She’s growing up fast now. Everybody said that would happen. Sometimes, often, I look at her, surprised, and think, How did you get so big? She breaks into a huge grin whenever I meow like a cat. She pushes my hand away as if it’s obstructing something terribly important. She shakes toys and coos at their rattly sound, as if talking to them. As if telling them all about her day and how the weather is at the moment. She spends a lot of her time growing hair, which must be a big job because it’s very even and very soft and has the most beautiful auburn tinge to it. Strawberry blonde, Joel calls it. Definitely not red, he says. She has facial expressions like surprise and impatience, and sometimes I give her food that she doesn’t particularly like, like avocado, because it’s so endearing to watch her face turn from curiosity to disgust. She gets around saying ma-ma-ma-ma-ma-ma which, of course, means she loves me more than Joel. Her main activities now are flailing her legs around like she is an Olympic cyclist, licking things, and playing with tags on clothes and toys while sitting up all on her own. She also has five teeth. I suspect she must be some kind of genius. One of my favourite times of the day is when I put her to bed. We go into her room and I hold her for a little while, singing this song we always sing. She rests her head against my chest and the softness of her makes me feel woozy. After some time, she suddenly jerks her head up towards me, locks her eyes on mine for a few seconds, then drops her head back down as if it’s just too much to go on. I put her down in her bed and after she falls asleep, I cover her with blankets and watch her sleep. The world stops in those moments I watch her. I think that there is nothing more beautiful I have seen in my entire life. I feel so much love it’s like it’s painful. Her lips press into the most delicate pout and I wonder where she has gone to, what she is dreaming about, how nice and cozy she must feel, here in this house, surrounded by all this love. I think about those millions of baby turtles who hatch on the beach then have to race frantically to the ocean before the seagulls swoop down and get them. Only about fifty ever make it to the water alive. It’s no wonder the mums aren’t around to watch. I watch Ella sleep and I wonder about all the things that might be ahead of her in life and I think, Please God. Please let Ella make it to the water.