02 June 2016
Last week we celebrated the end of Alice's seventh year around the sun, a year packed with adventure and lots of unexpected happenings too. She wanted a party this year, last year we went camping as a family, and a few weeks before her birthday told me who we were to invite, it was a lengthy list six friends plus siblings we had fourteen extra people in our little house. It was the perfect occasion and it never felt that there were that many people around even when we squashed round the table for lunch. Luckily the rain that was forecast never arrived so much time was spent outdoors.
Like all the years in a child's life it has been one of big changes, it has felt to me like a transition time, a time when she is on the cusp between one world and another. These words, Alice, are for you.
You started the year not really knowing your numbers or any of your letters, you were frustrated by your, as you saw it, lack of drawing skills comparing yourself to yourself to Cameron who has a few years head start on you. Your preference was to play with one child at a time, you didn't like to play in big groups of children although you loved attending our groups you wanted one on one play even there. You were starting to look to me for help with your learning which caught me on the hop as Cameron was much older.
You mastered those numbers, slowly at first getting those dreaded teens wrong, they the wrong way round according to you and elevens and twelves those daft numbers that follow no logic were a little behind them. But as I got the measure of how you learn, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your patience, you mastered them, more than mastered them you were manipulating them within a few short weeks in ways that I would never have expected. It was a time that make me glad I had paused for thought when considering your education a few years earlier, school a greater possibility than for Cameron.
Excited by your number learning you wanted to try the letters too so we got started. I could soon see you were not ready and we quietly put that to rest until a few weeks ago when you started asking again, the time feels right now. I have created a entirely new project for us both to share and you are loving it, excited each day we work on it.
You haven't given up on that drawing, I am so glad, you have found your own style and tackle everything and anything without hesitation. I have always admired your tenacity you came close to giving up but I am so glad you didn't.
I love that when we are sharing books together you ask so many questions relating to the story. In fact your questions have taken on a new level, enquiry is at the heart of them. You are trying to make sense of the big wide world out there, with slow steps. I am here my love to hold your hand wherever it takes you.
You have made lots of new friends this year. Your best friend is the one you made first, one that I hope you are in touch with for many years and decades to come. You are both strong willed characters but you could play for hours and hours together and do, happily. You are both sad when you part. We started attending a new group, to us, just over a year ago so that we could meet children your age. You made one friend early on who you played with every week we were both there but you struggled when she wasn't. She wanted to join others and play in a group, you weren't sure. You were unsure how that kind of play worked, but you have got it sussed and now you have the confidence to join other groups of children at play even when you don't know them all.
You are moving away from me ever more. You have spent whole days at friends houses and two nights away from me on sleepovers. I thought it would a few more years before that happened but you have been so happy (and tired) when you returned that I know that you have really enjoyed yourself.
You are my outdoor child. You would spend each and every day outside all year round, this is one of the few bits of you that is like me. We have camped so much this year an activity which always makes you so happy. You especially loved our wild camping when we walked miles carrying everything we needed, your little legs taking you where we needed to be and loving every minute of it. You are so much more grounded and happy when you have had time outside.
And then right in the middle of your year round the sun you got ill, really ill. You are a healthy soul, bouncing back from any illness quickly most lasting no more than 36 hours. You rarely pick up coughs and colds. This was different and knocked you and me sideways. I hope that was a one off. I know that it has knocked you in more ways than one. It took us both a long time to really properly recover and there are still parts of us that haven't. I hope that time helps with that.
I am looking forward to your eighth year round the sun. I know that it is going to bring more adventures, I can't wait........
Happy Birthday my love.
Six, Five, Four, Three