How can I describe how much I love you? How much I look forward to each morning when your sleepy smile greets me as I walk into your room and warm arms are flung around my neck. The elfin hair you had as a toddler has become a glorious golden mane now you are six.
There were days when you wouldn’t let me put you down as a baby. I remember having you in a carrier strapped to me so that I could cook dinner. This didn’t last for long though. Your independent streak soon came to the fore. ‘I can do it myself’ is the all too familiar cry I get from you nowadays. There is feistiness too. Like when you told me the other week that, ‘I didn’t know what fun was’ when I dared to suggest a shopping trip to town would be ‘fun’. You are stubborn and will dig in your heels when you don’t want to do something and, though you are small in stature, you are capable of bossing all of us around.
I tried my best to give birth to you naturally, but in the end, just like your brother, you were born by emergency caesarean, with Lady Gaga playing in the background. I should have known from that moment that you were going to be a diva. They had rushed your brother out of the operating theatre to give him oxygen so I never had the crying moment I had with you with him. Oh the relief to hear your lungs spring into action and to hold you on my chest.
Your weight plummeted so much after you were born that we had to go out and buy premature baby clothes. You steadily put on weight from then but you’re still small for your age now you are six.
Giving birth to you was not only a gift for me and your dad but also for your brother, who adores you. Having a little sister to love and care for has brought out qualities in him that are wonderful to see. From the early days when we taught him to dab you with a damp ball of cotton wool during your bath time, to now when he cuddles up with you on the sofa or plants a kiss on your nose at your classroom door, I am proud of the big brother he has become. Of course you are not perfect, you squabble and fall out like any other siblings but most of the time you are lovely together.
You took a while to start walking and when you finally did it wasn’t easy to find shoes for your tiny feet. But there has been no stopping you since you took your first steps. You’re a whirlwind of energy whether you are bouncing on a trampoline or pirouetting in your ballet class, and you swim like a little fish.
I am bowled over by your confidence. I was so impressed with how you took starting school in your stride and love the way you make new friends so easily.
Sometimes now you are six I notice how grown up you are becoming. I know that one day you will stop needing me in the way you need me now. You won’t want me washing and drying your hair or putting it into plaits. You will no longer sit on my knee to hear a bedtime story or run into my arms at school pick-up time. One day in the not too distant future I know you will be able to do these things for yourself or will be too embarrassed to show me any affection in public.
Thinking of this time makes me tearful but, although part of me doesn’t want it to happen, I know you’ll become a teenager and you’ll leave home. Although, probably not for a while what with property prices being what they are.
Until then I’m just going to enjoy you being six. I’m going to embrace the pink sparkly trainers, dance round the kitchen with you to Taylor Swift’s Shake It Off and share girlie chats over cappuccinos and babyccinos in Costa Coffee.
Happy birthday my beautiful girl now you are six.