Sometime this evening DH and I will have been parents for 11 years.
‘Sometime’ is the operative word. Our three girls were all born in the evening, one at 5-something, one at 6-something and one at 7-something. Years of mudane childcare and household chores have destroyed my ability to remember much beyond who needs what for school each day, so I’ve forgotten who arrived when. But if I had to put money on it, I’d guess at 6- something for DD1.
I was 2 weeks overdue with her and was going not-so-quietly out of my mind. When they offered me an induction I near enough bit their hands off; Christmas was a week away and I wanted my baby out.
DH didn’t drive so we took the bus to the hospital the evening before. They did the pessary thing which did nothing that night, or the next morning, so the next day I went up to have my waters broken. I can remember waddling around the endless hospital corridors, thoroughly fed up by now and hoping every twinge was the start of labour.
It wasn’t. An hour later the monitor showed nothing very exciting, so out came the Syntocin. It wasn’t so bad but the contractions came thick and fast very quickly and soon I was begging for an epidural. Just as well I had never had my sights set on non-medicalised, drug-free birth!
But it all went well and 4 hours later my baby girl arrived, weighing 10lbs 7 oz. We already knew the sex but her weight was a surprise; a scan a couple of days previously had suggested she would weigh around 8lbs at birth and there is no way she put on 2lbs in 2 days in utero.
The other shock was her hair. She had a good head of it, black and spiky!
Now 11 years later, she’s tall for her age standing 153cm or just over 5 ft. She’s skinny with it but on the brink of puberty all the same. Her next year will bring many firsts and it’s likely a bra will be one of them, along with braces for her teeth and the move to secondary school. These are things that I suspect that she will deal with better than her parents will.
She’s no longer really a child, but not yet a teenager. I dislike the term ‘tween’ but does suit her. She is in between so many things.
She can be very helpful with her brother and sisters when she feels like i,t but can be spectacularly unhelpful as well. It’s frightening how totally her mood can influence the whole family’s day. I don’t want to get into the habit of tiptoeing around her but I have learnt to pick my battles and not to aggravate her if I want peace and quiet. Sometimes it’s just not worth the trouble of being right!
Like many eldest children, DD1 complains that she has the tough time because of her place in the family. DH and I are also eldest children, so we do sympathise with this but we both think she has a pretty good life compared to our own childhoods, so we find it hard to take her complaints too seriously. We still need to acknowledge that she’s feeling hard done by though.
So, what are we doing to celebrate her 11 birthday? Not much really, as DD is off school ill today. She woke up with a temperature this morning, as did her little brother; DD3 has obviously been generously sharing her bugs around. We gave her her presents; a new camera, some books, scoobies, a deadly 60 trivia game, a crystal garden set and her very own email address and blog. She was quite happy with them but confessed to being disappointed that one of them wasn’t a phone, even though we’ve told her that she’s not getting a one until she finishes primary school. Hope springs eternal when you are 11 years old, apparently.
She’s still feeling pretty rough so this is DD’s Birthday face for this year. At least she has got looking pathetic down to a fine art.
Hopefully she’ll perk up a little this afternoon. We have cake for afternoon tea and she’s requested Chinese for dinner. She’ll have a party for a few of her friends later on in the week.
And once that’s over, I’ll be able to concentrate on the next date in our calendar; Christmas!
Happy Birthday to my first born. I love you very much but no, you are not getting a phone for Christmas either.