Sunday, June 1

Gwen is 7

Dear Gwen,
You are seven years old - officially an 'older child'. You are all tall and long limbed with grown-up teeth and your own friends and hobbies. 

You love music - listening to it, dancing to it, singing, writing and recording songs with Daddy (best song: Tell Me The Earth, about the planets). Your Spotify playlist is an eclectic mix that includes One Direction, Prince, Jessie J, Harry Bellafonte, Florence and the Machine, Spice Girls, PJ Harvey, Daft Punk, ABBA... you love it all and spend hours listening to songs and belting out tunes. You are learning to play the recorder at school, and you've just started going to a street dancing class, which you really love.

You are so creative, always writing and drawing, and you make things all the time - puppets on sticks, candle holders out of old toilet roll tubes, little miniature houses out of cardboard boxes, mysterious potions made with herbs and spices from the pantry. The other day, you found a manky old tea towel on the side of the road, brought it home, and - while I was bathing Wilf - you transformed it into a Wilf-sized apron with a picture of a tractor on the front and sparkly red ribbons to tie it together.

You really love food - especially big, hearty, comforting meals like veggie lasagnes, blackberry crumbles, creamy risottos, shepherd's pies... I think your dream day would involve cosying up on the sofa, watching films and eating mashed potato.

You are so sociable and are really great at making friends. Wherever we go, you find new people to play with and chat to - whether they're children your own age or adults. You tend to tell everyone your entire life story within about 10 minutes of meeting them.

I like you being seven because we get to do lots of cool stuff together, like going to see musicals (we've seen Hairspray and Wicked so far), going on the really fast, scary slides at the swimming pool, having little dates where we go for Japanese food (but you're really only there for the vegetable gyoza), and reading books that we both enjoy (Roald Dahl books, Mr Gum, Clarice Bean and The Worst Witch are our favourites). Today, we went to a really cool circus, and you were delighted by the whole thing - as soon as we got home, you disappeared upstairs and came down in a leotard to start practicing your acrobatics in the garden.

You want to try everything, go everywhere, learn new skills, meet more people - I hope you never lose your creativity and curiosity about the world.

Lots of love,

Wilf is 18 months

Dear Wilf,
You are changing so fast. The baby days are a hazy memory and you're a fully-fledged crazy toddleroo.

In fact, like your littlest big sister, you have turned completely bonkers since hitting the big one-and-a-half - running away, climbing on top of everything you see, trying to slide/throw yourself down the stairs, shouting a lot, giving us a big affectionate smack/bite/hair pull...

You can say lots of things: Shoe-shoe, joo-joo (juice), woof, quack, Geh (Gwen), Nonny (Molly), Nanna, Mamma, Daddy, Hiyaaaaa, car, oh god, oh dear, oh no, bum, poo, cheese, more, no, wet, dirty, nose, 'eady deddy go, keys, door, cwtch, nee nar - and your very favourite Traaaaaack-tar (tractor).

You started walking in March, and now you are off and away, usually a long way from us and/or in the opposite direction to the one we want you to go in. When confronted with an open space, you shout 'eady, deddy GO!' and run off laughing.

Your favourite books are ones with animals or vehicles in them. If you don't like a book, you close it really hard on our fingers and say 'Noooo'.

You don't seem to like water very much. Trips to the beach and the swimming pool lately have been accompanied by lots of clinging on to me and shaking of your head.

 You love playing with balls: tennis balls, footballs, bouncy balls.... any will do, as long as it's round and rolly, you are a happy boy.When I take you and Blod out, I take a tennis ball for both of you to chase after - it's a cunning way to get you to walk in the right direction.

You're a huge fan of wheeled vehicles, especially tractors and buses (but bikes, cars and lorries also meet with some excited shouting and pointing). 

You love music. I have resorted to playing Justin Fletcher singalong albums on Spotify to stop you falling asleep in the car. Your absolute favourite is The Hokey Cokey (and you can do a very moving rendition of it).

You're really good at throwing stuff. The other day, you got a bit of your peanut butter toast right into Daddy's cup of coffee. 

You are most definitely a mamma's boy. You cry and cry when I leave the room, no-one else is allowed to hug me when you are nearby, and when I get home from work, you shout 'Ma-maaaa' repeatedly very loudly and spend five minutes hugging me very tightly and playing with my hair.

You give lovely kisses, accompanied by a really long 'Mmmmmmmmmmwah'.

Every day with you is so full of laughter and fun (and hair pulling), my funny, affectionate little boy.

We are all so happy that you're in our lives.