As ever, as I sit down to write this, a day or two before Emma turns five, and it seems utterly bizarre to me that she is, in fact going to be five.
Five seems like a very definite age. Definitely no longer a baby or toddler and definitely beginning to seek those moments of independence. Most definitely a little girl now.
So, what can I say about Emma? Well, she is definitely a little girl now – a little girl who loves all things unicorns and princesses. I’m not entirely sure how that happened but this year has seen a real shift. She will always choose to wear a dress over jeans or leggings and a t-shirt. She enjoys unicorns and princesses and likes reading the traditional princess stories. She is equally happy getting stuck into messy jobs and is always happy to help Damian outside, clearing the garden and planting seeds. She will stay ‘on task’ for longer than her siblings and enjoys getting involved. She doesn’t mind what the job is – she just wants to get stuck in be it cleaning the car, clearing the garden or helping to make dinner.
What, I think is most notable about Em is her sensitive, compassionate side. She is very in-tune with people and their emotions – she can sense when we are upset and will come for a cuddle. When I have been under the weather she asks if I am OK and will come for a cuddle with me. She is remarkable with H, she truly is and I often sit in wonder at the way she instinctively goes to settle and comfort him. She will help him get dressed in the morning, helping him choose his clothes and put them on. When he is upset she will go to comfort him, helping him locate his fave teddy (Beach) or when she knows he is going to be spoken to by Damian or I she will gently warn him. She really is incredibly patient with him; sitting with him when he wants to do jigsaws, gently helping him find the right pieces of the more complex puzzles.
She also has a close bond to Daniel, and as much as they can annoy each other they also enjoy that closeness; missing each other when they are apart and revelling in joining their Spanish classes together and seeking reassurance from each other.
She still has a strong sense of justice and will fight for something she believes is right and just. I’ve watched her shout in anger and frustration when she’s felt wronged; balling her little fists up and stamping her foot whilst forcefully asserting her case. Sometimes I think the force of her emotions surprises her and she’ll often promptly hide her face as if embarrassed at the fuss she has caused. She is fascinated by the stories of people from the past and was utterly outraged when we touched on civil rights last month when we looked at Martin Luther King. She enjoys reading the short stories about people who have achieved remarkable things and I can see this will be a recurring theme over the coming year as she ventures into independent reading. I’m looking forward to exploring this with her.
Emma can sometimes lack confidence – and can (infuriatingly!) just stare at you – imploring you to read her mind to discover what is wrong. It can be hard at times and I am busy working on helping her improve her confidence. She is getting better and I am sure that this year she will feel more assured in herself. She is busy learning to read and is taking a much different route to her older brother. She doesn’t seem to enjoy learning to read in the same way he did; she’d much rather be practising maths or cuddling up next to me as I read aloud to her. I’m not concerned and know that when it clicks, she’ll be as vociferous a reader as her older brother is.
Emma enjoys her position as the only girl, I think, but will occasionally tell me that ‘our next baby will be a girl’ – perhaps she knows something Damian and I don’t! Last year I wrote that she didn’t seek the reassuring cuddles that her older and younger brothers do, and that has changed this year. Most Sunday’s, after she has eaten breakfast she sneaks back up to our bed to steal an extra cuddle with Damian. She will often ask if Damian is off work and certainly enjoys those moments with him when she can snuggle up to him. It’s easy to forget at times that she really is a little girl, a little girl still in need of a reassuring hug every now and then from Dad.
It seems like only a short while ago we were adjusting to life with two children and now she is very much a little girl, determined and persistent and a joyful mix of craziness in our little family.
Happy birthday little Emma – have a wonderful day.