I can’t believe it has been a year since I was here. I want to reflect on the year gone by for me, but for today I am just going to focus on my beautiful baby girl.
Charlotte Rose, our Charly bear, you are a whole year old! You are funny and smart and full of energy and mischief. You make us laugh out loud and you make us so very proud with your understanding and endless learning. You shock us every day with something new.
Let’s begin on the outside, because I have no doubt every year this will shift and change along with the rest of you and I want to remember you as you are today – you are so beautiful. People are constantly approaching us to tell us how gorgeous you are and how much you look like daddy or me – you got the best of us both.
You are just under 13kgs, 70cm tall and squishy in all the right places. I’m sad to see your little squishy leg rolls begin to disappear as you never stop moving. You have the most edible rounded pink cheeks and the urge to pinch them has been expressed by everyone from family to our internet friends!
You have the most amazing hair! When you were born it was thick and black, it lightened over time and went from a dark mahogany to a bright red for a while. And then suddenly, later than expected, it all fell out! I was devastated. It started growing back a dark blonde colour, which then went light brown and now it seems to have found a colour all of its own that we have dubbed strawberry caramel. It is the most wonderful warm unique colour and daddy and I spend ages trying to capture it on a photo or fully describe it, but it isn’t possible.
Your eyes are framed by light brown eyebrows, which are incredibly expressive and are exactly the same as your daddy’s. When you two pull certain faces, it is quite disconcerting to see how alike you are. Like daddy, your eyebrows give away your thoughts without you even knowing it. You also have thick long gorgeous lashes a shade darker than your brows; the butterfly shadows they cast as you sleep have been the subject of hours of my attention while I am meant to be doing other things.
And then there are your eyes. Not to be outdone by your hair, they shift and change constantly. If I were to label them, I would say they are hazel. But they are more like a shifting brown and grey, and even now there are days when they appear blue or a deep green. More uniqueness.
You have your daddy’s perfectly tilted nose – it is literally the cutest thing ever (on you both). You also have your daddy’s ears – with one pixie ear just like him! Your lips are like mine, along with your cheeks and your hands and feet. All the women in our family have the same hands and feet – great granny, granny, Aunty Tam, Chloe bean, mommy and you – how special is that!
You have the most gorgeous infectious smile and two gorgeous dimples. You have 8 teeth (4 on top and 4 on the bottom) and I suspect you are working on a few more at the moment.
You already wear a size 4 shoe on those feet! And you are mostly wearing 18-24 month or 2-3 year old clothing.
You have a big voice, just like mommy and daddy. It has a husky tone to it at the moment, though it’s hard to identify your actual voice. You are going through a chattering stage; you sound like you are having fluent conversations with everyone (and everything) in a foreign language with a few English words thrown in the mix. Your vocab at the moment is Mama, Dada, Baba, Meemeem (your special name for me), Up, Wowow (dog), Baabaa (sheep), Toddle (for your favourite book but also a lot of other books), Bubble (for bubbles and bathtime), Purple (clear as day, you picked it up from Super Simple Songs), Owl, Booooo (book), Baaaw (ball), Thembo (Thembe), Po (pooh), Beeboo (when you want to breastfeed), and Hum (food). Your latest additions are ooooooh boy, oooooh dear and oh wow and you had everyone in stitches at your party with them. You’ve lost a few words you started out with like gaga, lala, and Buffff (butterfly) and you’ve said kitty and granny once or twice; but you add new ones daily so I have no doubt they will return.
You are very physically adept and very strong. You sat alone early, pulled yourself up, stood holding on and alone long before I was ready for such things; and you crawled, cruised, started walking and now running all on top of each other. It was like once you got started, you just couldn’t stop.
You point, wave, clap, high five, blow kisses and do the actions to some of your favourite songs (Head shoulders knees and toes, one little finger, twinkle twinkle and incy wincy spider). You pick up balls and try to throw them to others, and you try to catch them when they are rolled or thrown to you.
You dance with your whole body now, you walk while kicking a ball, you stomp when they do in nursery rhymes. You crouch down to pick things up mid-stride without toppling over; you also crouch down and wag your finger while talking to the cat or anything else smaller than you.
You fetch things and bring them to us when we ask for them. You have conversations on your/my/daddy’s cellphones and when any of our phones ring and you don’t have a phone handy, you simply improvise or lift your hand to your ear and start talking.
You’ve started “back chatting” when you are being naughty, you make very cross little grunting noises when we are telling you not to do something and you keep doing it – it does my head in! I thought I had more time before thinking about things like discipline and teaching you right from wrong.
You have discovered you can control your face and making funny faces makes people laugh. You have 4 new expressions that you practice in front of the mirror and on all of us – the squishy happy face, the squishy sad face, bottom lip out and bottom teeth out – they are hilarious.
You love other children, particularly your cousin Chloe who you follow around constantly; I’m already imagining the two of you getting into all kinds of mischief in a few short years. Your other favourite is definitely Keiden and you have been known to hold his hand and stroke him to let him know; but the more kids you meet, the more you love.
You are fearless – you wanted to run into the sea the first time we went to the beach; you ran all over Kirstenbosch garden; you played with a dog the first time you saw one; you wanted to climb with the big kids at the Spur playground and went down the slide the first time you encountered one; and everybody was so amazed at the way you just did everything and tried everything at your party on Sunday.
You’re fearless with your body, but a little less so with a few other things. You have the strangest terrors – like this gorgeous little turtle from one of your favourite nursery rhyme shows, a Shrek Donkey toy and Halloween pumpkins – these things truly terrify you and leave you crying and shaking; which is the WORST! And yet a real-life shark made you smile and clap your hands!
It took you a long time to enjoy eating solid food, but you are becoming a real pro at it now. You have a few favourites – broccoli, nectarines, mashed potato (well, any potato really), cucumber, eggs, meatballs, fish and baby pork sausages. You’ll eat little bits of everything though, except sweet potato; it doesn’t matter how we try to serve it to you – from mash to fries to roasted and even pancakes – you try it, spit it out and hurl it across the room.
You love books of all kinds. Julia Donaldson is your current favourite; Toddle Waddle and Goat goes to Playgroup are the most frequently read. You also have a few “no name” rhyming stories that you’ve loved since you were tiny (little owl and little tiger; baby bear bedtime) and you love the first word books – particularly the ones with animals in. You also have two collections of miniature books that you adore.
Your favourite toys are your Pooh bears, the monkey you got for your birthday from Uncle Marinus (Dr C as you guys know him), Wowows (from Aunty Cassey, Aunty Lean and Aunty Tessa), Baabaa, a little Garfield figurine from somewhere in mommy’s past, your MooCow rocker, your piano and your balls (all of them).
You love bathtime with mommy, especially if there are bubbles. You love going for walks in your pram. You love to dance, especially to a really annoying song by Talking Tom on granny’s phone. You love nursery rhymes; you have three favourites on YouTube – Super Simple Songs (your very best), hoopla kids , and Kids Camp – and you’ve learnt so much from them including your love of funny dances.
I could literally go on forever and still never completely capture the perfection I find in you every day. I take hundreds of photos and videos and wrote endless posts to try to freeze frame the moments that hold so much of your personality in them; but even now looking back over the last year, I can barely equate the teeny baby that you were with the awesome little human you are becoming every day.
We love you so very much our Charly bear; you are so much of us and so much of yourself and so much of our universe. We are so very proud and blessed to call you our baby girl.