Today marks the first birthday of the year for our little family of five. Today Miss E turns four.
It is, of course, inevitable that I will say that time seems to have flown; there really is nothing like children to illustrate just quite how quickly time passes by, but it really does, and the last four years are no exception. In some ways, I think ‘why yes, of course she is four’ but then at the same time, as I heard Damian talk to her earlier this week about the hours leading up to her birth it seemed like just a moment ago she made that rather impatient and fast entrance to start her life.
E has been so excited to reach her birthday and, this year, she really understands the whole birthday thing. She is excited and has been busy counting down to her special day; keen to remind her older brother that it, very firmly is, her special day and hers alone. She hasn’t asked for much for her birthday, and I don’t think she really knows what she wants. I think this last year has seen her ‘discover’ the world of princesses and other things that are stereotypically ‘girly’ and whilst she has embraced this side of her personality she is still keen to get her hands dirty doing those things that are stereotypically ‘boyish’. She loves all things Paw Patrol and My Little Pony and she is a keen artist; she can often be found colouring or drawing or painting and her gifts from us reflect that this year as we have bought her some watercolour pencils and brushes. I hope they encourage her to explore this side a little more and help her develop new skills.
As I always say, it is inevitable she is compared to her older brother and I think that is fair to say that as much as she is his opposite they are also oh so similar and their bond remains as close as ever. She has that, perhaps unenviable, position of being the middle child, but I think it’s a position in which she thrives. She learns so much from D and it’s beautiful to see those moments when he explains things to her, or she seeks him out to help and assist her. She also dotes on H, and we joke that she thinks she is his mum. When he cries or shouts or generally wants a bit of attention she is up and keen to help him, soothing him with words of ‘there-there my baby’ and has been very supportive in his recent toilet training, walking him to the potty and sitting and reading to him.
She is definitely the crazy one of the family – much zanier than Damian and I and certainly on a different plain to her elder brother. She loves to jump and dance around and seems to just be able to catch a rhythm and move to it in a way that none of the rest of us can. She is righteous and, despite being teeny, will, quite strongly, stand up for herself when she feels wronged. She will shout and quite firmly make her point of view known. She is feisty and was most upset a few months back whilst we were in a park in Cardiff when she heard an older boy call her a baby. She protested that she, of course, was not a baby.
I think she will find a common ground with both her siblings and be that go between for them; H and D are quite different in personality at the moment and I think E and her natural empathy will smooth over any future disagreements. She is very much a peacemaker and often lets D ‘win’ at things as she knows it makes things easier. When Damian and I joke that Mummy is the best/Daddy is the best she loudly asserts that no, we are all the best at different things; her sense of fairness of equality coming to the fore. Although if you ask her what Damian and I are the best at she will tell you that Daddy is the best at changing light bulbs!
This last year has seen E grow in confidence, and her physical development has been really noticeable. She has extra gymnastics sessions each week and these focus on more of the technical skills of gymnastics. Both Damian and I notice a real change in her; her balance and her confidence have come on leaps and bounds and she very much enjoyed her first competition in which she won three medals. She was so pleased and it was lovely to see her take part. She also enjoys football and PE and her teacher has noted how she has really come on in both these groups in the last couple of months. She enjoys sports in a way that D doesn’t and she can pretty much get on with most of them; I think she will be like I was as a child and try and take part in plenty of sports.
She is, at times, a madam and will cry at the drop of a hat if she isn’t getting her own way, and when she comes into our room in the morning for a morning cuddle, she will soon start to moan that we aren’t getting up quick enough and that she’s ‘hungry again’. She can moan and whinge about the slightest of things, but she is just so lovely. She is gentle and kind and I love nothing more than those quiet Tuesday evening when me and her get some’girls’ time. She whispers that it’s just the girls and we read some books together, whilst she snuggles in for a cuddle. She has never craved the physical reassurance that D does and H to a lesser extent, but when she is sleepy or needs those reassuring hugs it’s lovley.
Happy Birthday Em, I hope you enjoy your day and your year of being four.