetime ago.
And it is a lifetime for you. You have grown from that tiny perfect newborn into just the most amazing little character. You are full of contradictions. Sometimes so wonderfully calm – that was the first impression you made on the world, on everyone who met you in your earliest days. Once we’d finally got you home from hospital we were all so relieved. I felt guilty when I saw how the simplest things made you so happy: no more poking and prodding and bright lights and strangers. You loved to be held, but you tolerated being set down alone more than your brother ever did. It gave me some much needed moments of peace, but it wasn’t long before I was giving you snuggles anyway.
With the calm came quiet observation. You still watch the world with a fierce intensity, delighting in the things you see, familiar or new, and trying out your burgeoning language on the labelling of it all.
Light. Chickens. Up. Arthur. Hiya.
Your vocabulary is beginning to give shape to your frustrations, and I can’t wait to hear your voice blossom.
You definitely have those moments of frustration. Not even moments really, more phases. Times in the day when literally nothing is right, when you are desperate to communicate with us fully but we are only able to decode your most rudimentary of messages.
You get frustrated with your body too.
To me it is incredible, the things it can do. You have a classic baby crawl, but one which gets you places super fast. And then there’s the climbing. So much climbing! I watch you approach an obstacle and size it up, swiftly working out how best to overcome it. Sometimes you get yourself into compromising positions and need rescuing before it all goes wrong. I think we’ll have fun in the years to come, you and I.
It isn’t just us though, of course. There’s Dada and Arthur too. You love them both so much, but there is a special magic reserved for your brother. You are transfixed by him.
And he adores you too. He tells me so often. It was always going to be a challenge for your brother, having someone else to compete for our affections. But I reckon you’ve won him over.
It’s not hard to see why.
You are full of twinkle. From your sparkly eyes to your cute little toes, from your magical giggle to the way you writhe so athletically out of any situation you don’t want to be in.
It’s impossible not to admire you, and to be inspired by you.
I find myself marvelling often at how strange it is that in some ways you are similar to your brother and yet in other ways are oh so very different. Which is odd, really. Of course you’re different: you are Orson, and he is Arthur.
It’s made me realise though that lots of the things I thought were products of my parenting – good and bad – really aren’t.
Not that you’ve made me think my influence as a parent doesn’t matter – quite the opposite! I may not be able to predict exactly how my choices will impact on you, but I will still make the choices I feel to be true.
I will make the choices that I believe will allow you to be the person that you are most fully. I don’t know entirely who that is yet, but I know I love him.
It is such a privilege, motherhood. Exhausting, all-consuming, paradigm-changing. And amazing.
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to do it all over again.
My life is so much richer with you in it.
All my love for always,