You are so excited about your birthday today and I love that with every year your awareness and anticipation builds. For the last couple of months we’ve had lots of conversations that start “when it’s my five birthday”, usually related to visions of a pink and white birthday cake that I’ve done my best to replicate, though you should know that while your mother can bake some very yummy cakes, decorating them is not her strong suit.
As I write this, Daddy has wrapped up your presents and made a very enticing pile of pink and purple on the floor in front of the play kitchen. Earlier today you told him that your presents would be on the table when you came down the next morning and he asked you where they would be least likely to be, your answer was the kitchen so that’s where they are. Somehow I don’t think it will take you long to find them, which is probably a good thing because this is your first birthday at school, and your first birthday where Mummy will be working so we’re going to have a busy day. You wanted to take a cake into school but it’s one of those moments where school just isn’t like nursery and the cake will have t stay at home; I hope they sing Happy Birthday to you anyway and you have a wonderful day.
So what are you like at five? Gorgeously funny, sweet, kind hearted, generous, quietly confident and at times a right pickle. You are so much fun to have around, and I love seeing where your imagination takes you when you’re playing let’s pretend with your brother and sister. At the moment you’re doing a lot of school role play, with you as the teacher and Elma as your willing pupil and I’ve got to see so much of your school day through watching it played out again at home.
Making up stories and songs is one of your favourite things to do and I love to hear your singing around the house, or answering a call for Mummy, only to find out it’s Mummies and Babies and you’re actually after your sister.
You love to paint, draw, colour, or just sit and rearrange coloured pencils and I think between you and your Daddy we’ve got every colour of every pencil ever made, we’ll definitely when it comes to pink anyway. It’s fun to see you following in his footsteps and to watch your drawing evolve; this year we all got arms and legs on our bodies and some very funky hair styles; I love my pineapple ponytails. Judging by the amount of art you’re already bringing home I think you’re spending a fair amount of time at the easel at school too, and I’m looking forward to seeing the impact school art classes has on your drawings at home.
This was the year that you learnt to ride a bike (with stabilisers) thanks to your Grandad’s ‘rescue and restore’ mission with a clutch of second hand bikes and scooters we don’t have much space at home for you to ride but you’re still gamely doing your three pedals and stop at home and you love it when we take the bikes to hockey so that you can ride up and down the path to the pitches at great speed. You’re pretty nifty on a scooter too; we borrowed two from the hotel on Friday night when we were in London for the MADs and took you scooting in Kensington Gardens which you loved. I had a go on a grown up one later that night and they’re not as easy as you make them look.
Your love of photography has only grown this year and your biggest treat is to be handed my big camera for a little play. In between taking your birthday portrait shots we swapped to put you behind the lens for a moment and so now we have a fabulous collection of photos of me jumping with a 5 balloon to match yours. There might just be something camera shaped going to make an appearance at the tea table today and I’m looking forward to seeing where this passion takes you and it’s the perfect excuse to spend lots of one on one time together.
this year as you’ve got taller and taller you’ve been able to help more and more in the kitchen, cooking the everyday meals with me as well as making cakes, though I know which one I prefer and judging by your enthusiasm for ‘licky scrapers’ I think I can hazard a guess at yours too. Your favourite food at the moment is sausages, possibly closely followed by fish and chips, but you’ve also added sushi and lots of sorts of noodles to the list, especially if it means you get to have a go at using chopsticks. Your favourite breakfasts are scrambled eggs and Mickey Mouse waffles, one of which you get a lot more frequently than the other.
And speaking of taller and taller, you’ve had another good handful of growth spurts this year; you’ve currently got size 13 feet and you’re wearing age 7-8 school uniform with 8-9 tights. The uniform has room to grow but you certainly aren’t drowning in it!
It feels a little too early to say what impact school is having on you, but I know that you were and still are so excited to go and I was so proud of you walking in confidently and setting in so quickly to somewhere that is completely new and full of strangers, even though I can see how tired you are when we come to pick you up and you’re sat curling your hair and sucking your thumb.
It’s the next step of you starting to stretch your wings and forge a path for yourself and it feels very logical in some ways. This has been the year in which you’ve started to explore what you can and can’t control in the world and at times it’s been tough. Being part of a family of five so often means putting the rest of the family ahead of what you want to do and we’ve been learning how to teach you that as much as you’ve been trying to figure it out through trial and error. Sometimes we’ve got it right and sometimes horribly wrong but on the whole I think we’re muddling through OK. It’s part and parcel of being the eldest my sweetheart; you get to do things first and you also get to be the first to do things, with all the learning curve that comes with it for both of us.
So as you leap into your sixth journey around the sun, what would I wish for you? I hope that you continue to love your school, that at the end of the year you run in with the same enthusiasm as on your first day, and that they get to know you and nourish your creativity and love of learning.
I hope your relationships with your brother and sister, and the three of you together grow from strength to strength, and that you continue to be three very best friends even now our daily life has changed with school and work, and I hope that we all get to spend lots of time together as a five.
I know that you are only going to grow in loveliness and confidence and I am always thankful that I have the privilege and the pleasure of being your Mummy.
And last but not least, I really really hope you like your cake, even if it might not quite look exactly like the one on Pinterest.
Happy Birthday darling girl