You're 12 weeks today. 12 weeks of smiles, giggles, outraged howls, four-hour cuddles, and adventures. So many adventures.
We've been to London - just you and me, on the train. All I have to do is pop you in the sling, or click you into the car seat, and we're off. You'll go anywhere with me, it seems, so long as I bring my boobs. We went to Henley, and you behaved so well that they almost let you in to the Steward's Enclosure - but unfortunately you weren't in a blazer and flannels, so no go. I've rediscovered shopping - something Lumpy hasn't tolerated for years. But you're happy to come along for the ride, so we haunt Cowley centre once again (maternity leave wouldn't be complete without it) - rampaging through the chavs and charity shops. We attack the four-mile walk into Oxford with gusto, to watch a strange array of films at the Big Scream mother and baby screening. But you don't scream, rising above such lowly expectations of your behaviour, and I sit there and glow with smugness.
Not that you are incapable of showing your displeasure. Ninety eight per cent of the time you are sunniness and serenity, taking everything in, following our conversations attentively, and wiggling each of your limbs in sheer joy at the sight of the leaves swaying above you. But that two per cent of the time - if we've let you get too tired, or I dare to attack you with the snot sucker, then, my lord, you know how to show it. Look on my wrath, you parents, and be afeared.
At these times, while jiggling your outraged, rigid body, I whisper that you're meant to be the easy, placid, second baby. That I only signed up for this because that was what I was promised. But that's not fair. You are so incredibly happy, good-natured, and cheerful, it's just such a shock when you do cry that it seems strange and extreme to us. We're just so lucky. So lucky that you're you.
You are so like your big brother in so many ways. Sometimes it's like I've just dozed off and I'm back there, three years ago, a brand new, totally clueless, mother of a little Lumpy (as opposed to the consummate professional parent I am now, ho diddly he). You look like him, smile like him - oh, those explosive, open-mouthed, half-moon grins. You gave me one of those first thing this morning, after I scooped you out of your cot. You are just delicious. I could have eaten you up right there, but then I'd have gone to prison for cannibalism, and there'd be no one to wash your nappies, and my boobs would explode within five hours, and that would be no good. So I restrained myself.
From your magnificent array of coos, squawk, and grunts, I think you'll be a talker, just like Lumpy. At least, I hope so. Though I may regret that wish in two years time, when I have two little loonies shouting at me all day long.
I hope you will laugh as much as he does. You've had a good start - you giggled for the first time, last Friday. We were standing by the river, on the way back from the pub, watching a rowdy boat full of post-GCSE students with extraordinary hair (what is it with young people and their hair? And, more importantly, when did I become such an extraordinary old fart?) passing through the lock. I was leaning over you in the pram, smiling at you like a loon, laughing and tickling you in the armpits. And you giggled and giggled and giggled. What a brilliant sound that was. I keep trying to get you to do it again, but you resolutely refuse. Perhaps you were actually laughing at the oddly dressed young 'uns on the boat.
We're out of the really new, newborn phase, now. You're no longer a cross little maggot, who I couldn't put down for two minutes. You like your own space now, happily wiggling on the floor with Lumpy's pals from three years ago, Mr Bee, Zed-Bo, and Mr Moose.
You're sleeping on me less and less, and actually nap more easily in your cot (though you only ever stay asleep there for an hour max, whereas if I can get you to drop off on me, you'll stay there all day long, for hours on end, even now. I love that. You can sleep on my chest for as long as you want, till you're in your thirties, if you like. People may think that's weird, and we may be shunned as social pariahs and freaks, but so be it. Snooze on, little man.
But even as you're growing up - every minute, every hour, before my very eyes - you still seem to need me - or want me, rather. Sometimes, when I reach out to you, as you're lying on the floor, or in your cot, you grab on to my hand and pull it towards you, holding on so tight. And my heart just melts. I love you, my little Flumpy. You make that so very, very easy.