How is it going, my child? It feels like it has been awhile since I last tucked you in.
Apart from a small window in the morning in between showering, dressing up and breakfast, I haven’t seen much of you this week. When I finally got home, you are already fast asleep; an earthquake wouldn’t have woken you up.
I bet you didn’t even realized that I gave you big, fat smooches while you were sleeping. It takes a while to find your face as it is either covered with all of your hair or you’ve got Red Bear tucked into your sweet little face, making it impossible for me to find your cheeks. I ended up kissing close to your ears instead as it would take forever to sweep away all that hair.
You are a canvass of calmness when sleeping. I could watch you forever! (OK, I lied. I probably would fall asleep the moment I lay my head down).
We have missed our nightly chats again. I am bummed that I couldn’t read you your bedtime story and listening to your incessant chatters before tucking you in. I am so sorry for not being able to come home in time this week. I am so very sorry for not being able to spend a little more time with you before you go to bed because work beckoned. And, I am so terribly sorry that I can’t just get out of it.
Even this letter has been a little belated. I haven’t been able to round to it even though it is something I have been meaning to do for weeks. I have had a major presentation recently scheduled the day before your birthday, and because of that, we had to postpone your little birthday celebration with your friends because it would be just impossible for me to prepare anything for the guests this weekend.
Trust me, I couldn’t be any more annoyed.
Papa told me that you have been asking for me every day when he got home and that you have been a little upset when he told you that I have to work late. Your reaction, as he described, was classic with a “What! AGAIN!??” He also told me that you told him to ask me when I can stop working so late. It breaks my heart to hear…if only you know how I struggle to get home on time every day and the pressures to juggle it all. I just have to.
But, you have been nothing but understanding and forgiving, even though I know too well that you can’t wait to have your little party. You have been looking forward to your birthday a few months long now and you get really excited with every week that passed. Still, you said “It’s OK” (with a small pout) when I told you that we’d have to delay it for one week.
And for that, I thank you. I thank you for not throwing a temper-tantrum and demanding to have it your way. I thank you for your maturity at such a young age and I couldn’t feel more proud of how you handled the news.
You know we don’t forget the day of your birthday, no matter what day of the week it is. Your birthday has always fall on a weekday and on a school holiday. This means a full work day for us and no-friends day for you. It’s terrible, I know, but we always have had a short, small and intimate celebration at breakfast with a cupcake before we head out of the door to make up for it.
I’ll have to be honest that this breakfast cupcake thing started out as a parenting guilt, mainly because I didn’t have the time to get anything prep up for you. But somehow, this has become a tradition in the family. I think we’ll keep this cupcake for breakfast on the morning of birthdays. It’s kind of nice.
This year, your birthday fell on the last day of Summer School. We thought that we’d brought those mini-cupcakes for your friends as well. Unfortunately, it was not enough for everyone and your Papa had to go and buy more. When he was about to drop the extras off, he saw that all the kids were singing a birthday song for you while you stood in the center. Papa sent me a picture and I thought that the whole thing was really sweet!
Then I realised that you weren’t smiling. I guess you weren’t too impressed, huh.
We have come a long, long way my child. You and I. We both have bonded so much more than we first started out 5 years ago. So much more!
Remember those months when you rejected me? These days, you specifically ask for me.
Remember those months when you would never come to me first for anything? These days, you gladly would.
Remember those times when you wouldn’t even let me come near you, let alone hold you? These days, you come snuggle up next to me when I’m still sleeping and give me a hug and a kiss.
You still don’t like to be cuddled, and hugs are usually a touch-and-go for you. I wonder why you tend to find cuddling and hugging too uncomfortable and you are not shy to tell us so. Instead, you would prefer me to lie down next to you before you fall asleep rather than having my hand over your body. Same with lingering hugs, you just don’t tolerate those too much.
But that don’t matter to me. I’ll take any hugs and kisses you give.
Over these years, we see your personality evolved. From being an extremely difficult and strong-willed child, you suddenly have turned into this wonderful, sweetest and kindest being. Well, for most of the time. (But I’ll take that as well!).
I’ll hazard a guess that all the relevant disciplining and some tough-love have somewhat paid-off. It had to be done just because you have been quite really difficult to deal with and, all you needed was boundaries to be established with lots of persistent consistency.
Trust me when I say that I didn’t enjoy all that tough disciplining, but someone has gotta do it. Know that I have not loved you any less while at it.
You know what else I’m proud of and happy about? You finally stopped biting your nails! About bloody time, I’d say. I’m not sure what started all that nail biting. It got so bad that you were biting through the skins on your fingers till they bled. For a long, long time, you never needed your fingernails to be cut as you bit them off all. I bet if you can reach your toenails, you’d be biting them off too!
We tried everything we know – from taping all of your fingers to putting those nasty Bitex liquid on your hands; nothing seemed to work. Were you nervous? Were you anxious? And I know you tried hard to stop it; you told us so every time we told you off. In the end, a constant reminder of up to 100x a day, every day for the last 6 months somehow did the trick.
And one day, just like that, you stopped. Now your fingernails are growing back again and your fingers are looking so pretty. Imagine how pretty they look when you can put on some nail polish!
You make such a pleasant company these days too. Interacting with you is always fun. Your curiosity, innocence and sense of wonderment leave me in awe. I’m always tickled when you tell me that your “brains are not working” and had expressed some frustrations when you cannot quite articulate what you wanted to say.
Yes, you talk a lot. A LOT. You talked so much that you could go on talking for a full 5 minutes without taking a breath to stop. You are either rattling stuff off or asking questions after questions after questions, and sometimes, answering the questions yourself. How do you do that?
My ears hurt sometimes and my mouth tires from answering all the questions, especially so when I’m in need of a quiet moment (like for most of the time). Ahh! The peril of an introverted mother dominated by extroverts in the family. Please do have a little sympathy…my ears..well, they do need a break.
Apart from that, I see so much of me in you. Like it or not, apart from your extroversion (and not being able to roll your tongue) like your Papa, you are more like me. I see that streak of rebellion, that short-temperedness, that sheer will, and unfortunately, even that clumsiness. Oh boy! We’ll be in for one hell of a ride in your teenage years although that would be a while more. I’m not too sure where all that girliness comes from though, as that certainly ain’t from me!
The other day, you laughed your guts out when I told you that I’d like you to stay as you are now if I can and then I’ll keep you in a bottle so I can carry you in my pocket everyday like a little fairy. You also laughed at the silliest jokes I make, which by now I can’t quite remember what they were…but every time I hear that hearty laughter, my heart swells. It swells because it warms my mommy’s heart that I can make you laugh. I hope it will remain that way for a long time to come.
So. 5 years old now, are we? You are growing up to fast!!! I really want to keep you in my pocket! But that wouldn’t be right, would it? We all grow older, and as we grow older, we learn more things about life, about love. We make mistakes and we become wiser. And that’s a good thing. Naps are good too.
And I hope you’ll grow up to be one damn fine lady. Life will not be easy, but never give up. Be kind, be humble. Live your life with grit, for, it would be what sets you apart from everyone else. Learn to laugh at yourself. Do good things and be kind to yourself and to the animals. It’s OK to be average – life is not a race; it’s a blessing.
Happy, happy, happy birthday my darling, impy child. Let’s make the best memories out of your childhood -memories and life lessons that would shape you as a citizen of the world. You have a whole life ahead of you and I’ll be with you every step of the way. We will, forever be bonded.
Bedtime is still no later than 7 p.m. Please stop riling your brother up on purpose and taking his cars away from him.