My little girl turns four tomorrow. Watching her change from chubby-cheeked toddler to proper little person over the last year has been an absolute delight. She is already so self-assured, confident and eloquent that it takes my breath away at times. She is totally adorable and, if it were possible, seems to be becoming more engaging daily.
Before I spend too much time waxing lyrical about the wonder that is my M, I must just state that I adore all my children equally. And I’m not just saying that because it is what Mums are supposed to say. I really do. Heaven knows, some of my kids have been more challenging and harder to love than others at times. But I do actually feel the same depth of love for each of them, which I admit was quite a surprise to me at first. I worried when I was pregnant with my second that I would have a favourite, that there wouldn’t be enough love for more than one. But I needn’t have been concerned. That deep mother’s love is, incredibly, replicated time and again. There is no love limit, it seems.
That said, I have to admit that, had I not had my little girl, I would have felt that there was a gap in the perfect picture of what my family should be. I have such a wonderful and deep relationship with my mother that I simply couldn’t fathom not being able to replicate that with my own daughter. My boys are just amazing and have an incredible energy which I relish and would like to be able to bottle, but there is just something between me and my M.
We just get each other. We get the giggles together. We exchange looks about the boys, and indeed about my husband. We think in the same way and like the same things (although her version is usually pink and covered in glitter). Watching her try to understand the world reminds me so much of how I was at her age. It takes me back to my own girlhood and warms my heart.
I’ve always cherished my relationships with the special girls in my life. In the same way that I cannot imagine life without that connection with my sister, Mum and favourite girl friends, I now cannot imagine not having that other little but powerful female force in the house. She is my special girl companion, amidst all the crazy testosterone-fuelled boys.
M certainly isn’t an angel and we have plenty of run-ins, although she is generally pretty reasonable and rarely goes into a blind rage like her brothers. But she is strong-willed and very bright, which can lead to conflict with her big brother. She knows how to wind him up and, whilst generally being pretty accommodating and very kind, she also likes to outshine him when she can.
M has known all her numbers and letters for some time now and she shows a genuine interest and enthusiasm for learning, something H really never had before he started school (and even now it can be patchy). She is already leagues ahead of where he was when school began, and she still has seven months to go. Much of this is boy vs girl, I think, but after having a boy I have to light a fire under to get him to do his homework, I am really enjoying watching her love of learning unfold.
M drinks in the fascinating world around her and retains information in a way that often surprises me. OK, so sometimes she misinterprets – last winter she told me squirrels store acorns up their bottoms and poo them out when they are hungry – but she works things out, she thinks ahead, she calculates.
M has already planned how she will live when she is grown up (rainbow house, pink car, job for charity – like Mummy) and yes, it lacks any real understanding of how life in the future will really be, but she understands that it is coming. H cannot compute far beyond the now and freaks out at the prospect that we may not always all live together as a family in the same house, as we do now.
Her maturity of thinking is striking and often catches me off guard. I don’t always have pre-prepared answers for the big questions she asks me, that I have yet to hear from her big brother.
But, despite all this maturity, she is still my little girl. She had her birthday party today in a soft play cafe, ran around squealing and stuffed her face with cake. She can be relentlessly annoying, appallingly disgusting and extremely loud, just like any kid of her age. But she also has a little special something. Like is said, we just get each other.
She is tucked up in bed now, post party and post sugar rush, looking utterly adorable. Watching her sleeping peacefully, I am reminded how very lucky I am to be able to watch her learn and grow.
Happy Birthday, my little M.