Dearest Elfie: my firstborn, the one who made me a mother. My closest ally, my harshest critic, my biggest diva ;)
It’s illuminating how different your relationship can be with your kids, how much their personalities and temperaments can vary despite having the same parents and upbringing. For example, I find that, as a snuggly cuddly boy, often Hux and I rub along in a very different way to Elfie, whose personality (and often her face) is the complete mirror of my own. Have you ever tried disagreeing with a duplicate of yourself? It’s a very interesting experience.
Elfie is SO me, it’s almost ridiculous. At the age of 7 she reads voraciously, has an intense sense of right and wrong and feels any injustices very deeply. Where we used to butt heads over our opinions often, I’ve learned ways we can be closer without having the odd cross word. Which is why solo Mummy and Elfie time has become very important, whether that’s a couple of hours for lunch and a mooch in the shops or a five minute cuddle on the sofa before bed. We both very much need and enjoy this time with one another.
She’s an emotional soul like her mummy, and at her precious age sometimes finds it difficult to express why or how she’s upset: I’ve had to learn how to coax sensitive information out of her, and work through it in a way that will leave her feeling happy and peaceful again. She’s going up to big school in September (we operate on a three-school system here), and she’s been oscillating between crazy excited – mostly crazy excited, to be fair – and slightly apprehensive. And I can understand why; going from a school of 30 to one of 400 is a huge deal, and is something I’ve had a couple of tears over myself in the last few weeks.
I know every mother says their kid is the most intelligent and special, but when it comes to Elfie it’s really true. She’s the brightest little spark I know, always asking questions, writing stories, creating art. She’s surprised me by being both an excellent mathematician and wordsmith (I couldn’t do mental arithmetic if you paid me), and loves to learn science, history and geography. She’s very emotionally smart, too, and is good at reading the subtleties in social situations and acting accordingly. In a nutshell, she’s more mentally developed than some of the grown-ups I know ;)
Despite me raising the children as gender-neutrally as I can, Elfie is 110% princess material. If I let her, she’d wear sparkly itchy polyester to school, to the supermarket, to bed… it’s enough that I can do to prise a wand out of her hands in bed so she can sleep without poking her own eye out. This year her birthday party was Princess-themed of course, and Elfie’s very talented Papa (my dad) made her clever cake. It was a beautiful party with her friends from school (girls only, natch), and fun was had by all. Mostly me, as we didn’t have it at home so the tidying up wasn’t down to me this time…
Elfie loves crafting, books and magazine and will read ANYTHING, which makes it really hard to send a non-PG text message if she’s hovering over my shoulder (*big sigh* “why are you saying the S word again, mummy” *eye roll*). She’s also big into running and has completed our local park run (a 5k) a number of times, though still whinges about doing school sports club.
Like most people in our house, Elfie is a brilliant eater and though she doesn’t like eating a lot at breakfast – which frustrates me no end – she makes up for it during the rest of the day. Her favourite food on the planet is smoked salmon (and has been for years), closely followed by pepperoni and ham. She’ll eat vegetables under duress, but then again I only eat broccoli to set an example… all salad, aside from cucumber, is a no-go.
She’s a true feminist and we love reading about strong women together. When I asked recently who her favourite female hero was she said “you, mummy” – I will take that with a big smile, thank you very much.
Her relationship with her brother is tempestuous at times (he is the archetypical ‘annoying younger brother’) but for every pinch or kick given there is the same amount of love and tenderness. One of the reasons why she’s wobbling about leaving her old school is because she’ll miss her brother: they’re truly close and I think them sharing a room has had such a positive impact on their relationship. I hope they’ll continue to grow up the mostly best of friends.
It’s so difficult to quantify the huge amount love you have for such a special person – a first born, a daughter, a friend. And one of my only wishes is that Elfie grows up knowing just how important and loved she is. Happy Birthday, Elfie.