Allegra, my Princess Boogaloo, my pumba-chicken, you came into our lives almost 18 months ago and now it’s hard to remember what life was like before. When I look at you, I can barely believe that you started out as a tiny dot inside me that I grew into a little person, who is now transformed into a toddling and chattering little girl with blonde (how/why are you blonde?!?!) curly locks and big brown eyes and chubby thighs (the bestest chubby thighs!), who makes me burst with pride and love until it’s almost unbearable.
You have become your own little person, your own little personality, with your own likes – “am & cheeeeese”, “apple joose”, “Peppa!!” – and dislikes (face-washing, hair-washing, couscous), and watching you learn and grow is something that brings sheer joy not only to me and your Daddy, but to all those around you.
You have your favourite things, your own little routine, which includes reading your Elton book that Aunty Chrissy gave you (check it out parents of the world, it is comedy!); watching repeat episodes of Peppa Pig back-to-back for as long as Mummy lets you; sitting on the floor of your playroom figuring out puzzles; playing tea-parties with teddy; reading your Maisie books from Aunty Susan; dancing/hopping from side-to-side to your Fisher Price musical nursery rhyme book – your favourites are “One, Two, Buckle My Shoe” and “Row, Row, Row Your Boat”. You also love to sing with mummy and the three rhymes we have on rotation at the moment are “Ba, Ba, Black Sheep” – which you demand by saying “ba-ba”; “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” – which you demand by saying “row-row” and you always scream at the right moment when we get to the end ; and a song we learnt at Monkey Music called “The Clock Says Tick Tock”, which you demand by saying “tick-tock”. Often you don’t actually let me get to the end of one song before you’re demanding the next one, but now that has turned into a little game between us, which I love and it makes you laugh when I pretend to get cross that you’ve interrupted one song to request another!
It amazes me the words you can say and the funny things you come out with, at the moment my favourite Allegra sayings are: “see you later”, “all day long” (said as if singing Wheels on the Bus); and “how d’ya do” – too cute! You already have quite a big vocabulary, which is incredible, and can say words like… “muddy puddles” (Peppa has a lot to answer for!) and “paddling pool”, along with the more routine ones like car and cat, tree and book, duck and cow. In fact, you’re very good with animal names and noises – you point at a sheep and say “baa-baa”, but you also know it is called a sheep (one of my absolute favourite things you say at the moment is “Suzy-Sheep” because you say it with a slight lisp, which is hilariously cute) and you do “ooo-ooo-oooo” noises when we ask you what noise a monkey makes. You even know the word zebra (again, I think Peppa might be responsible for that), although we’re not sure what noise they make…
You have your particular favourites also when it comes to cuddly toys. George – who we bought at our recent visit to Peppa Pig World - is often by your side, you pronounce his name as “Geowge”. Then there’s the Peppa that Granny & Grandad gave you, which you also like to have nearby, and “Big Peppa” that you got from Aunty Susan, which is as big as you. You also love your teddies and Mr Owl, who you just call “owl-owl”, who you have in your cot at night and are firm favourites.
Your relationship with the cat is gradually evolving although he remains uncertain about the friendship you’re trying to form with him! You have learnt his name (Pigalle) and can say it really well now and you call after him “Peeee-gal, Peeegal” and say “miaow-miaow” at him and offer him one or two of your Peppa stickers, but still he seems unconvinced. Nonna taught you how to say “shoo-shoo Pigalle”, so when you want him to go away or are feeling nervous of him you say that and wave your hands at him, which is also very cute.
Lately you have become more interested in what you wear and helping mummy to choose your outfits and sometimes when we get you in a particularly good ensemble, you’ll look in the mirror and say “preeetty” and admire yourself, which always makes me laugh. I am still trying to persuade you to wear the odd hair-clip but you’re not convinced, although you have worn one a little bit every now and again, which is a slight sign of progress – but we’re still a long way from pretty hairbands and over-sized bows!
On those weeks, when work gets crazy and I end up being in the office for far too long and not seeing you much during the week, I feel so terribly sad and very guilty. If I get home and you’re in bed already, I go in to see you sleeping and rearrange you in your cot so you look comfy and not squished awkwardly into a corner with your cheek pressed up against the wooden slats, and you snuffle and shuffle and stretch and I just want to pick you up and cuddle and kiss you, but I don’t because I don’t want to wake you. So instead I just stroke you cheek and run my fingers through your crazy bed-head blonde fluffy hair, which makes it stand on end, and I smile at you and tell you how much I love you, and I wish away the time to fast-forward to Fridays, when I know we’ll have our day/weekend together and I can be a proper mummy again.
I couldn’t be any luckier than to have you as my baby girl Allegra. No matter what happens in this life, I know that as long as I have you and you are healthy and happy, that everything will be well. For you make my heart sing.
love mummy, xxx