Tomorrow my daughter will be eight. It seems extraordinary.
She is a great reader and a great talker. She has a terrific vocabulary. She doesn’t like ball sports but she likes walking and running. She still speaks French and her Irish is ok. Her handwriting is appalling. Her teacher describes it as like an extinct animal. However, she is a creative child and the house is full of diaries (usually abandoned after a frank description of the particular offence her parents have committed) and stories and art projects. She knows a lot of stuff – she loves National Geographic, Kids. We are training her up for University Challenge.
She often gets hysterical at bedtime which is tiresome but really, the only time when she acts like a little girl so, faintly appealing also. Her brothers worship the ground she walks on and will do anything she asks. She mostly treats them with cruel indifference.
Socially, she still struggles a little bit, but she is getting better at staying friends. She is always quite good at hitting it off initially but when friends come to our house, she is quite liable to disappear to her room to read which is, obviously, not terrific. We had her birthday party on Sunday and she really enjoyed it. This is the first time I can say this unequivocally. My husband found it excruciating, not just because birthday parties are, but also because it was the weekend of the neighbourhood clean up. He sits on the residents’ committee (you are not surprised, I expect) and saw his fellow members, who are elderly, picking up carefully on our street. 80 year old T waved to him while holding a black plastic bag. However, stern duty in the form of supervising 13 little girls called, and I wouldn’t let him out.
The Princess is a great cook. I am really quite proud of how she has mastered cooking. The fact that the page of Nigella Lawson’s “How to Eat” that covers cake now looks like this is a small price to pay.
Her baking skills are impressive. I close the kitchen door, she gets out the recipe book, she weighs and measures and mixes, calls me when it is time to put the cake in the oven and that is my only role. I hope eight will be the year she gets the hang of savoury food. Somewhat dismally, when I asked her what she would like for dinner as a special birthday treat, she instantly replied, “Domino’s Pizza”.
She loves the cat. She also loves dogs and small animals; though not dead mice which the cat occasionally presents to her. In fact, she is pretty dubious about blood and gore generally and becoming dubious about spiders and worms. I love spiders – they’re cute little things and very light. Ideal pets for small children. I digress.
She increasingly offers me hope that she will be a delightful adult. Happy birthday to the best girl in the world.