You never know what day it is – the first sound I hear every morning is the light patter of your small bare feet, and the first words I hear are “Is it morning? What day is it today mummy?”
And if I say that it’s Saturday, you sometimes ask “Am I going to pre-school today mummy?” And maybe it’s the same for lots of four-year-olds; maybe I am comparing you to your big sister who always knew what day it was and what time it was and what we were doing that day.
I love that you don’t know the day or the month, and that you ask if it’s lunchtime soon after breakfast. I love that you ask me what we’re doing for the day just half an hour after I’ve explained it in great detail. I think it’s because you’re busy thinking about more important things. You don’t worry so much about facts and practicalities and logistics – that’s what parents are for.
I love that in other ways you are wise beyond your years. Like when you explain why your baby bother wants to be in my arms all the time – “it’s because he came from you mum”.
And when your big sister says that Corn Flakes make her feel better when she’s sick, and I say that toast makes me feel better and you say that love makes you feel better.
And when I joke “You have a very funny daddy! Where did you get him!” you reply “Eh, you married him mum”
And when I snap “Stop being so childish” at you and your sister, you answer “Eh mum, we are childs?” I can’t argue with that, or with anything you say. You are a natural winner-of-arguments.
Like when you ask me if you should put egg in your milk or milk in your egg, and I say “Neither!” – you respond with a cheeky grin and a “Well done mum, milk it is so!”
Or when you ask to leave the table, and I insist not yet, you come back with “thank you very much!” and hop off your chair to play, that knowing smile firmly in place.
You’ve been making us laugh since you first walked past with a bucket on your head as a two-year-old; putting on cartoon voices before you could talk; making up stories that leave your big sister enthralled. Like telling her that your pre-school teacher travels from Spain to Ireland every morning, on a plane, but not in a plane; she sits on the roof of the plane. “Really!” says Clara, “but what if she falls off?”. “She has a parachute” you deadpan, “and she only fell off one time but she didn’t land on stones”. That’s OK then.
Small things worry you greatly, like not getting to wave goodbye to your dad from your usual vantage point to the right of the front door, because the car is parked in a different spot in the drive-way. And bursts of tears over shoes and socks and tight-necked tops are a regular occurrence.
But big things don’t worry you. Starting pre-school with a whole new class for the second year in a row – you took it in your stride. Three months in, you still didn’t know the names of all your new friends but that’s OK; that’s up there with the days of the week. You’re too busy playing mermaids and fairies to worry about prosaic details like names.
You love climbing and jumping and gymnastics. You’re little and light, light as a feather, light as the fairies that you love so much.
I can’t quite capture you here; you’re a bundle of contradictions wrapped up in sunset curls and a knowing smile. As children, we wish for fairies, and now I have you.