My beautiful Ava, why do you hate me so? When I agreed to becoming your father I didn’t realise I was getting this kind of a raw deal. You’re getting older, bigger, more grown up by the day and I’m just not okay with that. I feel like I’ve been duped by a man down the local pub who completely pulled the wool over my eyes and sold me a Micro Pig, just for me to realise further down the line that I’d been conned into buying a regular pig. A strange analogy and one I’m sure your mother won’t quite appreciate. As she reads this I can already sense her head slowly turning in my direction like a possessed ventriloquist dummy.
“Did you just compare our daughter to a pig?” It’s true. I’ve compared you to many things during your life time, from a radiant princess to the spawn of Satan, however, I still love you irrevocably.

You’re turning three. You may be wondering why I’m feeling such concern over this, I’ve even expressed this to you on the odd occasion, where you respond to me with a familiar scowl over the tablet that I know you learned from your mother.
“Dad, Winnie the Pooh is hungry in his tummy, I don’t have time for your problems too,” Which is another thing, when did you even learn to use the tablet? You navigate Netflix with such ease despite never being shown how. I won’t be surprised to come home from work one day to find you’ve sorted through my online banking. You’re growing up before my very eyes and there’s nothing I can do about it.

There are so many pleasures in life that come from having a toddler, pleasures that I shall sorely miss the older that you become. I shall miss the way you are so impressionable, the ease in which your mother and I can teach you to say or do things for our own amusement, being none the wiser to our motives. Take the Truffle Shuffle for example. You may have thought we had taught you something cute and adorable as you smiled to us proudly, however, you soon realised the evil behind our laughter, which is why it’s a good thing we taught you to call out “Hey, You guys!” In response. I shall miss your “poop face” too. Yes, really. As you get older these bathroom excursions will become more independent and private, robbing me of the best facial expressions outside a Jim Carrey movie. Even your sheer denial of the fact you’re taking the Raiders to the bowl will be sorely missed.

It’s sad to think that these are the most care free days of your life and yet when you are older, you will not remember any of it. Even so, your mother and I strive on a daily basis to give you a wonderful childhood. We apologise for not being able to provide you with everything you want, but please know that if I were rich, I still wouldn’t. Working hard for something builds character and discipline, something you’ll realise is the difference between Jeremy Corbyn and David Cameron, Richard Branson and Donald Trump, and Captain America and Iron Man.

While you slowly leave one stage of your life behind as you grow into another, your mother and I will forever hold onto these precious memories. We may not remember our own toddler years, but that is the joy and the wonder of getting to relive them through you, as you shall one day discover when you experience it through the eyes of your own child.

In my eyes you will forever be the little girl that I sing to sleep at night. You will forever be the little girl that can not be parted from her blankets, who runs for cover at the very sight of the Hoover. You will forever be the little girl who waits at the door when I get home from work, greeting me with an ecstatic “Dadda, you came back!” As you run to me with open arms, occasionally whispering “I love you” in a gentle voice to soften me up to any news your mother has on your behaviour that day.

As you grow older I realise you will slowly have less time for me. Chasing you around the house to you giggling uncontrollably will become a closed bedroom door between us. Reading you stories will be replaced by a pair of headphones and the latest music. While coming home from work to your loving embrace will become the news thay you’re staying over at a friends house and I won’t get to hear about your day.

I understand that I can’t keep you as my little toddler and play mate forever, with your birthday being a huge reminder of what awaits in the future. As we cuddle watching Toy Story, I can’t help but feel the similarities between mine and Woody’s troubles. You are my best pal and it’s scary to think that you will get bored of me and find someone better to play with. We go everywhere and do everything together, I couldn’t be parted from my little cowgirl. One day you will grow up and I shall be cast into the cluttered old toy box or placed on the top shelf to gather dust, forgotten, while I’ll watch you go through all the different phases of your life, hoping that maybe one day you will catch sight of me and in that moment remember all the fun that we had. Like Rex after Operation Play Time, I will be feeling a sensation of immense joy at the simplest moment of attention “She held me, She actually held me!” But if there’s one thing I’ve learned from Woody and his love for Andy, as he watches his best pal grow from a young boy into a responsible adult “I wouldn’t miss it for the world,”

Happy Birthday Partner xxx