This is mostly dedicated to Josie, currently waiting to follow little Rowan into one-dom, who is changing before my very eyes. There is so much about her that is the same but so much that is different; she rarely feeds through the day from me now, unless we are out but she has a (terrifying) controlling streak that means that although she’ll quite happily pick up a bottle or drink it in the car, at bedtimes i have to sit by her and hold it. Which makes for quite lovely sleep times, where we gaze into each others eyes after her feed from me and i watch her fall off to sleep just the same as when i feed her. She still finds having the side of her face stroked irresistably sleep inducing, i love that we have begun to find a balance that suits us both well. I love i have a little more time in the day, that she and Max get to snuggle up on the sofa for bottles, that nights are still easily do-able by feeding her myself. I love that she is doing it on her own terms and making her feelings felt, i love that i’m still going to be breast feeding one year on. I’ve never got this far, or anything close, before.
She took her first step in the Mosque, though she hasn’t repeated it, she stands ALL the time, she plays games with toys like a little child. She plays peek-a-boo around my laptop screen with me, she thinks it’s incredibly funny to try and get up the stairs and then look round to see who has noticed. Having only figured out rolling over in the last month, she is now the demon contortionist. She giggles hysterically, and sounds just like Amelie when she does. Her whole face lights up in smiles, she asks for “daddy” she approximates “hello” and she is, i’m convinced, saying “yes” and “Josie”. She does say “mum-mum-mum” but much less often. But she loves me to bits and it’s great to have that relationship with a child again; i had it with Maddy and i missed it with Amelie; she grew out of me very fast. Josie REALLY likes me. 😆 She has done wonders for my confidence in my mothering skills; i really feel i’ve got it completely right this time and that has impacted on my growth as a mother to all the others too.
Amelie is changing a lot – no baby left at all there now. She can type her name, recognises some letters, can count to 20, hold a conversation about anything she likes, knows what she’s interested in, considers herself a totally equal part of what is going on. And boy does she know her own mind. 😆 Still not convinced nursery is for her, but she seems to like it on her own terms and she has a whole heap of new friends. She informed me this morning that she is going to marry Ernest, after making me get out my wedding tiara for her to try on and said “Buttercup is my sister – for ALWAYS!!!!!” She has this collection of sisters that is very much a firm thing in her mind – a sort of Sisterhood of Terror i suspect. 😆
Maddy (oh my goodness do you realise how close that lot are getting to being 6??????) is the complete change this year though. I knew it was coming at HESFES, when she seemed stocky and anxious and within herself. I was worried for a bit, then suddenly clicked we were about to have a change, for good or bad and knew i just had to wait it out. Suddenly she’s got her “J-Lo” figure back and loves to dress herself up; she’s far more interested in clothes than Fran has ever been. She is growing out her fringe and carefully clips it up to one side every day. She is increasingly aware of her world and actively out to work it all out. She is a confident big sister, an able person around the house and more and more, she is a person with an adept set of social skills she has worked hard to acquire. She makes me very proud.
Unlike Fran (comparisons here only for their own sake rather than because i value one set over the other), she is keen to grow up, keen to read, keen to “do work”, keen to do things for herself. She is so the Montessori child i never got round to Monte-ing. She gets herself drinks, makes herself snacks, works out ways of doing things for herself. She relys on Fran quite a bit for some things (mainly putting on DVDs and following instructions) but otherwise she is really coming into the person she is going to be. At the end of the summer, with a few tears, she finally dumped her bottle of milk and decided she would have a glass of water instead. The effect of dumping milk has definitely been an improvement in her behaviour. I always knew it to be the case, though i don’t go a bundle on those things as a rule, but dumping her comfort bottle was a tough choice to make so we settled on limiting it. But with the bottle of milk has gone a lot of her introvertedness and also a good deal of the thumb sucking and twiddling; she rarely does either now, unless under stress. And with the bedtime drink going, she has started to conquer bedtime wetting too – for the last week or so she has not worn pull ups and we’ve only had the odd accident. Bravo Maddy.
Fran isn’t changing much at the moment; she is making slow but steady progress on reading but with considerable self-directed effort. She seems to be concentrating on other skills, not least computer and written ones. It’s all coming together slowly for her but in lots of other ways she is broadening a great deal. She slowly developing more outwardly confident social skills, widening friendships beyond those i know about or can guide. She has good friends at Brownies, Gym and HE groups – she still needs a tiny push if me or her sisters are about but she manages very well without them. I can hardly remember the terrified 3 year old that i knew couldn’t go to school; she isn’t who i imagined she’d be at 5 either. What i’ve got, it seems is a surprisingly self-complete little person who seems quite comfortable with her own company but can get what she needs or wants from any situation.
Her biggest achievements at the moment are physical ones; one handed cartwheels, handstands into forward rolls or crabs, walking on her hands – it’s endless. She sees something new at Gym and she works on it till she can do it. The skipping yesterday was a case in point; she wanted to be able to do 60 skips, she could only do 10. I’d have given up; 20 miutes later she had cracked it. I don’t know where this athletic little girl came from, but i’m delighted to see her. The motivation she has to master skills makes me enormously proud of her.