To my littlest girl, admittedly a bit belatedly.
And now you are five. You have in fact, at the time of writing, been five for nearly a whole month but I know that you’ll forgive me both for not managing to write about you in the same month as your birthday, and for not managing to take your portraits while your giant gold five balloon still had some puff in it. Next year we’ll do better, I promise.
As I sit here in the snug of our new house, lit by fairy lights, you’re asleep (I hope) almost immediately above my head, tucked up in the bottom of the bunks which you share with your sister. You love your bunk beds, and your sister, though on occasion I think the bunks might win out. You’re sharing a room here in our new house just as you were before, only this time you’ve got double the space and it’s given the pair of you room to spread out a bit and have a real say in how we arrange your room, rather than just us putting the furniture wherever it would fit. We’ve set you both up with your own desks and I love seeing the little bits and pieces you create; when we wrote thank you cards for your birthday presents you made a tiny coloured picture as a present to go in each any every one, and I treasure all the little snippets tucked into my handbag as I head out to work.
Your creativity spills over into your dancing too; you were absolutely obsessed with Strictly this year and cried actual genuine inconsolable tears when Debbie lost to Joe. Every n0w and then you just decide that it’s time to dance and start whirling away to the tunes in your head. You’ll dance to any music that’s going, especially if you can persuade the rest of us to join in – and we’ll always want to join in. You, more than any of my children, have the ability to be completely lost in your own little world, and your Dora-Daisy nickname came about from so many moments of calling your name and knowing that even though you were standing next to me, you couldn’t hear a word I was saying for wondering whether all crowns were gold or whether there’d be peas for dinner.
You’ve always been my storyteller and that’s only increased this year; you make up such imaginative stories for your Lego people and your animals and your teddies that I’d love to be going on adventures with them, and I’ve found myself lingering outside your door more than once, not wanting to interrupt you, but unable to tear myself away.
This year’s cross country move was the biggest change of your life, let alone just this year, and though you’re not usually very happy with the idea of change, you took it all in your stride, settling into tent life without too much trouble (I suspect that the presence of your much adored Auntie and Uncle, the swimming pool and the strawberry fields helped just a bit with that one) and then running into our house as if it had always been home. You’ve loved being nearer to school and to all your friends, and we’ve loved having them over to play and hosting your second ever birthday party, now that we’ve got the room for more than just the one friend. This house has given us all the space that we hadn’t known we needed and you make the most of it, I can usually find some evidence of your trail through the house in just about every room.
You are an incredibly loving little girl, and you have a cuddle for anyone who seems a bit down, and you’re so kind with it, you would never see anyone sad without trying to fix it, and you’ll happily hand over stickers or chips or whatever your brother might want to make him happy, and he adores you in turn. Some of my favourite memories of this year have been my time spent just with you, either because you’re the first awake, or the others are off on their own sort of mischief, and we can cuddle up to chat, or sit and draw together. You are very much Daddy’s little girl, so I take my chances when I can get them.
Compared to your brother and sister you’re still the dinky one – you now have the same size feet as your brother and there’s not a lot between you in inches; he’s all muscle whereas you’re more of a ninja warrior, hidden strength and pointy elbows. You’re actually still well above average height, and I suspect you’ll end up tall compared to the UK average, but the only member of our family under 6′.
On your last birthday you were still in Nursery and one of the biggest changes for you this year was the big move across the corridor to Kindergarten; you loved the term you shared with your sister, but now that she’s moved up to the Lower School it’s been wonderful to watch you step out of her shadow and take your own place within the class. You’re a most determined little soul, and I know that your teachers have seen that strong will come through, in all the good ways, and, I suspect, on a few occasions where they’d rather you’d done what they asked.
It’s very much the same at home; there are times when remind myself that what is challenging in a little girl, is exactly the characteristic that means that you will never be easily led as an adult, and there are times when your determination to master something sees you keep at it long after your brother and sister have wandered off. You love wholeheartedly and fiercely, and in an ideal world you would have every single family member living at our house all of the time just so that you can hug them all repeatedly. You are definitely a people person; happiest whenever there is someone to chat to and to hug. Earlier this year we went up to school at the weekend for a fundraising science fair and it was so sweet to see your friends rush over to claim you, and to watch your little group go exploring around the hall. When I was little I was never right at the heart of all goings on, and quite happy in that position, so I love watching you dive headfirst into your social life just as much as it baffles me.
But above all you are funny and sweet and our pride and joy and a blessing in all our lives.
We love you little one; enjoy your sixth trip around the sun.