A Love Letter To Elfie

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Apparently I’m unable to write about how much I love my little boy without going in to spasms of guilt that I haven’t done the same with Elfie. It’s true what they say, you know: you really never love one of your kids more than the other. You might like the one that doesn’t wake you up at 5.30am a little bit more sometimes (hey Hux, you were definitely my favourite this morning) but when your number one child punches you in the face you’ll soon switch your allegiance.

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Elfie’s at a funny stage. She’s working out that she’s her own little person with wants, needs and decision making abilities, and this has meant that she’s realised she can say NO. NO MUMMY I DON’T WANT TO. Why, Elfie? BECAUSE I DON’T WANT TO. Oh, ok. She’s headstrong, I’ll give her that, she knows her own mind and isn’t afraid to assert herself. That’s my girl.

She quite a lot of these wobbles, doesn’t want to go to see her dad, come home from her grannie’s house or get down from the shopping trolley. Refuses to eat her sweet potato chips that she very politely asked to accompany her sausages and her mother slaved over. She has a huge ‘thing’ about fireworks, can’t stand the sight or sound of them which made November 5th and the surrounding weeks a lot of fun. The tantrums that follow these wobbles can be catastrophic and I know my mum worries they are an after-effect of the divorce. Really though, I think they’re all an after-affect of being three and a half and a bit of a drama queen.

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Elfie and I, we have our moments where we clash. I’m convinced it’s because we’re just too similar; she’s a talker like me and will rabbit on for ages and ages and ages, chat chat chatty chat. About anything and everything, her friends at pre-school (Oliver, Ralph and William are her favourites), making sense of what she’s learned that day (“Mummy, where was I when Jesus was born?”), snitching on her brother (“MUMMY! Huxley’s DOING SOMETHING!”) or wanting to know in minute detail exactly what I’m doing. Whether I’m on the loo or cooking, she needs to know. Poo or wee? Flour or sugar? She’s a real bright spark though and has such an inquisitive nature, I’d rather her be this way and slightly irritating come 5pm than not care about what’s going on around her. Her need to question why I’m asking her to do stuff – whether it’s why she has to get strapped into her car seat or why she has to go to bed – is when we argue the most. Sometimes I run out of answers (or patience) and she simply won’t accept the fact that I don’t know. Which, now I think about it, is kind of cool. My daughter thinks I know everything… awesome.

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She also insisted on being a cat for three whole days over Halloween and I lost my rag (and whisker painting abilities) by the end of that period. There are only so many times I can wash black eyeliner out of pillowcases and not be annoyed.

Elfie adores pre-school and I’m delighted it’s suiting her so well. I made the decision to send her to a small village school three miles away and I’m really glad I did; her class is tiny and the key-workers are wonderful. They’re always off doing activities like digging up potatoes and cooking them for their snack (then making pictures with their muddy roots!), making lanterns or learning about what’s going on in the world. The knowledge she comes home with astounds me, whether it’s a new song she’s learned, a shape, or new words. Watching her learning is incredible and seeing how her education is already shaping her as a person is wonderful to see.

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She’s incredibly kind-hearted and is a big softie. Elf and I, as much as we get cross with each other we cuddle lots more. She likes to be snuggled when she’s feeling scared, unsure or tired and I’m always happy to oblige. I recently started mummy and Elfie’s special time so now she’s that bit older she goes to bed half an hour later than Hux. We spend the time on the sofa chatting about her day, reading books, watching Come Dine With Me and drinking milk. She’s been known to sneak into my bed once or twice (ahem) in the middle of the night which in theory sounds lovely but in practice means teeny toddler feet crawling up my back all night. And the 5.30am wakeups? UGH. As soon as this particular stage is over I’m convinced I’ll regain some sanity.

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We look out for each other. She asks me, mummy, will you always look after me? – yes Elfie, forever and ever and ever – and when she caught me snivveling over hormonal single parent guilt a couple of weeks ago she put her arm around me and said she’d always look after me too. Then she asked me if I was sad because I was all alone, which didn’t help so much, so thanks for that kiddo. It gave me a laugh all the same. If I do request a bit of privacy on the loo (very rare these days) she will stand outside the closed door shouting, “mummy, I’m here if you need me! Do you want a hand?”. It’s nice to feel looked after, even if it’s by a three year old.

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Elfreda Daphne (soon-to-be) Talbot-Harold you are the brightest little star and you don’t even know it. I hope when you grow up to be old (like you think your mum is) and read this you will know how much I love you.

19 Comments
  1. I love everything about this.

    Also… “The tantrums that follow these wobbles can be catastrophic and I know my mum worries they are an after-effect of the divorce.”

    As far as I know, I’m not divorced, and my 3.5yr old is Exactly. The. Same. So, while anecdote =/= data, I strongly suggest that being a threenager is being a threenager, regardless of your parents’ marital status!

  2. Flipping hell Alice you made me cry reading this, you guys are so special and loving and your relationship is so similar to mine and my eldest Oliver, it’s insane, the incessant questions and the unbreakable bond. You do have each other, always and forever, all of you. Keep doing an amazing job and vanish in every wash will get those eyeliner stains out of pillows (O likes to draw with my Mac 36 hour or whatver lipstick)-nightmare x

  3. Ah lovely post. Reading things like this I wished I blogged. I can definitely confirm that friends who are married still have the terrible tantrums as its the very same thing I’ve been worrying about lately even though we had them before we moved out and yes the cuddles are more frequent which is lovely xx

  4. for the 3 year old Alice, your Mummy would have wanted to blog just that and now that you have “grown up to be old” I hope you know Just how much I love you.

  5. Like Alex said, i’m not divorced either and my 3.25 year old is also very headstrong and to be honest often a complete pain in the arse!!
    Lovely post though, Elfie sounds like a proper little character. Oh and i love boat picture, it’s stunning of Elfie and her reflection and you look fab in the background!

  6. What a gorgeous post and I love how honest you have been about your relationship with Elfie, she sounds like such a character (and not that dissimilar from my incessantly chatty and questioning 2.5 year old…!) – love the fact that she stands outside the loo door saying she’s there for you if you need her! Hilarious!! xx

  7. Fab pics. I love your little conversations and so right about those little feet on your back in the middle of the night. I frogmarch my little mister straight back to bed after it gets too much.

    She’s beautiful and so is this post x

  8. *Sniff* BEAUTIFUL Alice. She is just gorgeous and sounds like a real little spark. I agree about the questions, F is around the same age as Elfie and going through the exact same thing. It’s exhausting but also quite entertaining sometimes!

  9. That is so very sweet, I have the same guilt. The baby is a baby – he’s sweet and doesn’t piss me off in the deep emotional sense that my daughter does (she’s almost 8, but with an attitude of a teenager), but my love for her is deep even though I rarely discuss it – I mean, it’s easy to call an 18-month old adorable and cute all the time, but an 8-year old? HA!

  10. What a lovely post to read. Your little lady sounds a bit like me when I was little. My mum said I wouldn’t settle with a short answer, I needed to know the full details of everything. I’ve not changed. It’s clear how much love you have your little girl.

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