Oh Pepper! My little Fraggle-haired baby buddy. You have been the single greatest surprise of my life!
The day I unexpectedly found out I was pregnant with you, I happened to look over at your older sister. She was 10 months old and the just the cutest thing. She had brought me so much joy, and when she grinned at me with her gummy smile that day, I knew that I loved being a mum and that we would be ok. You would be a cute little bundle of hilarity just like her, and while I didn’t think I was ready yet, you proved me wrong. I am so glad you arrived when you did.
You were a quiet little fellow while you were growing, and you’re still a quiet little fellow now. Content to hang with me, but also to nose around the big kids. You are quiet, but you’re also adventurous – if there’s something to be climbed, or dropped, or opened, or pulled to bits, you’ve climbed, dropped, opened and demolished it. You keep me on my toes. Most of the time it’s because I have to go and find you, you never sit still for long!
You seem much more sensitive than your sister, a bit needier and clingier. I often worry that I’ve not filled your cup enough during the day, and I hope I’m not letting you down. I do joke that you’ve got “second-child syndrome”, always having to wait, to share, and to be pushed around by the older, louder kids. But my mother’s heart does worry that I don’t do enough for you. I hope I’m wrong.
I’ve just gone in to check on you sleeping, and after seeing these photos again, you look so big. I don’t know how that happened… time is on warp-speed when you have little kids, and while I try to soak in the moment, my damned brain wipes it all away the minute I turn my attention away. I am mourning this stage of your life, although I didn’t expect that. I love toddlerhood, and I am so stoked to see you reach your milestones and turn into an actual little person. But you are my last baby, and I guess it’s natural to be a little sad that it’s over. You’re still a baby, but you’re not really! You’re almost walking (six steps! good job!), and you can say dadda, mama, cat, go, and tickle. You rub your hands together every time you see me wash mine, and you can point to things you want. You climb halfway up the slide, and you cuddle teddies and dollies like you’ll never let them go. You eat everything, and you still breastfeed. You sleep pretty well, and you have four teeth that make you look like a rabbit. A chubby, happy rabbit.
I hope you have enjoyed your life up to this point. I hope you had a wonderful birthday, filled with friends, family, and your sister stealing your thunder. I hope we always stay close, you and I. I hope you learn to tell your sister to pipe down occasionally and let you shine.
Happy birthday, Pepper Jane. You’re the best little sidekick a mum could ever have.