Well my darling eldest girl, here we are at six.
A sixth birthday for you, and six years of motherhood for me, and I don’t think I’ll ever quite believe that time has past as fast as it has.
We’re at the point now where you’ll be able to reach your memories of these days even when you’re grown up so I hope that you remember that for your sixth birthday you really really wanted Lego and a volcano cake. The Lego is sat in a box on the dinner table, waiting for the end of the week when you’ll have time to get stuck in and do some building. I love seeing what you make, you’re quite happy to make the build on the box first, and then play with it and incorporate it with your other bricks, so Cinderella can meet the Lego Friends girls for a cake at the cafe, after which they’ll slide down the side of Elsa’s palace and go for a ride in a yellow submarine. I love the mash ups and I find it fascinating how for you it’s all about the build. When you’ve made whatever it was that was in your imagination you’ll quite often happily hand it over to your sister for her to make up lengthy games about what all the different people are doing, while you set about making them a holiday house or a new garden.
And as for the volcano cake; well we co-opted a recipe for a bonfire cake (red velvet cake, matchmakers around the outside) and on my last trip to London I came across a packet of cake fireworks and if a cake has ever appeared more likely to erupt I’d like to see it.
Your school make a big fuss of birthdays; you wore a crown and served everyone birthday cake for little meal, your friends sang the birthday songs, and your teacher told the story of your milestones so far. You came home cherished and beaming, and very pleased to be six.
For a six year old you are still very tall, you wear age 10 clothes, and size 1.5 shoes and we haven’t even hit the growth spurt that will arrive when you do make it to ten. When we went to your friend’s birthday party at the weekend, a little boy whispered to his Mummy “look at that girl, I think she must be nine or ten” and even when we told him you were five I’m not convinced he believed us; you are after all, head and shoulders taller than that birthday girl, but as I suspect you won’t stop anywhere short of my 6’0″ you’d probably better get used to it.
The biggest milestone of the year in which you were five was the falling out of your two bottom teeth. The new adult teeth are already coming in and I suspect that the tooth fairy is going to be a big part of the year in which you are six. Hopefully there’ll be a time when the big bottom teeth are in but the top ones haven’t gone so that you can bite an apple properly again; I know you miss scooping one up to munch – like mother, like daughter.
You still paint and draw as much as ever, colouring in is your favourite way to switch off and chill out, and your colouring crayon collection seems to grow every time you and your Daddy visit an art shop; one of these days we will find that we do own one of every pink pencil crayon currently made. You love stories and books, and there’s nothing better than snuggling up with you to read another chapter of your latest favourite. It doesn’t happen too often, your little brother is only just at the stage where he’ll sit and follow the bedtime picture stories, but I cherish the time as much as you do.
You love to sing too; this year you learnt how to hold your own part in a round, well most of the time at least, and as harmony singing is one of my favourites, it’s wonderful to see your skill and confidence improve, and we both get a lot of fun out of it.
At the moment you’re trying to teach yourself how to do the monkey bars at school; every day you tell us “well I tried…” and I know that one day, and probably not too far away in the future, you’ll come home having absolutely nailed it. I don’t doubt that if you’ve set your mind to it, it’s going to happen.
All our plans to take these birthday portraits a few days early were scuppered by one thing and another, so we headed out after I finished work on the day itself to see what we could do with a slightly grey and overcast evening. Every single one of your sets of portraits have been taken in this park, and we know your favourite spots well enough by now. The contrast to taking pictures of your brother was huge; he ran around and I followed him with a camera, but you know what I’m doing, and you enjoy the treat of going out just the two of us to take pictures, and it’s so much easier now that you know what I’m asking you to do.
As a birthday treat the pictures themselves are a treat stored up for the future, after all, you know what you look like right now, and I think it’s the time together that I love the most, especially in a month where stupidly busy and not enough sleep doesn’t even begin to cover it.
You are just so much fun to be with; a loving big sister who will do anything for your little siblings, even if you’ll do it while also pushing every button they’ve got. You are chatty, and sweet, and clever and funny, all wrapped around a steely core of determination.
We love you more than you could ever possible imagine.