The child is a year old now.
She is bigger and stronger than she used to be. Her once bald head – now blessed with enough dark, flowing hair to put her father’s own head to shame – can finally hold itself up. She sleeps from 7 in the evening to 7 in the morning and somehow wakes with a smile on her face. That smile is electric. The best smile you’ll ever see.
She talks now too. Still mostly baby gibberish, but even that manages to appear both hilarious and insightful at the same time. Every now and then there are even actual, recognisable syllables. “Dadadadadadada,” is her favourite, which is obviously her dada’s favourite too.
She’s quiet and stoic, never complaining about anything, aside from the odd hungry cry. But she’s still a tough nut to crack when it comes to laughter. Some of her friends will laugh at anything, but this one’s not so easily amused. She’ll make you work tooth and nail for that laugh, and then she’ll look at you scornfully when you try to play the same joke a second time.
She finds milk delicious; always has, always will. The solids took longer, but the teeth are coming through now, and, with them, a hunger for all manner of grub.
Her favourite thing to do right now is to wave. Whether you’re coming or going, or even if you’re standing still, she’ll cast you a wave. Animal or teddy? You’ll get a wave. Even a wall gets one every now and then. A wave and a smile. That smile…
As if that’s not enough, she’s crawling now too. It took a while for her to figure out that she needed to take both legs with her, rather than be held back by the one she’d left behind, but now that’s clicked and she’s started to fly.
As her strength and confidence grows, so too does her curiosity. She sees something unfamiliar across the room and off she goes. It doesn’t bother her that it’s dangerous, that there are obstacles along the way, many of which may hurt her. It doesn’t even matter that the object itself might actually kill her. It only matters that it’s new and interesting, and she must learn what it is.
She’ll crawl towards her goal with unrivalled determination. When her strength starts to wane, her head will drop to the floor in frustration and she’ll stop to catch her breath. Then she’ll start again, inching towards the prize. She’ll reach out for it, tongue out, greedy eyes wide… and then her guardian will move the object away, or drag her back to safety.
Strangely, young as she is, she doesn’t cry. She moans a little, perhaps, an outburst of frustration. But she doesn’t cry. She huffs, and she puffs, and then she sets out again… either for the same target, or for the next one that has caught her eye.
The child is fearless in her endeavours. There is no room in her world for shame, or embarrassment, or pity. There may be pain when she falls, but that doesn’t stop her from pulling herself back up. In her world, every day is a growing day, every moment a chance to learn. In her world, nothing is impossible.
Only a year old, yet maybe – just maybe – she understands this life better than the rest of us.
28th February 2019