bookmark_borderLucy is 5

Right you, first things first, at what point are you going to stop growing up so damn fast?! Every time I see you, you’ve changed. Long gone is the adorable toddler who would bumble over and hold my hand and laugh and giggle, and now here you are, an inquisitive, funny, girl who is just a little bit of a showoff but in the best possible way. You have such a warm, caring side to you too, it’s wonderful to see that part of you grow as well.

It’s been quite a year! I know you’ve enjoyed all the time at home with Mummy and Daddy, just as I know you’ve missed all your friends at nursery but at least you get to see them for a bit longer before you head to school! I must try and remember to ask you what it felt like to live through this pandemic as a 4 year old, will you even remember the way the world changed? Will you remember how well you adapted?

Of course, closer to home, the world changed even more dramatically. Your Grandpa died. I think your age was to your benefit as you took it all in your stride; a little confused at first, but somehow you knew to give Grandma more cuddles, to be a little quieter at times as if you could sense that all the adults were a little bit sad. I wonder how much of him you will remember. Will you be able to recall just how much he loved you and doted on you? How he loved to make you smile? How many times that damn noisy squirrel toy had its batteries replaced just because it would make you shriek with laughter? It’s an odd comfort to think back on those times even though they only ended a few months ago, and I hope part of him stays with you as you grow.

And the world will change again all too soon for you when your new baby sister arrives! What an exciting time! I can only imagine how good you are going to be with your little sister. I know you will love her, and protect her, and look out for her as she grows, and if you ever need any tips on how to wind her up and tease her let me know, I’m sure the things I used to do to your Mummy will still work!

Sadly, we’ve not managed to spend as much time together this year as I’d hoped, but the moments we have are already fond memories for me and your Aunt Becca. Getting you hopped up on ice cream and churros, playing in Victoria Park just made me realise how fast you are growing and, just like my Dad, how much I love to make you smile and laugh (and scream when I’m chasing you!). Every time I see you these days you do something that makes me pause, something that makes me see how smart and thoughtful and imaginative you are, and that driven side of you, that determination, well I hope that stays too (and ignore people/men who say women shouldn’t be forthright!).

I know your Mummy and Daddy are so very proud of you and all the glowing reports you get from nursery, you are kind-hearted girl, with a ready smile, and I hope to spend a lot more time with you this year as I’m sure there are plenty of flavours of ice cream yet to try.

As always, love and hugs and high fives,

Unky Gee

bookmark_borderHappy 4th Birthday

Another year has passed and wow what a year you’ve had!

OK, so I’d best mention your Mummy and Daddy getting married first, I guess, as it was a pretty big day in their life and I know how happy they were to have you there (don’t tell your Mum but I think you might have been the prettiest girl that day!). It was a wonderful day of celebration, but my best memories were of you dancing with your Mum and Dad, a tiny moment in a day full of laughter and love, and there you were, the three of you all smiling and laughing.

It was quite a year for you all round, not only did your Mummy and Daddy get married and you got to wear a beautiful dress, but you also started dancing class and in no time at all there you were, performing on stage all on your own, utterly fearless and full of confidence. For all your quiet shy moments of the past, you seem to have an inner strength to you and don’t often seem to get fazed by things, long may this continue! I know you are just turning four today, but the longer you can hold on to these traits the better your life will be (I’ll do my best to remind of you this as you grow older of course but I already get the feeling that won’t really be needed).

As your personality grows, we are finding out that you are quite the little performer, not to mention a bossy chatterbox at times.

Now, I do have a couple of bones to pick with you. We’ve spent a little more time together this past year and, whilst I really enjoyed my time with you at the park one day, I’m not sure your constant commands of where I could and couldn’t go were all that necessary, especially when any digression on my part ended up with me covered in boiling hot lava! OH NO!

And then there was the evening that Auntie Becca and I took you to Xscape and you thought it would be hilarious to throw snowballs at me, not your Auntie Becca, ONLY ME! I have to admit I felt a little bit picked on, but seeing how happy it made you and how hard you were laughing, perhaps I did egg you on a little too.

What a beautiful sound it is, that little giggle you have, that bursts forth so often as you continue to learn and explore the world around you with such a lovely perspective – apparently one day when your Mummy’s tummy was rumbling after she’d had some ice cream, you thought it was maybe just that her “tummy was saying thank you”! – what a kind hearted little soul you are. We already knew this but it was further highlighted a few days later…

We got a message from your Mummy, apparently you had gotten a sticker at nursery for a ‘random act of kindness’: “Lucy’s friend Elizabeth has spina bifida, she is unable to walk unaided. They were playing a game where the kids chase each other round in a circle. Lucy was being chased by Elizabeth but knowing she can’t run Lucy immediately started crawling instead… She wasn’t asked, told or had this happen before, she just knew in her head she had to go slower for Elizabeth to catch her.”

Your personality is growing but it’s clear you have a good heart to go with that cheeky smile, something that will stand you in good stead as you grow older, the world needs love more than ever these days.

Christmas was even more fun this year, now you are fully aware of everything that is going on. Hopefully you weren’t spoiled too much, and it was nice to spend a few hours with you on Christmas Day, made all the better by receiving an impromptu hug as you left. Auntie Becca and I were delighted and both agree that was the best Christmas present we got!

It’s been so much fun seeing you find your own place in the world as you grow, seeing how much you like your Auntie Becca, and how much you are interacting with everyone around you. I think that’s because of the love and support your parents give, not to mention the rest of your family, love and support that will always be there.

I’m so very proud of you,

As always, love and hugs and high fives,

Unky Gee

bookmark_borderHappy 3rd Birthday

Well look at you, three years old already! You really are growing up far too fast, before long you’ll be a sulky teenager!

What a joy it’s been, spending time with you at this age. For the most part you are all smiles and giggles and mischief with the occasional tantrum thrown in, they don’t call it the terrible twos for nothing, but that’s all part of you discovering your personality, and what an inquisitive, cheeky little thing you are already and, according to the reports from your nursery, you are a smart cookie too.

We started the year with all that snow, which not only took me back to my own childhood, but seeing how you marvelled at the way the world changed was wonderful, I hope that sense of joy of such a simple trick of nature remains, and I’ll do my best to nurture that as you grow.

Visiting you on those glorious hot summer months last year was an utter joy. Your shouts of “Unki Gee” filled my heart with more joy than I have words to express, and your continuing curiosity was a pleasure to feed; a tiny moment that sticks in my mind, rather than just telling you the BBQ was too hot, you let me help you explore it so you understood. You crouched down next to me, and carefully copied me, your tiny hand outstretched to feel the heat and how ‘burny’ it was and, from then on, you were aware and careful whenever you were near it. It made me realise just how much new information you are absorbing every moment of every day, how much you still have to learn. You are amazing.

Your vocabulary has come on leaps and bounds and with it your personality is starting to show (although I do still need to teach you just how much the word ‘jobby’ annoys your Grandma…). I can see both of your parents influences coming through as well and as you start to understand your place in the world, as small as your world currently is, it’s been wonderful to see you grow into such a curious and funny little person. And OH MY GOODNESS when you are cheeky, and far far too cute and adorable. Now, I like to pretend that you haven’t figured out that Unki Gee will pretty much do whatever you want to make you happy, but I think you’ve got me sussed already, those beautiful big eyes and that gorgeous smile will forever be my undoing (and when you read this as a teenager, please know that this likely still holds true, so please go easy on me!).

Christmas was fun this year, no not because of the Naughty Elf shenanigans, but seeing the joy in your face in the glow of Christmas lights and the excitement of all those new toys on Christmas Day made me fall a little bit more in love with you than before. Also, top prize for best ‘quizzical face of the year’ was when your Daddy suggested the Naughty Elf had trailed loo roll down the stairs… you turned to look at him with that little furrowed brow and exclaimed “Daddy, do it?!”, no flies on you!

You’ve also shown how caring and kind you are already, watching you help Grandma when she can’t lift something, taking care to lift things you might spill with two hands, offering Grandpa a teddy when he was going to snooze… no-one prompted you to do those things, it’s just part of who you are. I hope that continues as we need more love in this world, but don’t worry, there is plenty of time ahead of you to figure that stuff out.

One thing is for sure, no matter how hard it is, how many temper tantrums you throw, it’s clear that Mummy and Daddy love you very much, as evidenced by the care and nurture they give you, and that’s before we get to the grandparents that dote on you and spoil you rotten. As for me? Well I’ll always be your Unki Gee and no matter what happens I’ll be there for you if you need me.

2019 will be a big year for the family; a new Aunt to get to know, and so many more new experiences to absorb, ohhh and let’s not forget your Mummy and Daddy getting all dressed up and saying “I do” to each other. What a year it’s going to be and I know, through it all, that my beautiful niece will continue to make me smile and laugh.

As always, love and hugs and high fives,

Uncle G

bookmark_borderHappy 2nd Birthday

Dear Lucy,

You are two. TWO!

How this has happened so quickly is beyond me (heaven knows what your parents must think!), but there you have it. You are now two years old and as your character and personality has started to show, I think, if possible, I’ve become even more smitten with my gorgeous little niece than ever.

So, what’s new now that you are two. Well you are now a proper little person, with your own sense of humour, your own quiet inquisitive nature, and you are turning into such a beautiful little person. And no this isn’t biased Uncle G talking, all you need to do is look at the comments on social media, and listen to my colleagues on whom I regularly foist your latest antics (blame your Mum for sending me the videos!), EVERYONE thinks you are utterly adorable, and they aren’t wrong.

It’s been a fun year for sure. You’ve done some properly amazing things, things you will take for granted but which are absolutely incredible!! First up the small matter of walking, which soon turned into a bobbling uncoordinated run and then all of a sudden we are chasing you up and down hallways whilst you scream in delight.

And then you only went and started talking and learning how to communicate, stringing words together in what turns out to be mostly commands to get what you want. I will admit though, I was a little disappointed that your first word wasn’t aardvark but hey, it was a long shot…

Now that you are walking and talking you’ve fast become my favourite little drunk dictator; stoating about on slightly wobbly legs, yelling HIYA at anyone who passes, or TA TA as you run off somewhere else, or MUM UP, or MUM JOUSS, and so on.

You also developed a cheeky smile. A wonderful toothy grin that transforms you from big eyed angelic beauty to mischievous troublemaker in a split second. The latter is usually accompanied by the throwing or touching of something you kinda-maybe-sorta knew you shouldn’t do but suggests that you are gonna do it anyway just to find out what happens.

Alas with mischievousness comes consequence and you are also learning that sometimes grown ups will say no and stop you doing something. The thing in question doesn’t seem to matter, and the first moments of quiet rage can spring from anywhere. I won’t lie, I am sincerely hoping to get a good temper tantrum captured on video for future embarrassment opportunities (don’t say I didn’t warn you!).

Naturally, I have in no way encouraged you to explore the boundaries of your naughtiness and any claims by your mother that I did are complete fabrications (just as I will continue to deny any future allegations of encouraging your naughty behaviour… it’s my Uncle G perogative).

What’s even more fun is the most recent development; you are now copying words that people say, yes even the naughty ones. However it’s fair to say that between them, your Mum and Dad are more than capable of teaching you all the really bad ones, so I will settle for getting you to shout words like JOBBIE (which is important as it’s your Grandma McLean’s most favourite word ever!!).

Yet despite all these new found skills you are still prone to stopping and quietly observing your surroundings. One minute you are hauling me around a playpark – and I do mean hauling, you are suprisingly strong for a two year old – the next you are stock still and wide-eyed as you watch another kid tackle the slide.

One of my favourite photos I took of you last year was of you just sitting staring out the window at the world. I’d love to have know what you were thinking, and I so dearly hope that that sense of curiosity remains with you as you grow. The world is wonderful if you look at it the right way and I’ll do my very best to remind of you that whenever I can.

My gorgeous niece, you continue to amaze and delight; every moment with you, every photo I see of you, fills my heart with joy and love. Every moment I spend with you I see a wonderful little person emerging who is curious to learn more about the world around her, who watches peoples faces to see how they react, who can be shy at times, boisterous at others, and is so very deeply loved by her parents, her grandparents and her ‘Unc Gee’ (which, for the record, was THE best Christmas present I got last year when you uttered that on Christmas Day!).

I cannot wait to see what this year has in store for you, although if I’m being honest I’m mostly interested in seeing just how far you can push your Mum and Dad before they crack… the terrible twos beckon!

Happy Birthday Lucypops!

Uncle G

P.S. For the tantrum video I want a full on, throw yourself to the floor, flailing limbs, screaming performance. None of this sulking off in the huff (save that for when you are an angsty teenager).

bookmark_borderHappy 1st Birthday

Dear Lucy,

I can’t quite believe it’s been a year since your Mummy phoned me and asked if I could hear anything in the background, and there was the sound of you crying as gently as the new-born you were.

I’ll happily admit to tearing up at the news (get used to that by the way, I’m a big pile of mush where you are concerned) and all my visits in the first few months were full of awe and wonder, cradling this tiny little person in my arms, this beautiful little girl who grabbed my heart the minute I saw her. The first photo I have of you and me in the hospital (yes, I got a t-shirt made up, don’t worry, you’ll get used to that too) is already one of my most treasured.

You slept a lot at first, which is what babies are supposed to do, and then you opened those beautiful big eyes of yours and spent the next several months taking in all these new sights. You have a quiet curiosity that I think will stand you in good stead as you grow older and I hope you can stay that way for a long time; the world can be full of wonder if you look at it the right way.

Now, I have to mention the period you went through of bursting into tears every time I walked in the room. I mean sure, it only happened a few times, but seeing my darling little niece crying BECAUSE OF ME was just awful (remember, I am mush!). No, no, I’m not blaming you, I know it was a phase and not a conscious decision or anything, but I can’t help but want you to always be happy, to feel safe and loved (mush, I say!), and crying doesn’t really fit in to the equation!

I’m glad it didn’t last long, but I still wonder what was going through your mind at the time, all those little synapses firing, connecting things, making sense of the world. Hey, you’ve got a LOT going on, I get it.

Watching you grow over this past year has been amazing. The way you are learning where things are, what things are called, and interacting with the world around you both boggles my brain and delights me at every turn. I literally can’t keep my eyes off you, and I’m already wary of how cute you are and how much of a soft touch I know I’ll be when you grow older!

This is the second letter I’ve written to you and I feel a bit bad because when you are older you’ll maybe look back at the events of 2016 and they will seem to be dominated by negativity; I won’t lie, it’s been a colossally shit year. But it’s important that you remember that you were a ray of light at the darkest of times, and it was through your eyes that we saw the world a different way, through your eyes that we let all that other noise fall away whilst we watch you marvel and discover and grow.

Of course it’s been a pretty big year for you, aside from that whole being born thing, obviously. You started crawling and have now mastered what can only be described as a sprint crawl as you whizz around. Not only that but you are teetering towards your first steps and will soon be toddling about the place, as inquisitive as ever.

As if that wasn’t enough you went and started speaking! A few words so far but that will soon build to short sentences and, in no time at all, you’ll be saying important things like “Uncle G is awesome!” but let’s not be too hasty, there’s plenty of time for that (I’ll always be awesome, don’t worry).

Side note: I am a little disappointed your first word wasn’t ‘aardvark’ but I won’t hold it against you.

So, what does this year hold in store for you? Well pretty much more of the same, everything will continue to be new and you’ve got a lot more discovering to do, and I’m so excited to watch you grow. I hope we can continue the ‘no crying when I enter the room’ pact we seem to have struck, but don’t worry if it still happens sometimes. A recurring theme as you get older will be that I won’t ever have expectations of you or how you choose to live your life, just be whoever you want to be and that’ll make me happier than you’ll probably ever realise.

I know I’m not around every week, but you are always in my thoughts. You don’t realise it yet but you are growing up in a world of social media and so I see pictures and videos of you almost every day. I see how loved you are by Mummy and Daddy, how both sets of grandparents dote on you, and your beatific smile cuts through everything, no matter how bad my day might have been; having you around makes everything that little bit better and brighter.

You are adorable, beautiful, delightful, and more.

Happy Birthday Lucypops!*

Uncle G

* I’m trying to find a decent nickname for you so bear with me, I’m sure we’ll find something.

bookmark_borderWelcoming Lucy

18 hrs old

Hello Lucy,

First up I’m really glad that you are no longer bump/wriggles/it; your parents, in their infinite wisdom, decided to leave the discovery of whether you were born a boy or a girl for the big birth day itself. A lovely thing to have that be a surprise, don’t you think? Anyway, apologies, but I referred to you as “it” right up until they told us your name.

But now that they have, hello!

Anyway, Uncle G here, yup, that idiot with the t-shirt, that’s me! Firstly, well done on making it into the world, I know it’s all a bit scary right now but don’t worry, your Mum and Dad will take care of you, protect you, and make sure you are fed, watered and loved. Yeah they’ll screw things up a little and there will come a time (in many-teen years from now) that you won’t really like them but they will always, ALWAYS be there for you, so try and remember that if nothing else.

You’ve already met Gran & Grandad McLean, they are the ones fussing over you because you are their first grandchild! I’ll remind you of this in the coming years, but you really should make the most of that fact, you are gonna get spoiled rotten you are! Not only from the McLean side, and yes I might spoil you a little bit too (don’t tell anyone but I’m a big softie) but I know the Morrisons will be looking forward to spoiling you as well! Win win for you! (Try not to gloat though, no-one likes a gloater, pretend you are embarassed and humbled by the whole thing, yeah? like ‘ohhh another rattling toy? you really shouldn’t have’).

I’ll be honest, I’m not really sure what else to say to you right now, after all you are largely just a tiny little squishy lump that sleeps, cries, eats, poops and sleeps again. To say your conversational skills are limited is an understatement but if you are anything like your Mother it won’t be long before you’ve mastered the art of speaking without pausing for breath, so I guess I should be enjoying the random noises and burbles whilst they last.

That said, I’m sure your Mum will be quick to tell me when you finally speak your first word – bonus points if it’s aardvark by the way!

You are already seem very expressive and in wonderous awe of this new world you’ve discovered, it’s a lot to take in I know so take your time, you have a whole life in front of you and many wonderful experiences ahead, some of which I hope to be a part of, after all you’ll need someone to sneak you your first drink, teach you your first swearword, and generally do all the things which will annoy your Mum, oh yes, little do you know that part of your inheritance has to include winding your Mum up on my behalf (I’m her big brother, it’s my birth right!)… if you need any lessons, just ask your Dad as he’s got it down to a fine art!

Your Mum & Dad are chuffed to bits you are here I know that they will take good care of you. You are their precious little bundle, who just happens to be absolutely gorgeous and as cute as a button!

Anyway, just wanted to say hi, hello and welcome to the world! It’s a pretty amazing place, a bit crappy at times – hey it’s not always gonna be as good as you have it now – but for the most part it’ll be ok. For my part I’ll do my best to listen to you, be honest with you, and not embarass you too much when you turn 18 (by which point I’ll be 60 and will give even fewer shits than I do now, hahaha!!)

I really can’t wait to get to know you, and if you ever need anything – except nappy changes, I’m not an idiot – then your Uncle G will be there for you, always.

Lots of love and tummy zoobers,

Your Uncle G (the idiot with the t-shirt)

P.S. If you read this at a later date (like, when you can actually read) then please note I made no offers of financial help, and that by reading this you accept the tiny (so tiny you can’t even see it) hidden clause that states you will visit me in my dotage and pretend to laugh at my jokes.

P.P.S. Remember, the word is “aardvark”.