Kate turned seven. Simon also turned four, but that was back in November and along with the one year anniversary of this blog, I didn’t get to writing about it. Much. I’m not going to write about Simon or the blog but I am going to write about Kate. I don’t like Kate more than Simon (if it’s a competition, the blog beats both of them anyhow), it’s just that a lot of time is spent fussing over how awesome Simon is. Which he is. It’s nothing in particular, but he’s generally a favourite of people and people generally gush. Not so much about Kate. She’s equally awesome, but it’s quieter, more subtle, the kind of cool you have to get to know. Besides, Simon’s current shtick involving declarations that “he” decides everything, “not parents” suggests the kid could do with a little less air time. So happy belated birthday Simon. Whatever.
Kate was born early on a freezing January morning seven years ago. While a very well-behaved child, Kate does things her own way, and arriving on the living room floor after an unexpectedly speedy labour was just the beginning. Kate was a fitful, cranky baby who we couldn’t put down but no one else could hold – unless they wanted to hold a crying baby. Most people blamed me for her temperament (Marc changed diapers and took turns holding her which made him the kind of hero no woman can ever be for doing twice the work. Yea motherhood), which at the time I was too tired to address. Even though we are totally, absolutely, completely finished having children, I secretly harbour a desire to have one more, cranky baby. (Simon sucked too, our babies are cranky. Period). I want another cranky baby just so I can tell people to fuck off. No one would do it though because back then I’m pretty sure people could smell my fear and attacked knowing I was weak. I’m seasoned now, people would retreat. Okay that’s a pretty poor reason to have a kid, but this is my blog and I make the rules, so I’m going to realise my dream and give a great big retroactive “fuck off” to all the people who weren’t good to a new mum (whether it was me or someone else) when they should’ve been. You know who you are.
Ahem, sorry about that.
Kate transformed from a cranky-pants baby into a charming and insatiable little girl. Replete with uncanny humour and unwavering compassion, Kate’s untroubled manner is such a departure from her tumultuous baby-dom, I can’t help but think this, her childhood, is Kate’s way of saying “thank you.” Well thank YOU Kate, thank you for teaching me everyday what generosity and kindness looks like when it asks for nothing in return. Thank you for hugging me every time I see you in the hall at school, even when I’m distracted, my arms are full, and don’t realise how much a hug is just what I need. Thank you for the way your mind is always ticking with new ideas and explodes with stories and songs from your imagination. Thank you for the snuggles we get from you every morning when you climb sleepily into our bed, waiting for wakefulness to come while nestled next to us. Thank you for all the everythings and nothings, each day is a little bit better and fuller because you’re part of it.
It’s hard to imagine the wriggly baby, choking on tears, vomiting so violently it hit walls, has grown into a little girl who isn’t all that little anymore. She’s 7, which means nearly at the end of early childhood, on the brink of middle childhood, which gives way to adolescence and… let’s not talk about what happens next, this is too sentimental to talk about those likely dark days.
The impossibility of untangling you from my life, of even imagining life before you, is a sentiment I could barely conceive before becoming a parent. Quite frankly Kate, you’re awesome and I feel fortunate to witness it. Happy, happy birthday babes, here’s to many more…
… But I might wait a few years before I make bubble gum with five of your friends again.
And by way of my friend Paul, and because when I told Simon I wanted to play him a song about January he danced with me with his arms wrapped tight around my neck for the entire three minutes, and because when I put him down he said “that was a pretty song mummy”, and because that’s a true story – you should enjoy it too (and the entire album, but this is a good start).