Belatedly, i thought i should write something about Ams. Not that i’m allowed to call her Ams of course, as she’s the only one of my children who demands her full given name to be used, but she’s Ams in my head. She was Ams from the minute she pootled about, Ammi when she was tiny and i’m kind of sorry she won’t let me shorten her, because lovely as her name is, i tend to feel like i’m perpetually telling her off when i use it in full. But Amelie isn’t someone you can bend to your will, so it is probably best not to try.
All of my children are an interesting challenge in their own way, but Amelie has been a novelty, despite being 3rd, when we thought we knew it all. In fact, it’s fair to say that one of the main considerations for having Josie was Amelie’s personality. By the time she was 18 months old it was clear she was manipulative and in your face enough not to be a good candidate for being the youngest and we changed plans to stop, which we’d unwillingly come to, on that basis. We found ourselves with the most strong willed young lady so far and we didn’t know quite what to do about it.
Amelie at 18 months rarely slept, except half heartedly between us while we took it in turns to stroke cream into her little body, trying to keep the itching at bay. Amelie at 10 months had brought about weaning by biting me with intent. Amelie at 2 was already a competent playing child, and teaching her sisters to do so in fact. It is Amelie who led Fran into using things like Happy Street for games that involved proper setups, rather than sprinkling toys haphazardly everywhere. It was Amelie who initiated games that involved imagination and pattern to the play, while Fran learned and Maddy watched from the sidelines. It was Amelie who pushed Fran off top-spot as lead girl in every game that came from a Disney film, Amelie who appropriated Fran’s role as Dora. Amelie was the girl who demanded that roles be shared out and gave Maddy access to girl roles where she had previously played the boy or the sidekick.
Amelie was the child who gave Max and i the experience of hearing a child learn to talk; she babbled the way babies should, tried out words experimentally, put sentences together gradually and with a meaning that made sense to her. For the first time, 3 children in, we didn’t have a 2 year old screaming with frustration at us because she couldn’t communicate her needs. She learned normally and she gave us an experience of normal that had been complete missing from parenthood until then. I revelled in blogging her words as they emerged and i listened and watched with pleasure without the gutwrenching worry that had accompanied Maddy’s torturous development or Fran’s hospital-appointment-peppered toddlerhood. I loved her for her nothing-to-worry-about status, which possibly meant i didn’t react strongly enough to her eczema, but did accord us both some relief from the out of the ordinary.
Amelie is normal, albeit with a milk intolerance, but normal. She’s clever, she’s alert, she is in your face and demanding, but i love her normalness. I don’t have any issues to speak of with her birth, which was unlucky but positive, we got her through her eczema to a greater or lesser extent and we’ve brought her to a point where the young girl is beginning to emerge. I adore that she can go and get her own skin cream and put it on, i love that she’ll spot a unneccessarily red or sore patch and come and get “bug killing cream” and i love that she is learning to do her own inhalers. I love that in 6 months i’ve never once had to say “no, it has milk in it” and deal with a tantrum and that it is she who remembers and regulates herself and her food. I am so proud that she can acknowledge how much better she feels for cutting it out and make that choice for herself.
Amelie is cut in one of the 2 types that my children come in; she is most like Fran. I remember that Fran emerged from the last remnants of toddlerhood at about 4 1/2 and this interesting and interested girl slithered out into the world. Amelie tries our patience in way that the others never did. She’s a shocking whinger at times, still as manipulative and forceful as she ever was. She still pushes herself forward regardless of whether it is appropriate and howls like a banshee if she’s restrained. At times i see the baby and at other times i see the girl who rejected nursery with a coherent argument at age 3. Sometimes she is big, sometimes she is little. She rarely forgets anything, she can do so much of what her sisters can do. She sees herself as big, she crumbles because she’s little. Tiredness overtakes her, but her mind never stops running. She craves attention like Fran did, yet she knows exactly what to do with it when she gets it. She can play an audience however she wants; she has the most astonishing loyalty of any child i know, except the one who is equally loyal back. Of all my children, it is the 4 year old in my house who notices if i cry and comes to comfort me and the 4 year old who will always change sides and stand with the person who is getting overcome.
I do love my Amelie; we’ve had our ups and downs and i find it hard at times to see her with clear eyes but i love her even so. She tries me to the very edges of my patience and those are places i could regularly push her over the edge of with pleasure, but i haven’t done yet. This year will be our best yet i hope, she deserves so much more than she gets from me and i must make sure she gets it.
Happy being 4 Amelie, even if it is 2 weeks late.