Today, the baby of the family turned 11 and I can hardly believe it. It does not seem all that long ago that we were anxiously awaiting her birth. Little S seemed very reluctant to make her way into the world. 12 days overdue she had no birth plans of her own and eventually, having decided that this labour business was much too much work, she turned into a horizontal position and had to be delivered by emergency caesarean. Even then, having finally arrived safely, she made no cry but looked around at the full theatre as if to say, 'What's all the fuss about?' I remember the midwife looking at her wise little face and stating, 'This one's been here before'.
And that has been her way since. She is a character who takes her time and thinks carefully before planning her move. She watches the fools rush in and learns from their mistakes; she does not impatiently push herself forward but waits for the right moment. This child of ours radiates easy-going contentment and cannot abide disagreement. At our most recent parents' evening it was not the first time that a teacher has admitted that she did not know what she would do without S in the class; she keeps the peace and brings accord.
When she was a toddler she was very shy, frequently hiding behind my legs. This was a novelty as all of us have lots to say for ourselves and are quite happy to be the centre of attention! As she got older she quietly cultivated friendships and was never short of a playmate. When H was little, her toys were her audience but for S they needed to be cared for and she would gently wrap her dolls in blankets, her bedroom often doubling as a make-believe hospital.
|The capacity to fall asleep anywhere!|
She is our outdoors girl, off through the door in a t-shirt in all weathers. A hardy flower she can walk for miles, merrily ride her bike up the steepest of hills, climb trees, build dens... In many ways a tomboy but one who refuses to wear jeans and will happily wear wellies with a dress. She has the sweetest tooth and thinks jaffa cakes are a suitable breakfast. Her favourite tv programmes include Cake Boss and The Great British Bake-Off and her dream trip would be to Choccywoccydoodah rather than Disney World. It is no surprise that she is an accomplished baker and we love to test her creations.
|and she's off...|
|In the kitchen|
Often clumsy, she drops everything and has a tendency to fall over her own feet (as they are size 5 already that's maybe not surprising). She is also forgetful, mislaying her things continuously - coats, shoes, hairbands and I have lost count of the amount of school sweatshirts that have gone missing over the years. When she comes out from school at the end of the day she looks like a war-torn refugee or a street urchin, such is the dirt-smeared face, bruised and muddy knees and tattered uniform. She must be cajoled into the shower and then I can't get her out. You can hear her singing Taylor Swift songs, word-perfect, at the top of her voice from downstairs.
|Admiring the sunset from 'her' wall|
This is what we love about her - this tangle-mess girl, kindness in a muddy dress with her heart on both sleeves. Now 11 she's reached that in-between age: wants to stay up late but frightened of the dark, obsessively reading The Hunger Games trilogy but also secretly reading Little Grey Rabbit over and over. I see glimpses of the teenager, the young woman she'll become, and she often surprises me with her capable independence. But then in a moment she's that timid toddler, seeking reassurance and a 'huggle' (one of her own first words formed from hug and cuddle!) I'm hoping to have a few of those today and will savour each one. Happy Birthday sweet girl xx
|Opening birthday presents in bed this morning|
Linking up with The Monday Club over at Hello Wall