I’m a little late with this post, but for the first time pretty much since I started taking your portrait to mark your birthdays the weather refused to co-operate. The sunshine saved itself entirely for when we were out of the house and away from home and the only thing to do was to roll with it and wait for the gorgeous sunny evening that must eventually come. And so these pictures are of you at seven and a handful of days, but as only you are going to be particular about the days right now, I think they can still count as the portraits for this year for my not so little any more little girl.
At the weekend you stood next to a height chart and was easily over the 135cm mark and you’re wearing age 10-12 clothes and size 2 1/2 shoes so I think I might be the only one still calling you little. To everyone else you are a tall, strong, confident girl, even though we both know that there’s part of you that will always be my baby. As I’m writing this you’ve flitted in and out a couple of times asking for a hug and claiming that you can’t get to sleep, so yes, very much like your were as a baby.
I’m sure last year I felt that six was a big step up and away into your own personality, but it had nothing on seven. Last year you were in Kindergarten, later to be joined by your sister and with all three of you in various sections of the Early Years part of school I think it lulled us into a sense that we were still in those early days with all three of you; a sort of mental lowest common denominator that tells my brain that because your brother is three, all of my children are still tiny. Now you’ve started Class One and even in those few weeks I’ve seen you stretch out and away from us again, growing more and more into who you are and who you are going to be. Last Christmas we came to see your nativity ring time and you acted out your role as the star just beautifully, but you didn’t join in with any of the songs, and when we asked you if you’d forgotten the words you said that you just didn’t want anyone looking at you. Nine months later you have blossomed, and it has been lovely to see your confidence in your place within your class friends. Part of it is your natural development, and part of it is that you’ve found your school home.
And with that confidence has come the baffling mixture of old and young that is a seven year old. You can follow something really mature and sweet and loving with something so utterly daft that we just sit blinking at you like goldfish wondering what on earth happened.
On occasion you are very very seven, in much the same way that from time to time you were very very six, but that’s OK, you’re not meant to be an angel, you’re a child, and one who is learning her way in the world and within a family as much as we are learning parenting as we go along. For both of us it’s try to say that just when we think we’ve got things figured out, everything changes all over again, but on the whole I think we’re getting there.
And in other moments you are the loveliest part of being seven. After last year’s constant array of knock-knock jokes some of yours are actually genuinely funny now rather than simply very factual, and you love to make people laugh and to sing and dance and put on a show to tell us all about what you’ve been learning at school. My knowledge of German has nearly doubled and we can both knock out a mean rendition of heads, shoulders, knees and toes which I’m certain will be of deep practical application when we next travel in that direction.
In the last year you’ve started hockey training, a day I suspect your Daddy has been waiting for since you were born, and you’ve been so excited about training both at your old club and the new. You’re one of the littler ones at your new club, which makes your sister seem even dinkier, and your brother resolutely angry as he fumes from the sidelines at the unfairness of it all. He’d be with you in a heartbeat, and I love seeing the three of you race around our new back garden in pursuit of some game or other. I know you’ve started to move ahead of both of them, and it’s stretched the gap out again a little bit, but they still adore you, and you them, and few things give me more joy than seeing the three of you playing happily together, even if playing later turns out to have been a code word for mischief making.
I’ve said before how proud I am of you as a big sister, and while sometimes you wind your own siblings up a treat you are also very loving with them, and any other babies who happen to be in the vicinity. You met a vast array of aunts and uncles and first cousins once removed and second cousins and all the rest at a family party and you were just so sweet playing with the babies, just as you are with your own cousins. If you had a say in it I think there’d be a dozen little brothers and sisters (just for the record; not a chance), but you can cuddle your baby cousin all you want.
Recently you’ve been scootering and our running with your Daddy and for the weeks before your birthday you desperately wanted a skateboard, very possibly because one of your dearest friends has one. On your birthday you unwrapped a teeny tiny skateboard just the size for your fingers and you were so over the moon delighted with it it was just so sweet, and made it even more fun to give you a proper one as your final present. We’re going to have to get you some lessons because I haven’t a clue how to skateboard and your Daddy struggles to show you the little bits he knows on a smaller board but if you can master it you’ll never have any problems with your core strength and balance, and I know you have the tenacity to stick at it until you do.
If sport is something to do with Daddy, then time with me is all about the creative and crafty. You have all sorts of little projects on the go; from finger knitting a ball of rainbow yarn that your brother gave you for your birthday to sewing felt to make a picture for an embroidery hoop and half a dozen little felt and pipe cleaner creations that are scattered around the house. If it has coloured pens and glue and sprinkles and glitter and feathers it’s your kind of project and I love that when I asked your sister how her scalp came to be shimmering in the afternoon sunshine her immediate reaction was to tell me that you definitely didn’t do it. Hmmm.
I love that I can share so much of my love of making with you and there’s something very special about curling up together with our current projects for an afternoon of making and listening to Swallows & Amazons on audiobook. When you get to reading them for yourself you’ll realise how much I’m sitting on my hands to only download the first two of the twelve, but I want you to discover them for yourself for the first time, and then we’ll get the audiobooks when all three of you have caught up.
Above all my lovely girl, you are clever and courageous and kind. I am phenomenally proud of you, and blessed beyond measure to have you,
love Mummy x