I was not in a hurry for you to be weaned, to get your first tooth, to start walking, to say “Maman.”
But you – you didn’t want to be left behind.
You fully expect to sit at the table and learn to read English when your brother and sister do. But you can’t even talk yet.
But you’ve started already – later than Young Knight and Young Lady did, and that’s okay by me. You say things like, “et voilaaaaa” with great satisfaction as you finish your plate or share your toy.
You say things resembling “water” and “au revoir” and “tétine.”
You complete all the words in your daddy’s tongue twister that sound like “foi” (Il était une fois dans la ville de Foix une marchand de foie qui vendait du foie a dit ‘ma foi – ce n’est pas la première fois ni la dérnière fois que je vends du foie dans la ville de Foix‘), except that much to our delight, you pronounce it like ‘qua‘ croaking the word out like a frog.
You are fierce.
Your pediatrician looked at you with surprise when you glowered at her as she gave you a shot. She said that you had “mean eyes” but she said it while laughing and I was bursting with pride.
You are affectionate. How I love to put my nose into the crook of your neck and breathe deeply. I love when you are not too busy doing something else.
You just learned how to kiss. You’ve certainly gotten enough of an example from us! You touch your lips to our faces, pull away and make a smacking noise as you look at us. Sometimes you try to kiss us on the mouth.
Sometimes your kiss is wet.
You ride down the little hill in our backyard full force with your legs hiked up on the sides of your little car, your head back as far as your little arms can hang on. You roar with delight as you turn the corner at the last moment. Your brother and sister participate in your delight, waiting for you at the top of the hill on their bikes so you can go down right behind them. They accord you special honor.
You were so fixated on surfing like your bigger cousins. We were cruel to let you walk the entire 50 metres to the water’s edge thinking all the while that we would allow you to go in.
To say that you were mad is an understatement.
But we will never engulf you – never protect you above what is needed to keep you safe. You can go right ahead and fix your eyes on your objective and we’ll be right behind you to steer you on the right path.
Always behind you.
* This post originally appeared in my former blog, Perfect Welcome, and may contain some modifications or discrepancies in the names or comments.