The here and now and a bit of way back then

I relived my journey to 40 and found there's so much more to say

You’ll always be my baby

on August 20, 2015

I think I’ve been in denial about the significance of a child turning the Big Five.

#2 turned the Big Five today and I know she’s been looking forward to this day ever since her best friends started turning the Big Five as far back as last year. She has joined the ranks of being a Big Girl now. A role she will wholeheartedly embrace no doubt.

#2 has a knack of speaking things with absolute authority so that it sounds like it’s set in stone. There have been many occasions this past year where I have had friends ask me things that I’m meant to be doing which has been complete news to me. It has reached the point where I have just had to say, ‘Please do not believe a word she says’. Otherwise people would believe there’s a #4 on the way, we’re moving to Australia and getting a dog and that on our last holiday we too were going on holiday to Sri Lanka and would be meeting up with some friends there. I know this is typical behaviour of a child of this age but she is a very good storyteller and has an imagination worthy of their own storybooks.

If I thought that this last year has flown by for me, then the same can be said of how fast it has gone by since #2 was just turning four years old. In some ways this is no bad thing as there have been some moments I’m glad to have seen the back of. Mostly seen the back of.

What felt like months of full on tantrums that sprung from nowhere. Almost as if someone had suddenly turned up the volume to maximum with no warning and somehow the volume control got stuck there. No amount of cajoling, threatening, withholding of anything could snap #2 out of these depths of despair. Nothing. I didn’t like those moments very much. It was hard to overlook and ignore this behaviour because it was so intense and extreme that it had a profound effect on myself and #1 and 3. When one starts it will invariably set off the others. Quite often I can have hours of tag team meltdowns just because they can. It is exhausting and does not make parenting a joy. Yes I know there will be rough days like these but I can say from September to December last year, there were a lot of them.

Though more often than not, you don’t realise when the rough days are no longer rough days because we just enjoy the good days and only complain about the bad. These emotional outbursts became less so and the flow of family life leveled out to just the occasional spike of emotional meltdown that can be fairly attributed to a very tired #2. It seems #2 is not good when you wake her up after she’s fallen asleep in the car. It usually takes about 20 minutes for her to recover from being rudely awoken. I’m not surprised actually as I too am not keen on being woken up like so. Not keen at all.

It’s interesting how I’ve been told that #2 is very much the ‘Middle Child’. I had never even heard of ‘Middle Child Syndrome’ until the incubation of #3 was announced. Then suddenly there were predictions on the profound effect this would have on #2’s character. It becomes less of their natural character and more the character of birth ranking. It has been rather fascinating to consider. In some respects though, being made to be aware of this does make you more conscious of doing what you can to avoid some of the pitfalls highlighted to me. I can see how attention can be so easily drawn away from #2 because #1 has always led proceedings and #3 either needs more care or just uses her two year old ways to be heard. I have seen her unsure of how to get our attention and swaying between mimicking #3’s young ways to the full on meltdowns. Neither approach getting the results she would like.

But since Christmas I have seen a really big change in #2. There’s a real sense of self assurance about her. Like she knows her place and is becoming more confident in herself. She neither has to be like #1 or #3. She is happy being herself. As a parent this is so good to see. That even though there are three of you, you will always be you and you will be loved by us for it.

And I know that my #2 is one that needs a bit of reassurance from myself or Husband in new situations. And that is ok. I see that it’s ok if she doesn’t want to join in this time and that next time she will. Unlike #1 where I often will push him towards taking part because I know he will enjoy himself and he can often just be idle about getting involved, #2 is much more……..obstinate shall we say. Actually I think all three are. Must be the parents.

Equally, #2 has really surprised me with her maturity over big changes that I thought would have more of an effect on her than #1 and #3. She took the change completely in her stride and I was so not expecting it. She is very much like me when it comes to having a fear of all things free roaming animal. On our trip to the UK she practically climbed onto the top of my head to get away from a relative’s dogs. On the one hand I’m trying to reassure her the dog isn’t going to eat her but I know in the back of my head I’m only saying so because it’s my role to show no fear but secretly I am wondering if the dog is going to eat us.

For years #2 showed no interest in arts and crafts but this year she loves nothing more than to grab a sheet of paper, some pencils and colours and sit and draw from memory elaborate scenes with a story to tell. She has an aptitude for languages and has shown a keenness to learn Mandarin and at the same time speaks with an accent that would suggest she had grown up in the south of England. Lately one of the big things that #1 and 2 have found hilarious is the way I pronounce certain words. #2 has taken it upon herself to be official translator.

#1:  What’s a boooooaaaaat Mummy?

#2:  She means boat Olly.

Speaking of boats, a true rite of passage has been the fact she is now tall enough for the 106cm and above boat ride at the Singapore River Safari. That was an outing of great excitement after having been denied the experience for some 18 months. And now that’s she over the 106cm minimum height requirement, there is no stopping her. She is the perfect companion for Nana Moon to seek out high thrills and rides that go round and round, for I am no good at these.

When #2 laughs, she cackles and she is quite the joker with the comical faces she pulls all the time. As her relationship with #3 moves along, helped a whole lot by Frozen and the power of sisters, I can see a strong sisterly bond forming there. It’s funny watching them potter around role playing and pretending to be this and that and dressing up. And then there’s the reading and writing, both of which have come on in leaps and bounds in the last six months. She is so proud of being able to achieve these things herself now after watching #1 take the lead. She’s not competing but she’s just aware that she can do this herself.

At her last Parent Teacher Meeting at school, I was very happy to hear how much she loves learning and taking part in all activities. She has overcome her fear of school performances and all these Grown Ups staring at them singing and dancing and I loved hearing her practise the songs in the car everyday.

Can you see why I think I’ve been in denial about #2 turning the Big Five? Look at how much she’s grown this past year. I’m very proud of her. So proud. But the rate at which she’s learning and becoming independent can be a bittersweet moment too. She’s growing up and that is a wonderful thing. We will do all we can to guide her to be a strong, confident and compassionate young person.

But again, perhaps in the same vein like when #1 turned the Big Five and I was getting unexpectedly emotional about it, I feel that today I will give in to the emotions. 
Last night as we whooped and got ourselves in party mood for #2 turning the Big Five today, I asked her how old was she going to be tomorrow and she said ‘Five’ in a burst of excitement.

Then she adds “But I’ll always be your baby”.

That you will #2. You always will.

Happy 5th Birthday. xx

  

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One response to “You’ll always be my baby

  1. […] And every Birthday is special but Turning 5 is something else which I’ve already talked about for #1 in When a child is born and recently for #2 in You’ll always be my baby. […]

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