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Three … can you believe it? Three

February 11, 2015

In the kerfuffle of the new year, she turned three.


three years old. I have a three year old. She must have been spirited in by storks or mythical gipsies … I’m sure last time I checked I had a baby, or was it a toddler … and now she’s three and a proper little girl. In actual fact a ‘proper little madam’ the description of Violet Elizabeth from Just William is fairly apt.

She fluctuates from wanting to be a ballerina to wanting to be a cow, from singing to painting, from dancing to jumping in puddles and landing on her bottom in the water in fits of giggles. She is full of empathy and love and is also very keen on her own way and her own ability to do everything. We’ve had the odd full on lying on the floor kicking kind of tantrum, and the unutterable despair which results in her holding her face in her hands and sobbing when the world ends because she didn’t pull the yoghurt lid completely off and I finished the job, or when she wanted to pick up the dropped fork and I selfishly did it… but all in all she’s an affable soul.

I’m greeted in the mornings, whatever the weather outside, with, “lovely day Mummy, time to get up and have milky”, or “hello YOU Mummy”, and then have to go through an elaborate ritual of greeting her current chums two stuffed toy rabbits.

Anyway, she’s three, and we celebrated in style … her Granby took her to the ballet, I went as the carer which was a little alarming; trying to keep an eye on H at the same time as pushing a wheelchair. I was a little apprehensive as to how she’d react to the whole experience, but she sat on my lap and stared in wonder at the stage, the toys dancing, the children under the Christmas tree and the naughty mice. In her mind, she was Clara up there dancing with her handsome Nutcracker. She didn’t wriggle or make a fuss, the only outburst, and that in a stage whisper, was “Look Clara dancing, Clara awake”, and other than that the odd muttering about the colours of the dresses the dancers were wearing. She absolutely loved it. She made friends with the cellist in the orchestra area infront of us and in the interval and at the end whirled, in the red taffeta dress she’d been given by a friend last year for her second birthday, and twirled and then was allowed to pull the bow across the cello strings.

That night, wearing the tutu one of her godmothers gave her for Christmas, she announced, “I’m a ballerina” … and she has been ever since.

We made her birthday cake together … the recipe a friend gave me a few years ago when she steered me through the massive challenge (for me) of making a sponge cake with a series of direct messages on Facebook. We didn’t have vanilla essence or lemon essence, so it was a lavender sponge instead… decorated with butterflies and sugar paper flowers … Nigella I’m not, but a whole lot of love went into that cake.

She had a party, a party in the woods, on a windy rainy day. It was one of those parties that I’d thought lots of people would be away for, but they weren’t, with only one exception, in the end everyone I’d invited turned up… several had said they were away, but people changed plans … and the little room in the stables in the woods was bursting with exuberant toddlers, bemused older siblings, squeaky younger ones and all their parents, and her Granby, who came and sat in state and watched the madness unfold infront of her.

Hope’s into singing in a big way, and also pass the parcel, so I decided to combine the two. We didn’t have forfeits, we had songs … when the music stopped … (ha … I say music … the talking was so so loud it totally swamped the music!), sometimes there were pieces of white paper with song titles written on them … she chose Sleeping Bunnies, Wind the Bobbin Up, If You’re Happy and you Know it and Twinkle Twinkle. It was fun, they all lay face down on the concrete slabs in amongst the wrapping paper then leapt gleefully to their feet and Hop, hop, hopped … happy times. Her cake, her big yellow cake, was bought in and everybody partook … and other than that they played with a myriad of coloured balls and a rainbow tunnel, and then all put on their wellies and thick coats and went back out into the wild dark woods leaving me and a handful of willing volunteers to restore the sanity of the stableblock!

Some of her God-siblings came home with us and they played more, she was beyond tired but was so happy to have small folk to play with, I sat with her Godfather and had a glass of wine, and we smiled proudly … I can still remember how emotional I felt a fair few years back now when he showed me his grainy scan picture and announced they were pregnant. Joe is now the big boy of the four of them and Hope adores him.

We slept … a little, she was so over excited, and we went to church on Sunday where she told everyone it was her birthday and generally had a jolly time skipping with her hands on her hips around the church hall.

In the afternoon we went to another party … a little girl 15 minutes younger than Hope … her mother and I had our cesareans in the same room one after the other. Her daughter was late, mine was early … they now go to the same playgroup and play together … mine is at the bottom of the centiles, hers at the top … they’re friends, as are we. This was a quiet party, only a handful of children in their house. The theme was bumblebees, the food was mainly a cake, a lovely bumbleebee hive cake which put mine to shame. The children danced and played games … Hope’s hand made / thrown together bumblebee costume came off quite quickly “itchy Mummy” and she danced around in her vest, a happy little bee.

That night we flopped! Oh and we made another cake … this time a blue one … and a bowl of green icing … for her actual birthday cake. You’d think I might get better at baking … I don’t, they’re consistently flat and not tempting, but I persist in persisting!! Hope chose the colours and enjoyed stirring, mixing and making … before we both got so tired we had to retire… well she did, and I stayed up with drooping eyelids and finished off a small green cake with yellow butterflies!

On the actual day, her birthday, we had a milky cuddly lay in and then go up and I painted her face … and she painted mine … both butterflies, both done with great care. She also decided she was having a baby and spent the morning with a small stuffed rabbit up the front of her top … when her father came round during a work break, she painted his face (it took a little persuading!) like a lion, whilst pregnant, and then we all shared green and blue cake…. he left pretending he was going to be a lion all day, which she was delighted about!

I then had a bath while the butterfly played with her Granby, they covered the sitting room in glitter and had a lovely time making cards (for me oddly), it was a happy and much needed peaceful time after the exuberance and chaos of the weekend!

She opened some of the incredible mountain of presents she’d been given, we played with a small friend of hers and shared a babyccino (top toddler treat of the moment), and then went to dancing class. She wore her tutu, and WAS Clara … she twirled and whirled and danced and skipped, hands firmly on hips, and show bowed at the end and joined in the mantra, “thank you for dancing”. The wonderful teacher had the class sing Happy Birthday to her and then kept her back for ten minutes and they danced alone together, Hope and her heroine … it was huge fun.

We had supper with Daddy … squid, noodles, duck and then ice cream, they did their jolly walk, and we all climbed up and down the stairs outside a few times … funny how family routines form!

Then we came home and I painted her face again, like a tiger this time, and we sat and looked at her new Flip Flap Farm book and had some quiet time with Granby before she headed happily up to her birthday bath, and the magic flannel … the flannel that has taken away all her face painting faces … the butterfly, the lion, the bicycles, the tiger and now the birthday tiger … I put it on her face and the pattern appears on the flannel and then when we waft it around in the water it washes away leaving only a faint trace … it’s really very peaceful.

Then we curled up together, “I’m three Mummy”, “my birthday”, and she had a milky banquet before snuggling down to sleep.

I’ve been totally overwhelmed by the love and kindness she’s been shown, but the huge generosity of friends and family, and the massive range of presents … nothing repeated at all and that’s with Christmas and Birthday … general themes around night clothes and dressing gowns, and making things, and so many lovely books. She’s a very lucky little soul to have such friends… and we now have the BIGGEST mountain of thank you cards to write!!

I write this a month or so after the day, she’s now 37 months old and has grown an inch and a half since her birthday … she knows she’s going to be four next birthday, and delights in sharing the date with everyone, but is equally delighted about Granby’s upcoming celebration and all the birthday parties she has coming up. “I sing happy birthday to EVERYONE”, my generous spirited, happy, thoughtful little soul … her energetic, open approach to life is inclusive and loving and I can’t wait to spend the next year with her, though I wish the time would slow down a little … it seems to be racing by.

dancing in the interval of the Nutcracker

dancing in the interval of the Nutcracker

party party party

party party party

sleeping bunnies at the party

sleeping bunnies at the party

buzzy bees

buzzy bees

two happy butterflies

we two happy butterflies

a green cake

a green cake

dancing class

dancing class

end of a happy day

end of a happy day


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