Dear Frankie, Aged 1½

Dear Frankie,

Right baby, things have rushed along all too fast. May! where did that come from? “No time, no time.” I now find myself on my third trip away. The current contract I had wanted for about three years; that I started eight months ago, is now in full swing. This means I’m working abroad a lot so I didn’t see you for the majority of your 18th month, in fact so far it’s averaging that I’m away for three weeks then back for just one. So you and I have spent far less time than we should together. This is not cool, but it’s just the way the old cookie doth crumbulate, being torn between wanting to spend as much time as possible with VIPs (that’s you and the rest of our family and friends by the way), getting on in a career of some description, and other things that are important to me such as travel. I did start this letter during my four weeks in Sofia then subsequently spent ten days in Belgrade and now it’s a month overdue.

So this is all far too many days to to be away from both you and your PREGNANT MUMMY. We’ve attempted explaining to you that there’s a little brother or sister cooking away inside Mumma’s tummy but obviously you haven’t got a clue wtf we’re on about.

On picking me up from airport when I got back from Sofia the recognition was immediate, you cuddled in but then held back to analyze me for a moment as I was sporting the classic disguise of a full-on beard and my increasingly weak specs. Mumma did her best to drive us home and you began this kind of chat, which I think is some kind of reassurance device. Or insolence:

You: “Dadda?”
Me: “Yes baby?”
You: “Dadda?”
Me: “Yes Frankie?”
You: “Dadda?”
Me: “Yes beautiful?”
You: “Dadda?”
Me: “How can I help?”
You: “Dadda?”
Me: “What can I do for you?”
You: “Dadda?”
Me: “Yes Frankie Spratty?”
You: “Dadda?”

etc., etc., etc., ad infinitum.

Our holiday in east Africa seems a long time ago already. I’m glad you got to spend a bit of time with your uncle Charlie, he seems to have spent his time out there as headmaster wisely so no longer treats you or other young children as infected, which is a real bonus. Most of the trip was spent beaching it on Zanzibar though, loverly. Which reminds me that we must somehow get to beaching it again somewhere this summer.

Month 18 phot (shot by Mumma, so you’ll notice the photographic improvement)


  • In a bar in Dar Es Salaam you’d go up to randoms, playing the ‘name that body part game’, pointing and touching, then letting them know which part of their face it was. Endearing.
  • You went through a stint of fiddling with the old fandango whenever your nappy was off. And then putting your finger in your mouth! And then getting in a huff when I’d go to cover you up again.
  • You’ll often reverse into us in order to sit down or be cuddled.
  • You really have to stop playing with your eyeball. It’s a habit you picked up quite a while back now and you’ll do it mostly when your tired. You make the area below your right eye swell up a tad and I’m sure you’ll do damage if you keep at it. Stop it you nutter.
  • First sentence: Mumma sit please.
  • First four word command: Mumma gone, Dadda come.

Explaining the difference between a seagull and a duck or say a donkey and a horse to a one and a half year old is a challenge. I’m pretty inarticulate at the best of times, you try it one day. Your language otherwise is coming on well. I was going to list your vocab here but it’s already pretty much too many to keep track of. Sometimes we’ll say a word and you’ll come straight back with it. So what we definitely did not do whilst lying out in the garden in Maidenhead after work one day was take advantage of this by encouraging you to say THE C WORD then high five each other when you did. Nosireebob we did not do that.

Whilst I’ve been away, Mumma and I have been chatting online quite a bit but neither of us is particularly good at distance comms. Some transcripts though:

Kate: …Loving rolling around in the grass. When eventually she came in this evening she demanded we go upstairs but not before she walked into the lounge, kissed my computer, waved and said bye bye… She quite often points at it and says “Dadda?”

Sent at 22:03 on Wednesday
Kate: …she asks for a drink and then i have to show her a variety of cups until i have the one she wants. Then she gives a very definite nod. I then hold ribena in one hand and squash in the other and she points at the one she wants.

Sent at 22:05 on Wednesday
Kate: it is similar at bed time. I hold up a book one at a time. She is empathic in her no’s and when she gets to one she thinks she ones she tilts her head to one side raises her eyebrows then nods like a lunatic.

Stuff like that melts me bleeding ‘eart.

Of an evening you’ll now decide when’s a suitable time to retire (regularly earlier than what we had in mind) with one of these commands: “Teeth” or “Bubbles”. Then early mornings you’ll summon one of us like so:

Mumma, come?
Mumma, come.
Mumma, come!

Right now am about to hit the sack for the night here in Port of Spain, Trinidad. Can’t wait to see you in 3 weeks. Really wish you were here.


Dadda x


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