Fran looked at least 7 today. Dressed in carefully chosen pink top and skirt, with her hair gripped at one side, moving through Sainsburys to find ingedients for the cake she wanted to make Granny, i saw glimpses of a girl i don’t know yet but who is arriving fast. having thought “oh please not yet” when a friend remarked on her own daughter’s changing body shape the other week, i looked at Fran splashing in the paddling pool today and realised rather a lot has changed since this time last year. She is not the half-outgrown toddler she was by any means. And almost more strangely, she knows it; suddenly she has more perception, more forethought, more of a sense of herself; i start to see that very shortly it will be inappropriate to share my every thought about her with the world – for one thing, she’ll be able to read them.
Maddy announced today that she is beginning to feel too big for nursery and that she is ready to “give it to Amelie” – she questioned me closely on what happens next for her. Maddy is the one who has really changed this year; not least physically. Amelie was wearing clothes yesterday that Maddy was wearing only a year ago – she has grown so much this year, no longer a shrimpy toddler either but a hefty, athletic built girl who is too big just to be lifted up out of harm or be sprawled all over me. That place has been taken by those who come behind her. This weekend she has awed me with her understanding of the world and her readiness to move forward. On Friday night we watched a hot air balloon over our house; Fran asked “how does it work” and Maddy replied “the fire makes it work.” Fran asked “how can they make it come down and Maddy replied “they have to stop the fire”. Something in the way she said it made it clear that she didn’t know it before but she looked and computed. The differences in them are so acute – Fran, fed with the information that hot air goes up and cool air goes down couldn’t translate that into useful information when i asked her how a bath would feel if you ran hot and cold into it – yet Maddy could say instantly that the bath might feel colder at the bottom. I watched Maddy watch E reading the other night; yesterday she came to me and said “E can read like Frances, i think that means i could do it too. I’m ready for you to help me learn”. She makes me so proud. I worry my heart out over her, but she makes me so proud. She has been writing herself sums and finding ways to work them out, listening to beginning and ending sounds and copying writing for all she is work. She is fascinated by the tiny and intricate. In many ways she seems to be reverting to the baby i once had in her, fascinated by the engineering of her life. In a way i think that as she gradually makes sense of the things she fought so hard to control, the real Maddy, the one i knew briefly before the world began to frighten her, is coming back. I feel so relieved, its only a few weeks since i feared we were reaching another crisis, but now i think its that we were at a gateway.
Amelie slept the clock round last night after falling asleep in the car at 6pm and slept, in my bed, curled around Josie, till 8.30 today. Her day has been much happier for it. She is still such a little girl but so bright and clever. All her 2 year old rage is disappearing fast and i don’t feel like i am fighting her anymore. She is a joy to be around, a slightly stubborn and noisy joy, but a joy. She adores Josie, can more than keep the big two to heel and thrives when we make a speical effort to give her real one to one time. Its been our main goal lately and its really worked. We watched her experiemnting the other night; she had a water toy with a colour change jacket and was carefully holding it under the hot and then cold tap, time after time after time. Its going to be one of those thngs i will always remember, like i spotted a tiny keyhole into the future girl. If Fran is my historian, and maddy my engineer, is Amelie the future scientist? Certainly she loves her Granny so maybe its a secret bond. 🙂 Not sure where it leaves Josie? Languages?
And as for Josie. What to say? She lay asleep in my arms tonight and i saw a glimpse of the emerging little girl, face rounder and more full of mischief (help!), hair beginning to take on a shape, in clothes, tired out from a day of beginning mobility. In just a couple of days (its that R’s influence) she has figured out how to tip from sitting to a half crawl and can rotate on her tummy and move about to get to new toys. She laughs in the funniest little grunts and i promise faithfully to remmeber the beautiful loving, laughing eyes she has for the rest of my life. As i lifted her tonight she flicked them open and awoke just enough to focus on my face. This beautiful expression of sheer delight and safety flitted across her face, it was really beautiful. its a bittersweet moment, my baby is becoming something else so fast, but it is amazing. She knows what she wants, she is beginning to do what she wants. This morning i woke up, lying on my front, to discover that she must have got bored waiting for me to wake up and had wriggled down and latched on for a drink for herself – i’ve never had a baby do that before! She holds her arms up to be carried, especially to daddy, knows her name, drinks juice, chomps on a rusk and wields power over all her sisters like the miniature princess she is.
I shan’t blog anything else tonight, its all mundane and boring anyway, i just thought it would make a nice change to celebrate these little people we made for who they are just at this moment in time.