Category Archives: Speech

What you’re getting up to these days…


This is one of those posts where I jot down a few of the more memorable things my babies are doing, firstly for us to look back on and laugh at and secondly to give me an aide memoire about how amazingly special and lovable they are. Our lives are always so crazy that sometimes I forget to just soak you in, and then you do something that just stops me in my tracks and reminds me how blessed I am to have you.

Last week, I came home and couldn’t find our couch. Then I realised that the blue block against the wall was our couch – it used to be brown but Hannah had scribbled all over it with a blue pen. And I mean all over. I was highly annoyed, I dragged her over to the couch, I was yelling and pointing profusely at her mess, using words like “naughty girl” and “bad bad bad” and “smack your bottom” a lot. When I took a breath, she pointed to one particular scribble and smiling broadly she said “look mommy, a LILON!” That means lion, and she was so chuffed with herself, that we all burst out laughing. Zoleka has since cleaned the couch, but I asked her to keep the “lilon” and whenever Hannah spots it, she yells “look, my lilon!” MY MELTING HEART!! I think she has a thing for lions, her new favourite show is Raa Raa the Noisy Lion on Cbeebies. Hannah likes to say morning to everyone, even when it’s way past 12pm. That’s her common greeting for any time of the day. She LOVES to wear shoes. As soon as she wakes up, she waddles over to the shoe cupboard to find her sneakers, or Liam’s red wellingtons. And getting them off at bath time is becoming increasingly difficult. If I yawn, she holds my face in her hands, tilts her head to one side, looks me dead in the eye and asks with big eyes: “mommy tiyud (tired)?” If I say yes, then she tells me to go make dudu. She got moves like Jagger, this kid. Liam has no rhythm whatsoever, this doesn’t bother him at all and he gets down when he hears music,  but when he dances he looks more like he is bobbing and weaving in a boxing ring then dancing to a song. Hannah, however, can dance! And she takes it all very seriously! With rhythm like that, I need to enrol her in some sort of dance class!

Liam has had us in stitches and often renders us speechless with some of the words he uses, and just his thought processes in general. His new favourite word is perfect. “That’s just perfect” you’ll hear him say if he does something that he is particularly proud of… like if he puts his underpants on the right way, or he completes a puzzle, or if he brushes my hair and likes the style that he has created. The other day I announced that I needed to make a wee, and he asked me if my “bagina” was full. He is fascinated with surnames and likes to recite everyone’s surname in the whole family.. and I mean the extended family too, so the list is long. When he meets someone for the first time, even a complete stranger, he will ask them what their surname is. Of course all the toys have his surname. Other words he likes to use are awesome and bootifull. He is so complimentary, and so observant. If I wear something new, he’ll ask where I bought it and tell me how bootifull I look. If he wears something new, he’ll ask who paid for it and say thank you so politely. When we ask him what he wants to be when he is big, he says he wants to be able to cook and sit in the front seat of the car and drive like Daddy (so he’ll either be a chef or a taxi driver). If he sees a man wearing earrings, he is flabbergasted. He has a picture Bible which shows the Romans and Jewish men of ancient times wearing earrings and he just doesn’t get it. “Earrings are for girls only, mommy!” I wish I could find an old photo of his Dad who was sporting TWO earrings when I first met him 10 years ago! He always asks what the time is, as if he has a date to get to, or a train to catch. Why would a three year old constantly need to know the time? The words or sentences I least like to hear, which Liam says often, include: I want, I need, what, huh. When he uses these words, I first ignore him hoping that he’ll correct himself or I explain for the 100th time that that is not the way to speak. BUT if I or Dad slip up and use one of these phrases, we get a right telling off. And heaven forbid I say “stupid” or “dumb” – not to the kids, just in general! I have to apologise, then he tells whoever will listen that mom said a bad word. It’s like living in a convent. And he has no problem telling ANYONE that THEY said a bad word if he picks up on a conversation in passing. Even a stranger in a shopping mall who just happens to be talking loudly on his cell phone.

I think age two and three are tough because these little people become very assertive and very vocal and very annoying – sorry, but it’s tru! It’s their way or a tantrum the highway. However, it’s also such a delightful age where they really come into their own and their little personalities just amaze me! So in light of this post, I’m going to be adding another tab to my home page, where I will record all the weird and wonderful things my babies are saying and doing. They grow so fast and although I try to have my camera on the ready all the time, it’s not always easy to capture the moment. So jotting them down on my blog, should give me enough ammo for both their 21sts and wedding days. 🙂

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Lost in translation


 

I keep forgetting that Hannah is going to be two soon. Her speech is more delayed than Liam’s was, hence I feel like she is still a baby-baby. But of course the circumstances were different – Liam was forced to grow up because Hannah came along when he was just a wee tiny boy. He had no choice but to swim, or be left to sink! Hence, we had ourselves a very advanced two year old in Liam. His speech often left me speechless – this kid could TALK, his vocabulary was vast and his pronunciation was almost perfect. He went from baby babble to pretty good English really quickly. I guess I expected the same from Hannah, more so because she had her brother to learn from and mimic. However, these last few weeks have been tough for Missy; she gets so incredibly frustrated when she cannot express herself because the words are just not there OR the words are there but I just can’t understand them! I get frustrated because she thinks that by screaming and jumping up and down, I may be able to understand her better – but all that does is escalate everyone’s frustration! I don’t want her to grow up, I love her at this age, but I do wish that her speech would pick up just a little – not for me – but to help ease her frustration.

The other important fact to consider is that Liam went to school from 18 months. I do believe that this aided his speech development because other than nap time, pre-school is one song after the other, one game after the other and interacting with babies and your teachers all day long. This HAS to have some impact on your speech development surely? Hannah stays at home with Zoleka, and although I encourage Zoleka to read with her, play her DVDs and talk to her about everything she is doing so that Hannah starts to grasp all these things, I can guarantee that when Zoleka is cleaning the toilets or washing the 100th sippy cup for the day, that the last thing she wants to do is engage in baby talk with Hannah. So there are probably some quiet hours in the day when Hannah isn’t stimulated, which is fine, because this has taught her to play happily on her own too and even then, she babbles CONSTANTLY too herself, and loves talking to herself in the mirror. She understands well, and I think that at this stage, this is more important than the words which are coming out of her mouth. She also reads tone very well and understands the difference between happy, cross or sad voice.

Her vocabulary is very good, she knows well over 30 words, but her pronunciation sucks. Ha! Awter for water, mikky for milky, bed for bread, sues for shoes, goggy for doggy, mukky for monkey, teet for teeth, kaai for cry, seep for sleep – to mention a few. She hits the nail on the head for other words like botty, sore, car, see, hair, luff (love). She even has her own words for certain items; words which are completely unrelated to what the item actually is like asdfk&^ for noodles. I seriously cannot even spell what she says for noodles and it took us may frustrated hours trying to figure out what she wanted. They both love Two Minute Noodles, probably because I feed it to them whenever I am lazy to cook – which is often, so she asks for them often! Boy, was it hard to understand what she meant. When she has a word-malfunction like this, we will walk around the house, letting her point out things, or asking if she means this or that, just to get to the bottom of what she wants. She will yell in frustration every time we point at the wrong thing! So at least we have discovered that asdfk&^ is noodles.

Sometimes she will ask me a question in German (well that’s what it sounds like) and she will look expectantly at me with her big eyes. I will tread lightly and start with a “yes my baby” and if she responds with a smile and a nod, I know I have answered correctly. Sometimes I don’t answer correctly and she yells her request back at me and I have to dig deeper to try and figure out what she is saying. If we’re watching tv I’ll say something like “yes, Jake is a pirate” and wait to see her reaction. Or if we’re in the car I’ll say “yes, that truck is big hey” and wait for her response. Most times she is happy with my answer, but I suspect she just agrees because she feels sorry for me – how can I NOT understand her “English?”

Liam doesn’t have any problem understanding Hannah, so I often have to use him as a translator. She has moved from calling him Leelee to calling him Leeeeum, and I am now Mum and Dad is Dud. Unless she wants something and is trying to twist my arm, in which case I am Muummeeeeeee. She can hum the theme tune to most of the Disney Junior programmes, and her favourite word comes from Little Einsteins: BLAST OFF! Although she screams BAAARFF! Which has a totally different meaning, now doesn’t it.

I love this stage when she tries to say everything we say; her father spends hours making fun of her, forcing her to say words that she obviously can’t but still tries, with hilarious results. She finds it funny when he laughs, and she laughs too. My MOST favourite thing is that she now tells me she luffs me unprompted, and not because I said it first. She just toddles over and grabs my thigh and wraps her cute chubby baby arms around my leg and says “luff youuuuu”  and giggles as she runs off. I listen to Liam now, speaking perfect English, using words that sometimes make me do a double take, as in “wow, did he just say that” and I miss his baby babble. Hannah will be there one day, and I will no longer be able to get away with saying words like milky or botty or nana or poopoo without sounding like I, myself, have a speech impediment.

Before I know it, Hannah will be telling me my fortune about how I should knock on her room door before I enter, and mocking my mom jeans, so for now, we will sign language ourselves through this maze, lost in translation, but luffing it.

An interesting conversation…


Last week, Liam’s theme for the week at school was My Body. Needless to say this theme opened a whole CAN of worms… and not in the way you’d expect. We have always been very open about our bodies, I’ve used the correct terminology from the time they could speak, purely because I can’t bear to use a baby word for something that is completely normal and functional – you don’t hear people calling their eye a twinky-winky-peep-hole so why in the world would we give names to another anatomical appendages… like a pee-pee or a willy for a PENIS or a cookie or puffnik for a VAGINA? Yes, my mother taught me to call my vagina a puffnik! So Liam and Hannah are quite comfortable with their body parts. But that’s not even the can of worms I am referring to. Herewith a conversation that I had with my Liam last week. He came home with a picture of a face that he needed to colour in, followed by questions which we needed to discuss…

Liam: What colour is my face?

Me (long pause): Um, brown my baby.

Liam: What colour is my hair?

Me: Brown.

Liam: What colour are my eyes?

Me: Also brown. 

At this point his picture is looking quite glum because it’s just BROWN. But on we go.

Liam: What’s the white part of my eye called?

Me (oh boy, here we go): Ooh, ah, ummm, I think it’s called the cornea? Wait, mommy’s not sure. Let me ask Daddy.

Daddy looks at me like I’m mad, he has no idea. Not even a suggestion. So I turn to cyberspace. My Facebook and Twitter friends reply with the correct answer – the sclera.

Me (chest puffed out): Darling, it’s called the sclera.

Liam: pardon?

Me: Sclera. The white part of your eye.

Liam: Scccccera? Srrrrrrrera? Clera? Mommy, I can’t say that!

Me (giggling):  It’s OK boy, you will learn. OK, lets colour the lips in red!

Liam: But it’s not a girl, why we putting lipstick? Sera? Sclora? Erra? (still trying to say sclera).

Me: OK, if the lips aren’t red, what colour will we make them?

Liam: Brown. Lera? Clera? Sera? (still struggling)

Me: But there’s so much brown, baby! let’s make it a mommy face, then she can wear lipstick.

Liam: NO! This is MY face! I’m not a mommy, I’m a boy! What’s the white part called again?

Me: SCLERA! OK, what colour are YOUR lips then?

Liam: My lips are white. Sssssssssera?

Me: Oookkkk, white… hmm.. then we won’t colour them in. We’ll leave them like that then.

Liam: OK, and what colour is my nose. Sceeera?

Me: S.C.L.E.R.A boy… SCLERA!!! Your nose is brown.

Liam: Teacher Megan says my skin is peach.

Me (big eyes): Oh really? Well we don’t have a peach crayon so you will have to be brown OK?

Liam: What is the circle in my eye called?

Me: The brown ball?

Liam: Yes, here next to the sssera, kera. (poking his eye)

Me: That’s called an iris.

Liam: Iris! I can say it mommy! Iris!!

Me (laughing): Yes boy, you can!

Liam: How come Teacher Megan’s iris is green?

Me (oh boy): Some people have a green iris or a blue iris or a light brown iris. We are all different, aren’t we?

Liam: How come everything for me is BROWN?

Me (OH BOY): You are beautiful like this! You are brown like Mommy and Daddy! (please please make him stop!)

Liam: How do I say the white part again? (Sjoe! I’d rather have a pronunciation conversation than a race conversation with my two year old)

Me: SCLERA!

Liam: Sera? Rera? SSSSCCCCCera? They white like my teeth, hey?

Me: Yes baby. You must brush well to keep your teeth white, hey?

Liam: …And so my mouth doesn’t smell poofies.

Me: Yes, that’s right.

Me: OK, I think we are done, good job, let’s put this in your bag so you can show Teacher Megan tomorrow.

Liam: Ssssera? Cera?

Me: It’s OK boy, you’ll learn to say it soon. Don’t worry now, let’s get ready for bed. 

This reminds him of another word he can’t say: Flamingo.

 Liam: Like famingo. Mamingo. Lamingo. I can’t say that pink bird’s name!

Me: FLLLLLAAAAAMINGO. (Starting to feel like Henry Higgins in My Fair Lady)

Liam: Its OK mommy, I’ll learn to say those big words soon.

Me: Yes you will my sweetheart.

Liam: I’m not your sweetheart, I’m your darling.

Me: Ok, my darling. Time for bed.

Liam: Night my darling.

Me: Night my darling.

As I left the room, I heard him practising and still struggling with his new words – bless! Since this conversation we have had many more interesting discussions about our bodies and many questions around why some people have hair in certain areas and others don’t… why mommy has such a big tummy and bum… why does Zoleka have a black face. I love that he has such an enquiring mind, and I don’t mind being sucker punched into silence by my two year old when he asks me questions that I have to twoogle. They weren’t joking when they said it takes a (cyberspace) village to raise a child, because I most definitely do not have all the answers!

The Power of Association


When Hannah was born, I was amazed that she fit my initial pie in the sky idea that babies are supposed to be pink and wrinkled and quiet and angelic. This because, my idyllic ideas were shattered when Liam was born; he was everything a baby was NOT supposed to be. He was born awake, and he stayed awake A LOT. As a newborn, if he napped for 40 minutes at a time, it was cause for celebration. Night times were worse, we couldn’t make an hour without him stirring and yelling for something to eat. He was a boob baby, and a formula supplemented baby, and he ate porridge at 3 months, all in an effort to make him SLEEEP. How he remained a cute, happy little boy on such sleep deprivation is beyond me. We soon realised that Liam was born ready – for EVERYTHING. He started teething at 3 months, walked at 11 months, started baby talking at about 4 months and real talking at about a year and oh my giggling granny, hasn’t stopped since. He is a real rough and tumble boy’s boy, does everything with gusto and dramatics, he is a ball of energy and I think he is destined to be a leader and not a follower. So when Hannah was born, all prim and proper, quiet as a mouse, a four to five hour schedule baby, and slept a full eight hours from about 3 months, we were a bit taken aback. She was a very calm baby, happy to just sit in her pram and watch the world pass her by. She hardly cried, she didn’t require much attention, other than watering and feeding here and there, and she was a total breeze to deal with. I used to say that Liam was blessed enough to get my antsy pantsy genes and Hannah got her Dad’s more laid back kinda genes.

Boy, was that short lived.

I read an interesting blog post, which supports my theory on the Power of Association. “The power of association and surrounding yourself with other successful people is a sure fire way to reach your goals and dreams much faster. The plain and simple truth is that if you are not spending time with other action takers on the same path to bigger things in life, then you hinder your own success.” It goes on to say: “…the outcome of who you are, the goals you achieve, the dreams you accomplish, the destiny you fulfill, all has its roots either as a result of associations you keep or maybe you personally. Let’s look for a good association, because it will determine your accomplishments.”

So now my theory.. since Hannah has been hanging around with her big brother, she has evolved into a little tigress. If I can use a simple example.. she evolved from one of those cute cuddly things in Waybaloo into that pirate chick in Jake and the Neverland Pirates, almost overnight (still cute and cuddly though). It seems even her physical milestones are being reached quicker, as a result of being around Liam. She only cut her first tooth at 10 months, but everything else has come at whirlwind speed.. she walked before her first birthday, she went from a quiet, introverted toddler who really only spoke when she was spoken to, into a word-a-second finger wagging, rule breaking toddler. I stand back and watch how she admires Liam, how she tries to imitate everything he does, how she tries to pronounce words like he does, how she tries these Evil Knievel tricks that get my heart racing. While potty training Liam, we used to let him wee in the garden – something that he hasn’t quite gotten over, even though he is fully potty trained. The other day I found Miss Hannah trying to wee in the garden with her brother, except she couldn’t get out of her press-studded vest so she was kinda leaning hip forward, legs apart, mimicking her brother who was creating a yellow stream across the yard. WHERE was my camera. She wants to be just like him, she wants to eat the same food as he does, and even though I know she doesn’t have an affinity for mushy foods – she won’t even eat mushy breakfast cereal or mashed butternut – if Liam is eating it, she will force herself to swallow it down with a sick look on her face.

I think it’s great that she has a mentor of sorts, that she endeavours to be just like her smart big brother, and I have no doubt that she will learn faster; that her mental and physical capabilities will develop quicker because she spends every waking moment with her mentor. But my concern is that she is also picking up on the not-so-admirable qualities of a strong willed two year old boy.. like the tantrums, the crying just because I feel like it, the naughtiness (and no, I don’t believe that children can’t be naughty). I know this phase will come regardless of who your child is, or who they spend time with, that’s just raising babies for you… but Hannah, at the tender age of 17 months, wags her finger in my face and says no no no no no, when I raise my voice and make big eyes at her to show my disapproval at something she’s done. She looks at me with that just-you-dare-try-it look when I reprimand her for touching something she knows is off limits, and runs away in a fit of giggles when I make as if I am coming to catch her to discipline her. She isn’t afraid of a smack on the fingers because she knows that Liam gets lots of those and he seems fine – she finds it all quite amusing actually. She looks to Liam when Dad raises his voice, to gauge how he reacts, so that she can do the same, because you don’t mess with Dad when he raises his voice, you see. She is a two and a half year old Liam in a 17 month old body – except her English is still pretty sucky.

My idea is to train Liam to be the perfect little well behaved, well mannered boy, so that she will pick up these great qualities from her brother.. but training Liam is like training a yappy little puppy who is just too excitable to listen or learn and just wees his pants when you shout and goes back to chew on that same piece of furniture no matter how many times you tell him not to.. its HARD!

So now that my hopes for a little princess in a pink organza tutu have been dashed, I’ve reconciled myself to the fact that Hannah will most likely be a tom boy, who only wants to wear camouflage and dig in the sand (boy, she loves digging in the sand!). And I’m cool with that, I just hope that Liam will grow out of his Terrible Twos phase quickly so that Hannah at least learns how to be a well behaved little tom boy.

No matter what, my kids are living proof that the Power of Association is real. Who are you associating with, and what does it say about you?

Also from the blog post I mentioned above, a thought provoking article by Gen. Colin Powell, which stirred my heart..

  • Don’t follow anyone who’s not going anywhere, with some people you spend an evening: with others you invest it
  • Be careful where you stop to inquire for directions along the road of life
  • Wise is the person who fortifies his life with the right friendships
  • If you run with wolves, you will learn how to howl but, if you associate with eagles, you will learn how to soar to great heights
  • The less you associate with some people, the more your life will improve
  • Any time you tolerate mediocrity in others, it increases your mediocrity
  • An important attribute in successful people is their impatience with negative thinking and negative acting people
  • As you grow, your associates will change. Some of your friends will not want you to go on; they will want you to stay where they are. Friends that don’t help you climb will want you to crawl
  • Your friends will stretch your vision or choke your dream. Those that don’t increase you will eventually decrease you

 

What did you say?


So this week Liam hit us with a barrage of new and interesting words. I knew this day would come because it only takes so long before your child comes into contact with other children (and adults) who were not raised the way I have tried to raise Liam and Hannah – and not in a bad way – just differently. So whereas some words like stupid, shut up and cry-baby are acceptable in some homes, I have tried to steer away from words, which if used in the wrong context, could hurt or offend another little darling. I don’t know about you, but if I was two years old and someone called me stupid, I’d want to cry big crocodile tears .. in fact, if someone called me stupid now, I’d probably also burst into tears! Yes, there are times when his Dad and I are having a laugh and being silly and I call my hubby stupid, or I tell him to shut it when I ask if my bum looks big in this and he laughs..so this context is different, but because explaining contexts to a two year old is like explaining the JSE to me, we just try and avoid these sorts of words altogether at home. 

Everyone says I should ignore him when he uses these words, and perhaps I will learn to contain my outrage and ignore him now that I have heard these horrible words spill from the mouth of my saintly (not) two year old. But when I heard him say it this weekend, I almost choked on my saliva. I can’t even remember what he said, or what he was referring to; we were driving in the car and he was talking compulsively and without taking a breath as usual, and I was giving the obligatory, “yes, ooooh, wow my baby” but not really listening to what he was on about, when I heard him slip in a “stupid.” The hubby and I were mortified, I asked Liam what he had just said, and he said it again – unashamedly . In his defence, I don’t believe he knew it was a bad word, he’d probably just picked it up, but I do think he was well aware of the hoo-hah it caused, every time he said it. So I explained to him that that word wasn’t nice, and that he shouldn’t ever, EVER say it again, and he said ok and carried on with his soliloquy. So far, he hasn’t used the word again, or rather I haven’t heard him say the word again.

Later in the day, I heard him tell Hannah to GET OUT OF MY FACE.. what? Again, I had to step in with the “that’s not nice” speech. I asked him where he had learned to talk like that and he said “nowhere”. Charming. My pulse goes into overdrive and my palms feel sweaty when I think of him using words like these in public, or worse, at church! What will they think of ME, the parent? I don’t want people to think that we’re ok with it, and I most definitely don’t want Liam to be THAT kid who always says nasty things – the kid who other parents tell their kids to stay away from! Ah, this parenting thing doesn’t get any easier, does it? 

So for now, I’m going to play it cool with the bad words. What I have learned through this toddler phase, is that alot of what they do, is to see what sort of of reaction they can get out of me. If I go off my head every time they tip the dirty washing out of the laundry basket, they think it’s hilarious and must be done again and again. If I walk in and laugh and suggest we all clean up together, they think it’s boring and leave it alone, and move onto something else that will shatter Mom’s world. Kids hey, such GEMS.

So, my tactic goes as follows: acknowledge that he has used a bad word, ignore it, if I can tell he is using it more for my reaction than anything else, and lastly wash his mouth out with soap, and feed him chillies. Ok, I wouldn’t do that, relax.

Five things I’m loving about you guys right now…


Baby girl Hannah

  1. I love how cuddly and soft you are, with your delectable baby fat deposits behind your knees and the back of your neck…sooooo good for nuzzling!
  2. I love how you pat my back rhythmically when I am putting you to sleep – which technically means you put ME to sleep, but that’s ok.
  3. I love how you love to eat! Anything and everything! The minute the fridge door opens, you mosey on over with your mouth open and you say “hummmm” to indicate that you’d like some. So when you don’t eat, I know that you are feeling out of sorts.
  4. I love how you smell. Even when you’re dirty from playing in the sand, and rolling in the grass, and even when you have a stinky diaper, you still smell amazingly and wonderfully delicious. How do you do that?
  5. I love how you wonder around the house alone. And when I come and find you, you’ll be looking out the window at the traffic passing by, with your chin resting on the window ledge. Or you’ll be in your brother’s shoe cupboard, trying to put his shoes on. Sometimes I find you in the bathroom, wrapped in toilet paper and I want to smack your bottom because 2 ply toilet paper is expensive, but you look so cute, that I can’t help but laugh.

Mommy’s Big Boy, Liam

  1. I love how smart you are! I know every mom thinks their kid is smart.. but really boy, you are SOOOOO smart. You know your colours, even the hard ones like silver and grey. You know the days of the week and the alphabet, and you can identify letters like T for Tommy Tall and M for Magic Melon and C for Curly Clown.
  2. I love how I am your favourite – even when I shout and give you a smack – I’m still your favourite! And I love how you tell Dad that Mama is your best BEst BEST, and Dad is just your best.
  3. I love how you want me to tell you the same story over and over again and you always laugh like it’s the first time you’ve heard it. Ok, I must admit that sometimes this endearing quality does annoy me, because it’s the same old story of Ellie the Elephant who wants a peanut butter sandwich and a glass of milk which I made up months ago to keep you quiet. And if I forget one line of MY story, which I made up, you make a point of correcting ME, the author of the story.
  4. I love how you correct us when we make mistakes. If Dad and I are having a tiff, you remind us to TALK NICELY to each other. If we don’t say please and thank you and bless you, you reprimand us immediately. If we don’t say our prayers and kiss good night, you make sure that we do. You tell Hannah not to pick her nose, or eat from the floor and quite recently, not to pee in her diaper (it has been difficult to explain to you that while Hannah CAN wee and poo in her diaper because she is still a baby, you are now a big boy and you need to go potty).
  5. I love how you remember people and places, and how you place value on people, even complete strangers. You always smile and say HELLO or HI and you ask how they are. You remember all your aunties and uncles names – even the hard ones like aunty Adele, who you call aunty Tinkerbell. And when you haven’t seen a particular person for a long time, you ask me where and how they are.

You two are the best BEst BESTEST! I love you forever, I love you for always, as long as I’m living, my babies you’ll be.