Frida is two!

I wanted to share a few photos from Frida’s second birthday last week. 

I set up a Waldorf celebration ring with two candles for our dining table, Frida chose her own birthday flowers, and I hung the birthday banner. 

We had a lovely, relaxed day at home; playing with new toys, eating pancakes for breakfast and birthday cake in the garden, and just enjoying spending some time together. Frida loved her gifts and cards, and really enjoyed unwrapped the most beautiful gift from her “birthday fairy” (I do a secret-Santa style gift exchange with some friends who all have children born around the same time). 

I couldn’t be happier or prouder or more in love with our little girl. We are very lucky. 

Frida says (21 months) 

Twenty-one months today. I feel like we are speeding towards two!

She is talking more and more like a child and less like a toddler now, with longer and more complex sentences and confidence to use more challenging words in context like pandemonium and magnificent. We cling on to her sweet mispronounciations, aware that they will be gone all too soon.

Frida is still very, very interested by the idea of people being or feeling ill, and what they might need to feel better. She often plays that her baby or her animals are ill (necessitating “medicine calpol” or “medicine tuna” or “medicine hay”).  We have been reading Frida a book about Frida Kahlo, in which FK spends a lot of time in bed ill due to her accident and illnesses, and Frida has taken to lying down in bed or on a rug and telling us “Frida is lying in bed ill like Frida Kahlo. 

Today Frida gleefully told me: “Frida has a headache or something”. 

Sometimes Frida’s accounts are not always wholly truthful: “Frida’s teeth hurt. Albus (our kitten) scratched Frida’s tooth. Squirrel scratched it!”

Frida likes to be very clear about what food our cat can and cannot eat. On asking her why he can’t eat something she replied: “It hurts his tummy and his whiskers and his paws and his eyes and his back”. 

I love listening to her quietly narrating her life: “Cleaning your finger with your towel”. Here she meant “my finger” and “my towel” – she is still getting me and you mixed up a bit. 

Sitting at breakfast carefully putting blueberries into her glass of smoothie: “Blueberry say ‘I want to go to the smoothie’. Frida popping them in.”

Also at breakfast, eating raspberries: “Raspberries sweet, Frida is sweet. Alpacas are sweet.”

When being read the Snowman book by her daddy, Frida realised with dawning surprise that the little boy was going outside into the garden without his parents. She immediately jumped up: “Frida go outside! Daddy not come outside, daddy stay here!”

Sometimes I just wonder what goes on in her mind: “Frida has a yellow owl. Daddy has a dark blue one. Mummy has brown one. Albie has dark green.”

Once she told me that “mummy is ripe to eat!” 

I was drinking warm herbal tea abs she asked me for some. She took a sip, looked at me very seriously, and asked me: “Is it decaf?” Hilarious. 

She has a habit at the moment of screwing up her eyes tightly shut, fake-whimpering, and exclaiming: “Is it night time? I can’t see the people any more! I can’t see a thing!” 

For reasons unknown she has started merrily proclaiming: “Capital, capital!” like a Victorian gentleman. 

She was reading Skimbleshanks with my husband, and they were discussing the word confiscate. She thought about it then said: “Frida wants to confiscate daddy”. 
We are at the stage where Frida is starting to ask allllll the questions. “What’s mummy doing? What’s daddy eating? Who’s mummy talking to? What’s the little girl’s name called? What’s mummy heating up in the microwave? What’s daddy got?” and on and on and on. Very little gets past her. 

We are deep in imaginative play territory now. After discovering Meg and Mog books (not a series I am particularly fond of, and I will admit not very Montessori-friendly, but she adores them so we read them) Frida has decided that: “Mummy is Meg, Frida is Mog, Daddy is Owl, Albie is Diplodocus” (a minor “character” in the book Meg’s Eggs). It’s been well over a week and this shows no sign of getting old for her – we are often reminded to get back into character!

Talking of imaginative play, as well as making her own stories Frida wants more and more to act out the stories she reads about in her books. I am often told to catch fish or be in a boat or pull up vegetables.

Frida loves looking at the back page of her books as often there are pictures of others in the series. She was looking at the back of her Elmer book, where there were three pictured, one of which she already had, and said: “Frida has one Elmer book. Two presents!” We were amazed (and also wondered if we are too quick to buy her books…) 

Phew! If you are interested you can read my 20 month and 19 month updates here: 

I love recording what she says, as I’m all too aware that otherwise I will forget. But what do you think? Should I keep sharing these posts here? Are they boring? Or do you enjoy getting a little glimpse into a toddler’s mind? 

Farewell, 2016

I hope you have all had a wonderful Christmas / Chanukah / festive season. Please excuse my absence over the last couple of weeks – I thought I would treat myself to a short blogging break over the holidays. 

We have had a wonderful few days, celebrating with my side of the family on Christmas Eve, spending Christmas just the three of us, seeing my husband’s side of the family on Boxing Day, and then celebrating my sister-in-law’s wedding yesterday. 

With the year very nearly over, I’ve been reflecting a lot on everything that has taken place over the last year. Politically, for our family, 2016 has been enormously disappointing. But on a personal level, it has been a joyful, fantastic year. 

Some of my highlights have included:

  • My sister having a baby! My beautiful nephew Reuben is such a delight and we are all totally besotted with him.
  • Taking a trip to Boston with my parents-in-law in the summer.
  • Growing this little blog of mine. It may not be much, but I’m so happy I stuck with it, and am very humbled that people read it.
  • My sister-in-law getting married yesterday.
  • Quitting my job in the spring so I could stay at home with Frida, retraining as a Hypnobirthing teacher and doula, and joining BirthBliss part-time. 
  • Going on a lovely long weekend to Suffolk, just the three of us. 
  • Starting a little outdoor playgroup, and attending a Waldorf one.
  • My husband changing jobs, to one which is rewarding and challenging and which offers good work-life balance.
  • Adding a kitten to our little family.

But honestly, nothing on that list could trump simply watching Frida grow and develop into the delightful little girl she is now. 

When we started 2016 I had a squishy eight-month old baby in my arms, only just crawling, babbling, my beautiful babe. As 2016 ends I have a little girl of 20 months, walking, running, climbing, dancing, eating, singing, playing, and talking talking talking all day long, in long sentences and using correct grammar and astounding us with her vocabulary and understanding and imagination and memory. A little girl who helps me cook, who sweeps and dusts, who paints and draws, who uses the toilet, who makes us cry with laughter, who tidies up, who builds, who asks strangers “what’s your name?”, who radiates joy and delight. A little girl who told my husband today that she wanted to learn to read, who is starting to grasp numbers, who is so full of kisses and cuddles and love. Growing in independence every day, she really is a naturally Montessori toddler! 

I feel like this year will always be the biggest leap in her life, the year she went from baby to, well, not a baby. I look at her and find it hard to fathom how much she has changed, as I watch her playing with her animals, her long hair in a pony tail, saying “Daddy horse has a headache! Lie down on your bed daddy horse. Give him medicine calpol – not too much! All better.” That baby seems totally gone. 

And yet, as I curl up with her in bed, breastfeeding her to sleep and holding her tiny hand, I am reminded again of the baby she was so recently. Sometimes – not often, these days – I catch a quick sniff of that delicious milky baby smell still lingering, and I am transported. I want her to slow down, and yet am so delighted at her new skills and her language and her confidence and her blooming, charming personality.

As Frida has grown, I feel I have grown too – as a mother, and as a person. I have learnt so much about parenting, about what it means to raise a child gently, with empathy and compassion and respect, for your child and partner and for yourself. I don’t always get it right, but I feel that I’m on the right path. I have expanded my knowledge of different educational styles and concepts and ideas, and end the year determined to home educate. I have devoured books, blogs, and articles, been inspired by comments on this blog and on Instagram, and had long, long chats with my husband.

But ultimately, my best and most important teacher has of course been Frida. So I end 2016 with no new resolutions, or grand plans. I just plan to keep following the child, and see what path she leads me down. 

Thank you so much for reading Frida Be Mighty in 2016 – I look forward to sharing our journey with you next year. 

Frida says (20 months)

Frida is 20 months today! I’ve been keeping a note of some of the things she’s been saying over the last month, as I know i’ll forget them otherwise. 

Here is my round up at 19 months. 

I am loving how chatty and funny she is. Language is still definitely the thing that she seems to get the most pleasure and joy from, and it’s very lovely to have long, meandering, bizarre conversations with her. Her memory continues to astound me, and I just find her such a joy to hang out with (ahem, when she’s not tormenting the cat). 

Here are some of the things she’s been saying which have made me smile: 

I love how she makes up words, like “incing” (moving like a spider). Looking at some crabs on Attenborough: “Crabs incing like a spider!”. She also has a word “knee-upping” which apparently means slipping. 

Playing with her Schleich pig and piglet: “Piglet having his mummy booboo… He’s too snotty! Snotty kiss.” *Makes their snouts touch* (this was following a particularly horrid cold when my husband and I had to perform many similar “snotty kisses”, and I’ve seen her repeat this with her donkeys and sheep too).

Grabbing us: “Family cuddle. Daddy kiss mummy. Mummy loves daddy. Frida loves you.”

“That’s not yours.” 

There has been a big uptake in the demands we get for “medicine Calpol” and “medicine chocolate”. I tell Frida we only have calpol when we’re ill, which is met by cries of “Frida’s ill” and lots of fake coughs.

Frida has taken to asking “is it normal?” – I’m not sure she entirely gets what normal means – and I once was talking to her about mustard yellow: “Mustard yellow? Not normal yellow!”

“Mummy, sing kitten song! Sing it!” (I make something up) “Keep singing all day long!”

Eating a yoghurt: “what’s in it… Raspberry! Strawberry! What’s on it… One white heart!” When finished: “Put it in the bin… It’s rubbish! Mummy take it away.” 

She is really interested in opposites, and spends a lot of time talking about high / low, loud / quiet, old/ young, soft/ hard, narrow/wide.

Trying to stand up slices of cheddar: “Frida’s building a skyscraper! Like Mrs Thomas!” (Mog and the Granny fans will understand…) 

Asking me to get something for her: “Mummy use her legs! Mummy get it!” 

Her favourite words at the moment are commotion, harassing, and gorgeous.

Looking at me with a big smile: “Mummy’s nice… Sometimes.”

Sometimes she gets muddled up with you and me and shouts “Help you! Help you!” when she means help me.

In the car, looking at her mouth filled with oatcake in the mirror: “Amazing!” I asked, what’s amazing? “Frida’s mouth!”

With a wooden horse head sculpture in a garden centre: “Feeding horse. Feeding him stones. He loves stones! He loves food!”

Playing with her Schleich sheep and her rainbow: “Sit down to lunch! Absolutely not! Get down from there!”

And finally, one bedtime, the heavily, heavily abridged version:

“Frida wants Frida’s water”… *takes tiny sip, puts it down*… “More water please”… *takes tiny sip, puts it down*… “Frida wants her nice, cold water”… *repeat 3462 times*

(Quiet)

“Oh medicine calpol! Oh medicine chocolate! Frida’s ill.” 

“You’re not ill darling it’s night time, go to sleep”

(Quiet)

“Frida does not have beard. Daddy has one. Goodnight daddy, see you later!”

“You already said good night to daddy Frida, it’s sleep time now”

(Quiet)

“Albus is miaowing.”

“No he’s not, it’s sleepy time”

(Quiet, then Albus miaows)

“Albie is miaowing! Let him in, let him in!”

“Frida it’s nighttime now, good night)

(Quiet)

*whispering under breath* “lemur, lemur, robin, tit, lemur*

(Quiet)

“Don’t know where Lisa is?”

“Lisa is in her home, sleeping, it’s night time”

“Lisa is in her home? Lisa is in her bed? Oh Lisa!”

“Good night Frida”

(Quiet)

*sits up, lies on my head*

“Albie has a nice mouth. Albie has nice paws. Sharp”

(Immediate deep sleep) 

Frida says (19 months)

I love chatting to Frida. She has definitely reached the point where I would confidently say she is talking, rather than using words, as she uses sentences more often than not and can hold a conversation. 

I’m so worried about forgetting the sweet things she says, so I want to start recording them for posterity.

Yesterday I asked Frida what she was drawing. Her answer? “Many meerkats, standing, and looking, and running around like muhs!” (Muh is still her preferred word for cat, though she can say it).

Playing with her kinetic sand: “Sand melting. Melting like ice cream.” 

She can memorise the words in her books with alarming speed, finishing sentences and repeating whole chunks. My favourite is listening to her “read” Macavity (T. S. Eliot) with her daddy – “Macavity’s a..” “MYSDIDY DAT!” “He’s called the… “HIDDEN PAW!” “For he’s the… “MASTER DIMINAL!” “Who can defy the…” “LAW!!”. Everybody should get to hear a 19 month old delightedly say “Scotland Yard”.

This morning she started quoting Meg and Mog: “At midnight the owl hooted three times!”

She made my heart melt a little bit whilst playing with her adult and baby animal card game: “Mummy camel say, I want my baby camel please”.

Also playing with the card game: “Baby bear lose daddy bear. Oh daddy bear! Daddy bear hiding… with woodlice.” (There are no woodlice in this card game but she’s obsessed with them for reasons I cannot fathom).

She still likes to name things she can see: “Light green grass. Dark green benches. Two swings.” 

She has totally cracked the difference between “is” and “are”. I love watching her pause if she’s uncertain – it’s like you can see the cogs turning. 

Talking about where her daddy is: “Don’t know [where] Daddy is. Daddy’s busy working!” (I had no idea she knew the word busy).

Her commands are getting more specific: “Frida up daddy. Daddy stand up. Daddy do walking. Daddy do walking to mummy.”

Her pronunciation is improving, but it makes me a bit sad – I love her sweet way of pronouncing words. “Pit-dee” is now definitely pizza, “dood-mato” is now unmistakeably tomato. She’s growing up. 

Lying in bed full of cold, snuggled under the duvet: “Frida lying down and resting. Nice.”

She now uses the word “sometimes” correctly. It’s so sweet, and makes her sound so grown up. She also uses “might be”. 

The poor cat gets lots of “go away please”! At least she says it politely… 

I will never get tired of: “Frida loves mummy. Frida loves daddy. Daddy loves mummy.” 

Life lately

Life lately has been full on, and the last couple of weeks have been quite tough for various reasons. Still, things are calmer now, Autumn is in full swing (my favourite season), and we’re starting to find our rhythm again. 

As ever, we still try and go outside as much as possible, and look at the wildlife and feel the weather. We recently loved the London Wetlands Centre – such a lovely place to go with young children. Frida loved watching the otters being fed, and spotting the ducks, geese, moorhens, coots, robins, magpies, tits… For a nature loving toddler it was a great hit! 

We are still sticking to the rule that there’s no bad weather, just unsuitable clothes. 

In terms of gross motor skills, Frida is definitely entering a climbing into / onto phase. She really loves climbing into or standing in things, like boxes (the smaller the better) or pulling out her books from her book stand then climbing into it. I’m also trying to discourage her from climbing on some big trunks we have and attempting to redirect her climbing efforts elsewhere! She tries to run and loves to shout “run run run” as she does so. 

She is also really, really into picking up quite heavy things and trying to move them, like her chairs or her scooter or bits of furniture. This is real maximum effort gross motor, and it’s obviously very satisfying for her. 

We’ve made a few little changes around the home. We have taken the infant seat off Frida’s Tripp Trapp chair, which means she can now climb up and down independently. She’s also started eating more food, though she shows no signs of wanting to cut back on breastmilk any time soon! She currently likes eating fish,  cheese, tomatoes (which she calls “good mato” for some reason), berries, pesto pasta, spinach, beans, lentil soup, bananas, smoothies, avocado (“ayo-dado”), yoghurt… She does not like curry. At all. 

We have also finally furnished Frida’s bedroom – I’ll share a post with details soon – and have turned the minuscule box-room playroom into a little spare room / reading room.

We are starting to see more independent play. She cooks us noodles and soup and lemon water and serves us “hot tea”. Her babies and teddies are always being put in her “sling” (or just shoved down her top). Her animals breastfeed from each other. 

She is still enjoying some of her shelf work such as knobbed puzzles and her stacking toy, as well as her art shelves, but at the moment her focus is clearly on language acquisition and movement. 

She is enjoying songs and games more and more too. Her favourite is “Hop little bunnies” (which she refers to as “nearly noon”) and she will often make her toys act it out, or lies down on the floor / street / in the playground herself and demands for us to sing it. Sometimes we all have to lie down too. 

If you follow me on Instagram you will know that we have added to our family, and recently adopted a little ginger kitten called Albus. He is lovely, but it’s been quite exhausting managing Frida and him together! She is besotted but wants to show her affection by picking him up, or shoving things she wants to “show Albus!” in his face. I often turn by back to hear her shouting “Albus run away!” and wonder what trauma she’s inflicted on him to make him run off. 

He is very needy and cuddly and likes to follow us around (he’s still very small) and he cries when we go to bed which I feel monstrous about. I’m also covered in scratches all over my chest which happens to be his favourite place to hang out (why did no one tell me how much kitten scratches itch! Argh). Still I think it’ll definitely be worth it and it should get easier soon!

The biggest thing still for us at the moment is that Frida has been speaking more and more, and putting longer sentences together. This is definitely her “thing” that she loves doing – you can see the delight on her face when she cracks a new word, and she certainly practices a lot.

It is such a joy having conversations with her, getting a window into what’s going on in her beautiful mind. She has the most amazing memory, and will pick up conversations which were started a day or two before, or will remember a trip or outing or activity. It’s so fascinating getting an insight into what is important for her. I love listening to her first thing in the morning, or in the middle of the night.

It would be easy to forget some of what she says, so here are some things for posterity that I never want to forget!

  • She has started to refer to herself as Frida (“di-da”). I love this so much.
  • Her Frida Kahlo doll is called “didi-dado”. She recently came out with “didi-dado in daddy’s pocket”  which I thought was an impressive tongue twister.
  • She loves comparing “big” and “little” things (stones in particular), going “under” things (“under mummy!”, “blueberry under Mummy’s red chair!”), pointing out “lady” and “man”, telling me things are “too hot” or “cold brrrrr”, and loves to “open” and “close” or “shut”. I find it so fascinating watching the categories of the world start to make sense for her.
  • I love it when she asks for cuddles “duddle”, or kisses (specifying if she wants a “big daddy diss” or a “little baby diss”). She’s such a loving little girl. She will sometimes tell us, unprompted, “luh du” (love you). Or, recently, “luh du home”. So sweet. 
  • She’s started using the word nice a lot. Recently when asked if she wanted to get out of bed she said “no, nice here”. She also says “that’s nice”, and “nice time”. I can’t tell you how happy it makes me to know that she’s happy. 
  • She still doesn’t pronounce “w” very well. Windy is “lindy!” (said with much joy), window “lindo”, water is “ladda”, wee is “lee”…
  • She is very fixated on the concept of snatching. If you try to remove something from her she furiously says “natch!!! NATCH!” to you. She has a point. We often have to apologise. 
  • Since getting Albus she is very into the idea of picking animals up (insert harassed looking emoticon here). When we are out “Pick up wood pigeon! Frida pick up animals! Pick up ducks! DADDY, pick up duck! Pick up squirrel!” However when we offer her a ladybird or an ant or some other insect she could pick up, or an animal actually comes close to her, we get a horrified “Di-da hand! No no no no no! Up! Mummy, up!”
  • She knows the names of so many animals. I am certain she knows more than my husband. She will sit with her favourite animal book naming them all: “Beetle. Deer. Blackbird. Magpie. Other beetle. Crow. Green beetle. Mole. DON’T KNOW! *points and looks at me expectantly*” “That’s a beaver Frida”. *thinks about it for a moment then carries on* “Butterfly. Other butterfly – TWO BUTTERFLIES! Squirrel. Robin. Owl. Fox. DON’T KNOW!”
  • Speaking of “don’t know”, when Albus hides she says “Albus hiding! Don’t know Albus is. Albus? OH ALBUS?!!” It melts my heart a little bit.
  • She has cracked the plural and the possessive. She’s starting to recognise a few letters, and uses “one”, “two”, “many”, and “many mant many” to describe quantities. 
  • I love how much information she soaks up; you tell her something once (like the word “mint”) and then the next day she uses it when talking to you. Her newest word is “snug”. This morning she asked me to “fix it” and told me “not yet”. 
  • She is very fond of big words which she can’t say very well. Her current favourites are transparent (“tum-pun-dent!”), Paddington (“bun-dun-dun”) and flamingo (“da-min-do!”).
  • She really copies our ways, parroting back to us “oh I SEE!” and “oh Frida!” She has also picked up on how I call my husband if I’m in another room, and if I ask her to call daddy she calls “Saaaaaaaaaaam”. I could listen to her say “Oh dear me”, “Oh gosh”, and “Oh god” all day long (that last one I can thank my husband for). When she does something she knows she shouldn’t she makes my noise of disapproval “ah ah ah ah ahhh!”. It is interesting and telling watching your traits being copied.
  •  When she hurts herself she says “Hurt. Red cheek / head / arm.” after she grazed her knee and saw it turn red. She asks us to “kiss better”. We always agree.
  • She is absolutely obsessed with things being “not” other things. Cat’s are “Not baba’s black mog” (baba is her grandmother on my side). Her food is “Not daddy’s food… not mummy’s food”. Other houses are “Not di-da home”. My husband’s wellies are “Not bun-dun-dun’s boots!”. She loves it when you ask her an obviously wrong question and she can reply “Noooo!”.
  • She is also very into “other” at the moment. When you give her something she likes she wants it in her “other hand” too. “Other side mummy booboo” is a phrase I hear a LOT.
  • I love how she says nearly “neeeeny”, or tells us “one minute”. 
  • There’s nothing better than the triumphant sound of “I did it!” 

I’m sure I’ve missed out a lot of things. I’m just finding this stage in her development absolutely captivating and I must be better at recording the things which make us smile. 

One year of Frida

And just like that, she is one. 

She is an explosion of sheer delight, a fluffy-haired ball of light. Our determined, hilarious, sweet, delightful, sparkling, mighty daughter is no longer really a baby, but a small girl, her very own self. 

 At 7:10am on a sunny Sunday morning precisely one year ago, Frida came bursting out into the world after a long-awaited arrival. My waters had broken on the Tuesday morning and I had been having contractions ever since, but no amount of walking or bouncing would convince her to come leave her nest in my belly, so she was born in hospital rather than at home where we had planned. 

It was really and truly love at first sight. Nothing else can compare. Fierce, furious, overwhelming love; a love that feels almost mythical, the kind that would burn cities to the ground, that would go to war to ensure her safety. A love that, impossibly, has grown and grown and grown, just as she has.  

 
This year has been breathtaking, and utterly humbling. Anyone who raises a child will quickly realise that they are so very much themselves. All you can do is nurture and guide and nourish them, and see where they end up. I now understand a bit more what people mean when they talk about a “soul”. Frida’s personality is so strong and so captivating and so pure, and my husband and I are absolutely dumbstruck in love with her.   This year has been the most incredible, but also the hardest. Sleep deprivation can form a cloud over the brightest of days, and I have struggled with the lack of time to myself, and to spend with my beloved husband (whom I have fallen in love with all over again watching him bloom into the most incredible father). 

Frida is also going through a stage where whenever she wants anything she points and shouts “eh eh EHH” loudly and with frustration. Often when you give her the thing she was pointing at she just throws it and points to a new thing, and the cycle continues. Which is quite tiring when it goes on all day. But I have been striving to be empathetic, to understand why she is frustrated, and to research what is going on for her developmentally, and I emerge from my first year as a mother with my patience in tact, feeling proud that I haven’t raised my voice, or ignored, or dispaired.   

 So yes, it’s been hard, but also better and more amazing than I had dared wish in my wildest dreams. It’s such a privilege to watch her grow and develop, to be the one to teach her, to adjust my rhythm to hers and as such shape our rhythm as a family. I have adored – I still adore – breastfeeding, the contented eyes gazing up at me, Frida stroking my arm or giving me her hand to kiss. Sleeping together, curled up in the same bed, continues to bring me joy and contentment. 

 

I can’t quite believe that she is one, and that I’ve been a mother for a whole year. As the cliche goes, the days are long (and the nights even longer!) yet the years are terrifyingly quick. And yet I feel like I have known Frida for ever. I suppose in some ways I have. 

In no particular order, here are some things I never want to forget:

  • She has started to kiss us, spontaneously bringing her lips to our faces. Sometimes she does this so gently, sometimes she grabs my cheeks with her hands to bring my face close. She doesn’t just kiss us, but her toys too: her bunny, her Frida Kahlo doll, her parrot puppet, a knobbed puzzle piece shaped like a sheep. Her kisses are the most precious thing; the first was one of the happiest and most tender moments I have experienced.
  • Lying next to her whilst she sleeps, I have a pretty good idea of what she dreams about. One time she exclaimed “boo!” (breastmilk) then proceeded to suck at nothing with her sleeping mouth; another time a soft murmur of “dada” followed by a huge sleep smile. 
  • Her laughter. Frida is such a joyful child, always playing and smiling and laughing laughing laughing. Wild howls of laughter as she dances with her dada, gleeful chuckles of delight as she plunges her hands into my glass of sparkling water, her scrunched up nose and crinkled eyes as she giggles over the word “dirty”, gasp-for-breath laughing as we rough-house and tickle. I didn’t realise the world was such a funny place until I met Frida. 
  • She is really trying to talk now, and is imitating us constantly. “Ba-bu” is baby, either on the bus or in a book or in a photograph. She shouts “buh buh” whilst pointing at the magpies and starlings and wood pigeons in our garden, and “noe” whilst bashing my nose (thanks Frida!). She tries to say dog and duck (“duh”), sheep are “baa baa”, a snake is “tsssss”. Kisses are “muh” (mwah). 
  • She wakes up every morning and after every nap with a huge smile. 5:45am means nothing when I have her huge grin in my face as she jumps on my head. I never thought I could love mornings, but now they bring peace as she plays in the dining room whilst the sun rises and the kettle for my tea heats on the bright morning flame.
  • I love her determination. She is such a Montessori baby by nature, determined to do things by herself. The pride on her face as she helps us get her undressed, or as she removes a stubborn key from a lock (a new favourite game), or chooses her clothes for the day, brings me so much joy. 
  • She adores the playground, pointing at the swings, then to the slide, then to the little tower where she likes to stand. She also likes to try and eat the dirt from the playground floor, despite my protestations, leading to first-time-parent frantic googling about pica. 
  • She is learning so fast; each day I discover she understands something new. Yesterday it was that she can point to her toes (as well as numerous other body parts), that she can pass me animals from her puzzle when I ask for them by name, and that she can now make the pegs pop up in her pop-up toy. Today who knows what else she will amaze me with! No wonder she is frustrated when she is working so hard to make sense of the world. 
  • She still smells a bit milky, a year on. Sometimes I get a whiff of her delicious milk breath and I am overwhelmed with visceral love. 
  • Her relationship with her dada is the most beautiful thing I have seen. She loves him SO much, leaping with joy when she hears his key in the door and launching herself at him with frantic cries of “dada dada DADA”. They spend lots of quality time together, with endless stories and puppet shows and dancing and baths and games and trips to the playground as soon as he gets in from work and special outings to the city farm and dada-daughter lunches out. The light in their eyes as they share a joke together reflects the love they feel and it is amazing. There is something about watching the people you love the most, love each other so much. I am so lucky. 

(I have also written about Frida turning nine months, and three months).