'A portrait of my daughter, once a week, every week in 2015.'
You are changing so much, sweet girl, and I am constantly amazed at how you are no longer my baby, but a wonderful girl who is starting to understand so much of what we say to you. You have started responding to my questions with emphatic nods, and I love that our means of communication is strengthening. Ever since you were tiny, I have always sought to communicate clearly with you, using some Makaton signs to help support your understanding of what I am saying. For the first time this week, you seemed to attempt to sign, 'I love you' in response to me signing this message to you. It was as though you made the connection between waving and the sign we use for 'I love you' - they are fairly similar. (I have always joked that your waving is a little bit like the Queen's infamous royal wave, and I love this about you. Perfectly in keeping with your royal surname!) I have been very conscious of not wanting you to feel like things are just happening to you without giving you forewarning or choice in the matter, and the more your communication skills and verbal understanding grow, the more I am seeing how confident you are in expressing yourself.
I am thoroughly enjoying the difference I see in you, now that you are able to walk so much more. On Tuesday, we made the trip across the city to the sling library. This was very last minute, and I had forgotten that we would need to go on that particular day. Not surprisingly, by the time we had driven to Southville, you were feeling quite fed up of being sat in the car for twenty five minutes, straight after naptime. So, rather than putting you in the sling or buggy, I asked you if you wanted to walk. You smiled and nodded. As you clung to my finger, we made our way slowly, slowly down the road. Aside from walking around at the zoo at the weekend, this was the first time you have walked outside on the pavement. Although I am aware that when you are in your pushchair or the sling, you are at the mercy of my walking pace, we have always taken the time to talk about the things we can see, and the things you like to point at, but it was so different seeing you stop and observe certain things. You were fascinated by the steps leading up to each of the houses on the hill, each of them reflecting different colours and textures. Each time you saw an open gate, you wanted to walk through it, and you stopped to point at the birds and the sign which warned drivers not to park on the private drive. As you gained confidence and momentum with your walking, you giggled gleefully. It is such a privilege to witness you finding joy in these simple things. You truly are a pleasure to spend time with.
All my love,
P.S In this photo, you look a little forlorn. I can assure you that you weren't really unhappy - we were on a walk in Stoke Park, and there was a very cold wind. You had a very rosy nose by the end of the walk, but you mostly loved pointing at all of the dogs and birds that you spotted.