After Ava’s birthday, I stopped thinking of her age in terms of months, except today, when Howard pointed out she’s 15 months old. ‘This time, 15 months ago, we had just moved to the birthing room and you were probably already in the water.’ Yes.
But today, like so many other days of late, it seems that Ava is just so very grown up. A toddler already, a little girl sometimes. These days we seem to spend in amazement and surprise at her growing abilities. Her new words, her near-constant dancing (‘more music’ is her favourite baby-signing sentence of all time) and her sweet nature emerging just a little bit more everyday.
(She just trundled past me in her coat, with her new shoes on, Howard following close behind, saying ‘Walk! Walk! Walk! Walk!…’ over and over. Which sounds more like Wow-k, Wow-k, Wow-k, Wow-k.)
These days seem so sweet, and I try to remind myself just to notice how very lovely they are, to take time to really soak it in. Sometimes that’s hard to do because it seems like there is just too much of the good stuff, too many moments filled with heart-bursting love, to actually sit and think about. She blisses me out.
And then, on top of that, I have been able to see so much more of one of my closest friends, who I have known for a very long time. Watching her and Ava get to know each other and seeing Ava’s growing enchantment with her has been another Good Thing that I am thankful for. (In fact, ‘Jo-Jo’ is one of her new words, which sounds a lot like ‘Dough-dough ‘)
I think about how I used to imagine what it would be like – being a Mama – knowing it was something I always wanted, and it is nice to feel as if I wasn’t wrong, that it is, unsurprisingly, better than anything I could have expected. Ava is like a little joy-machine. She just lights up our lives, and not just ours – so many people who know her. People who have just met her and seem completely enchanted by her. I think all babies must have this effect on people, but this is the first time I have seen it close up.
So, in celebration of her 15-month birthday, here are my top 10 favourite Ava-things right now:
1. The way she signs everything, and her accompanying words. Hearing her say ‘more’, stretching it out in what sounds like a fake English accent.
2.Watching her dance around the living room for hours every day.
3. Playing her different kinds of music and seeing her strong reactions. (Folk is her favourite)
4. Her sense of humour. Perfect timing. Perfect.
5. The blissed out, quiet, adoring look she gives me whilst I feed her these days.
6. Her love of fruit and vegetables. I am so, so happy about this. Her favourite snack is an avocado (yes!)
7. Her unexpected kisses, cuddles and strokes. And the kind-of-rough snuggling she does where she buries her head into my chest.
8. Her dislike of getting food on her hands unless she has chosen to pick something up herself.
9. The bossy, nonchalant way she has of saying ‘No-no’.
10. The little curls at the back of her head.