Eleven years ago today, I gave birth to a heff of a child named Elsa. I was told throughout the pregnancy that she wasn’t going to be particularly large, probably smaller than Jude’s birth weight of 8lbs 11oz.
HA! Well, clearly Elsa was listening and took on the challenge because at her birth, a few days later than expected, she hit the scales at 9lbs 6oz. And just for added effect, she put on an extra 1lb in her first week. That’ll show them, won’t it!
Many a first
Elsa soon became my best friend and confidante when things were challenging with Jude. She was my first experience of “normal” parenting and my goodness it felt so easy. People’s reactions to her were so so SO different to those with Jude. It really hurt. And in many ways it felt (good) weird to do “normal” things with her and be treated just like everyone else. Pretty awful if you think about the two experiences of parenting for too long.
As she reached toddler-hood, Elsa’s independence flourished. I wasn’t allowed to help her with anything, which was quite convenient as Jude needed me a lot more.
Elsa insisted on trying to put her swimming costume on herself when she was meant to be asleep. She obviously crashed out mid-attempt. Also, does any child ever stay inside their sleeping bag?
I’m not sure what age I noticed it but pretty early on, Elsa became Jude’s biggest defender. Even now, god help anyone who says a bad word against her brother. She loves him so much. They argue, he winds her up and she yells at him but I guess that’s normal sibling life. I’ve seen her a few times literally stand in front of him when she feels a threat looming and it gives me confidence that when they’re all grown ups and I’m no longer around, Jude will be ok. Obviously with the additional back up of his younger sister, Jude is more than sorted!
Did you know…
So to commemorate Elsa’s eleventh birthday, here are eleven facts she’s helped me come up with:
- Elsa was born at 5.01am – exactly the same time as Jude. Weird, huh?
- We lived in Cambridgeshire at the time so she was born at Addenbrookes Hospital in Cambridge. Our midwife was a student and Elsa was her 20th baby. She was the loveliest lady! Her mentor was a very blunt and kind of scary South African midwife who has similar levels of empathy to me. I liked her a lot. She said it like it was. “There’s no time for an epidural Alice, you’ll just have to cope.”
- Elsa’s favourite subjects at school – PE and maths. She’s in various sports teams as well as the maths team for her year.
- She’s also a fantastic musician, when she can be bothered to practise. Her flute playing began at the age of 4 and last year she took up the bassoon. Ridiculous instrument really but her two years of persistent asking eventually paid off.
- Elsa was named after a lioness; the smallest and bravest of the three lion cubs. If you haven’t seen the film Born Free then you should 🙂 It’s based on a true story.
- Favourite colour – turquoise! Or just basically anything that isn’t pink.
- At the age of four (still at nursery), Elsa performed in a street dance show. Funniest thing I’ve ever seen! And because she was the youngest dancer, she was kind of centre stage. I couldn’t believe she actually got up and did it – so very brave for someone this young to dance in front of all those people on a real stage.
- Elsa met her idol, Alex Scott at the last Arsenal match of the season when she was five years old. I took her to see the Arsenal Ladies play and they had a competition to be in the team photo. Naturally, Elsa won. Again, because she was so young she got a lot of attention from the team and Alex put her arm round her for the formal photo. She was ecstatic! Sorry for the fuzzy picture…
- Elsa plans on living in Ibiza when she’s an adult. She also wants an apartment in Brooklyn. Needless to say I keep reminding Elsa to study hard if her ambitions are going to remain so expensive.
- Favourite book: Elsa hates reading. It’s like torture for her. BUT if the author is David Walliams then she’s all over it. Her other favourite book is called The tale of Despereux, written by Kate DiCamillo – it’s a really cute story about a french mouse.
- Plans for the next 12 months….Elsa says she hopes to get into the only secondary school she wants to go to (there’s literally no compromise in her eyes). She also wants to play more netball matches and go back to New York. Don’t we all, eh?!
Happy birthday my beautiful girl <3