It feels so normal that you are eleven today. Yet at the same time my heart is racing to catch up with my brain as it struggles to believe that it was not just yesterday when you were placed into my arms, all 2.7kg of your perfectly formed anatomy. For how could it be that eleven years have passed when I so vividly recall every single moment of that afternoon. So many of the little things flood my memory bank like texting a friend to say I had to postpone our coffee catch up as I had gone into labour. The sight of your grandmother crying when she first held you. The midwife bringing me a toasted cheese sandwich as I held you in my arms.

Today you are eleven. Some days going on twenty…and some days going on two. Some days the old soul that lives inside you shows a deep understanding of the world, with a perceptive maturity that belies your young age. And other days that stubborn part of your personality marks its territory and refuses to budge, digging a deeper and deeper hole that you know, but would never dare admit, is impossible to escape. Evie, you have shown me that motherhood is an exhilarating adventure not intended for the faint hearted or those that don’t like to deal with impossible challenges. And I have a sneaky suspicion that I have many more provocations to deal with in the not too distant future. But I also know that my love for you ultimately does not have barriers. It will jump hurdles, leap fences and penetrate walls to do whatever it takes. As thats the thing about the love a mother has for her child, it always overcomes anything to win.

A few weeks ago you asked me for a piggy back to bed. And boy were you heavy! It reminded me that the days of me carrying you in any way on my body are pretty much gone. So are the days of you holding my hand when we cross the street, or begrudgingly letting me kiss you goodbye at the school gate. And whilst I unwillingly accept that the days of you cuddling on my lap may soon be gone too, you will never ever outgrow my heart.

I foresee tumultuous times in the year ahead as you embark on early teenagehood and I embark on being a mother to a young woman. There will no doubt be countless moments when you will push me away, not willing to engage at all. I foresee a year where most forms of communication from you will be in the form of eye rolls, hisses and sighs….that is even if there is communication at all!  But today I write this birthday blog for a different day in the future. For a day sometime in a long while when the resistance has (hopefully) passed and the rebellious teenage years have been tempered by life experience (both yours as a child and mine as a mother). A day when we can come back together and celebrate and remember all that you were at the age of ten. And who knows, if I am lucky enough you may even sit on my lap once more.

Once a dancer…always a dancer

Your love of dancing shows no sign of abating. Not even a pandemic could hold you back. Whilst everything was cancelled this year…the studio classes, competitions, ballet exams…. you persevered and dug deep to motivate yourself during online zoom classes and practising your solo routines every weekend in whatever space you could find. There were plenty moments where the CBF part of your personality came through, but that’s totally understandable in a year like the one you have had.  Deep down you believed that the day would come when you will be back on that stage and you stuck at it week in week out, which takes sheer grit and determination.

Last year, just a couple of weeks after you turned ten, you performed in your end of your dance school concert. You won the award for the most improved dancer in your entire dance school and boy did you deserve it. After you won the award, I received this heartfelt message from Kim Factor (head of the dance school), which says everything about your love for dancing.

Evie 1000% deserves that award, it was the easiest most natural decision for all of us teachers this year. We have seen such a huge growth in her dancing and she is such a quiet achiever who works her very best in every class. She is such a pleasure to teach and I am loving watch her develop and grow each year into the beautiful dancer she is!!

Menu maker

Pretend play has been a huge part of your life growing up. Whether that was with your dolls or creating something out of an old cardboard box, I remember when you would spend hours in a make believe world. As you have got older, your play has progressed from an intangible world of your imagination to the digital realms of apps and games on your iPad. But occasionally there are glimpses of a world without devices. Like when you create menus for your restaurant and serve your dad and I a home made meal. Or cross out my weekly meal plan and add your own meal suggestions. And on a very rare occasion, you will live the famous American Express ad, which shows the child having more fun with the box than the actual toy. Such as the day you made a vending machine out of a large cardboard box, complete with a change dispenser, images of items to buy and accompanied by hours and hours of childhood play.

Mini master chef

You jumped on the #coronacooking bandwagon this year with full force and many a day took over the kitchen with your creations. Whether that was your school kitchen class during digital Bialik, or painstakingly preparing the biggest mothers day cake for me, you have gained important life skills from menu planning, budgeting, shopping, preparation, cooking and of course cleaning up. And whilst you often think that you and I are nothing alike, one things is for sure, we both love paging through the Coles and Woolies magazines to choose recipes to make (you choosing those with the most chocolate, always!) and we both love photographing our food.

Your alter ego

Just when I think it’s time to get rid of the chest of dress ups and crazy costumes, you will come out wearing some crazy outfit. And occasionally you and Jake will raid our cupboards and I hear the two of you in fits of laughter and I dare not venture into the room, for fear of breaking that unique spell when the two of you are actually revelling in each other’s company (a rather rare occasion at this stage of your lives).

You love him… love him not

Speaking of your one and only brother (your human one that is), as I write this blog post I want to forget about the days of you screeching Jake’s name in exasperation or screaming at him to get out your room. Instead, I want to remember how you painstakingly created, printed, cut out and strung together a happy birthday sign for him a few months ago. When I think of the two of you from this year gone by, I want to recall the times I would frequently discover hundreds of the same selfie photos of you and him on my phone. I want to picture the two of you sitting side by side on the teeny weeny kids chairs that you have both long ago outgrown, and how you compared notes in the “book about me” that you both wrote when you were six years old.

Your canine soul mate

For as long as Cino is alive, and for as long as I keep writing these annual birthday blog posts, your relationship with him will always get a mention. Your love for him has no bounds and grows bigger and deeper every year. When I ask you if you want to play a game with me, the response is always “let’s play cuddle Cino”. I hope he knows how lucky he is to have your completely devoted and unconditional love that you shower upon him, for it is the purest kind there is.

Shhhhhh… really do love reading

You will never admit it, and will vehemently deny that you love reading, but you really really do. And I could not be happier. To lose oneself in the pages of a book is to elevate your mind into other worlds and one of life’s greatest experiences. Some nights you climb into bed with daddy and I and we read together. This is one of those memories that will be with me for a lifetime.

Braids then curls

This was the year of me braiding your hair. Always to be followed by cascading curls once removed.

Bribery and corruption

Earlier this year, the moaning and complaining from you reached such a high level, that I resorted to bribery just to get it to stop! You really did try very hard….nothing like a reward of Robux money to get you to stop moaning.

A strong work ethic and financial intelligence

I am really pleased to see the number of times you have been prepared to do extra jobs around the house to earn money to buy something you desire. Like cleaning the car for $5 or making lolly bags to sell at Central Park. And just recently, you really impressed your dad and I when you took it upon yourself to spend hours researching all the school items you need for next year to find the cheapest way to buy the stationery, rather than just going with the convenient option that the school provided. It wasn’t just the money you saved that was the benefit. What was far more beneficial is the thought process, analysis and effort you put into finding the best price and making an informed decision between different products on offer. It’s an important life skill that will stand you in such good stead in the future.

Make believe play along

You may no longer believe that the tooth fairy flies into your room in the middle of the night to take your tooth and give you a coin (or a few if you are lucky), but at least you are still willing to play along. This year you lost your final baby tooth and I guess that means even the mummy tooth fairy games have come to an end.

That infectious giggle

Your giggle is all encompassing and you laugh with your entire being. For your pops to hear you laugh has been his favourite thing in the world since you were little. Sometimes it feels like we go through too long a period in between these full body giggles, and I prey and hope that I will always hear you laugh with such enthusiastic happiness.

Friends before family

Like most teenagers, you adore and love your friends often more than your family. I bet you have many a day where you feel your friends care about you more than  your parents. I get it, I remember feeling the exact same way at your age. And I am grateful that you have such good friends in your life. Your friendship circles will continue to change and have their own bumps and challenges along the journey of life. But they are an important anchor in your world, so always treasure and nurture them, as they will be your shining light on dark days and your partners in crime for life’s adventures.

Extra stress during covid

You will always remember this year of living through corona virus and hopefully that is not going to be the main memory of when you were ten years old. But its sure was a challenging year. And made even more so by the chronic abdominal pain you experienced for months without a diagnosis. You were a real trooper…from waking in the night with severe pain, to enduring needles in your abdomen in case it was nerve pain (nope, it was not), to overnight hospital visits and eventually a double scope where we finally got a diagnosis of duodenitis. Evie, there is nothing worse for a parent than seeing their child in pain and being helpless to take the pain away. I am beyond relieved that we seem to be at the end of this episode, thanks to the appropriate medication and treatment.

Recipe magazines and catalogues

Just like your mum, you love paging through the monthly Coles and Woolies magazines to find interesting recipes. The one key difference though is you always want to make the super sweet, super chocolaty recipes that sound delicious and look beautiful in a magazine but often don’t taste that way. You have also been quite diligent at paging through the catalogues and calculating how much these desired recipes will actually cost. Nothing like putting maths skills into real life and then being shocked at the true cost of some of these recipes.

Whiteboard notes

I never know what new message my be waiting for me on the whiteboard in our pantry. But I do know that I will always get a chuckle from reading the messages, especially the ones where you claim that Jake has written the message, even though it is so clearly you.

The year of the scrunchie

Hair scrunchies have been a big feature of your tenth year of life, your bathroom is filled with them. It’s funny as a parent to see some fashion trends that seem to stand the test of time, for I too used to wear scrunchies all the time at your age.

Evie’s favourite things

In April 2020, you created this list of your favourite things. One day you will look back in wonder at what your ten year old self chose as your top favourite things.

The selfie era

Yip, the “selfie-with-the-tongue-sticking-out” and “pull-your-cheeks-in-selfie ” stage has truly set in….say no more!

There are hundreds of other deliberate, conscious memories that will stand out from this year. It’s the short little memory clips that are full of so much good stuff. I will remember how you liked your challah toast only ever so slightly toasted with lashings of butter. I will remember you chewing your toothbrush so much that it needed to be replaced every few weeks. I will remember your love of white food, from the simple white rice to the obscure of wanting to eat raw white pastry. I will remember you complaining vigorously every single time you rode your bike to and from school. I will remember you giving me your cheek to kiss when I say goodnight, but still whispering ‘I love you’ as I walk out the room. I will remember you saying “Mummy, I have a question and the answer has to be yes” and the the way you dissect your spinach triangles and eat the filling first and the pastry last. I will remember that your favourite TV show was the 6pm news and that you were still young enough to want to lick the spoon and bowl when making a cake. I will remember that you always left your school shoes unbuckled and that it was a constant battle to get you to put on sunscreen and a hat in summer. I will remember that there were days when you would be so annoyed at me even for  committing the sin of merely breathing, but then a few hours later you would share snippets of your day with me and all would be forgiven. These memories may seem insignificant to others but they are a very significant part of your ten your old self that I want to remember forever and ever.

Evie I hope one day you will have children of your own. And from the moment your child is born, you will start dreaming of their lives ahead, thinking of the person they will become, wondering what path they will choose and celebrating every milestone along the way. But nothing will prepare you for how immediate change and growth can come. Eleven years ago you were my little girl, today an independent young lady with a fiercely strong spirit forging ahead on your own path. I will hold onto these memories of your ten year old self like a gentle friend who’s hand I clutch. For they tells stories of bygone days, of laughs and tears and moments etched into the fabric of your being. And as you spread your wings and fly away from childhood and into teenagehood, there will forever be these safely-kept memories of ten year old Evie.

I love you so fiercely. Happy birthday my sweetheart. Love Mummy.

Evie Birthday Interview – 11 years old and 139cm

  1. Who is your best friend? I have a few – Indi, Coco, Zoe and Zahra
  2. What is your favourite subject at school? Kitchen
  3. What is your favourite colour? Coral
  4. What is your favourite food? Depends on how I am feeling. Sometimes pasta, sometimes cake, most of the time cheesecake
  5. What is your worst food? Tomatoes
  6. What do you want to be when you are bigger? Either a vet or an anaesthetist
  7. What makes you happy? Cino
  8. What makes you sad? Vegetables
  9. What is your favourite book? Keeper of the lost cities
  10. If you could have one super power, what would it be? To be invisible
  11. What would you like to learn to do now that you are eleven? Maybe get better at math
  12. What is something you have done in your life that you are proud of? My dancing
  13. What do you think is the most important job in the world? Doctors
  14. What type of music do you like? Rap and pop
  15. What is something important that your parents have taught you? To keep everything safe such as passwords and stuff like that
  16. What is something important that a grandparent has taught you (which one)? Nanny taught me to always make the table look nice when you’re eating with someone else. Even if you don’t have anything, get some leaves from outside
  17. What is a favourite holiday memory? When I met Binny and Abbie on holiday in Sydney
  18. If you had three wishes, what would they be?
    1. To do well in school
    2. To enjoy life
    3. That corona virus never happened
  19. If you could change anything about the world, what would it be? That some people are nicer to animals
  20. What is something you are really good at? Dancing
  21. What is something you would like to be able to do better? How will you do this? My flexibility. I will stretch a lot
  22. What is the best thing about being eleven? That it will be my batmitzvah next year 
  23. What is one goal that you would like to achieve when you are 11 years old? Do a walkover
  24. What will you do to achieve that goal? Practise
  25. What does daddy do well? Ride his bike
  26. What is your mum good at? Organising stuff
  27. What is something about you that many people don’t know? That Cino licks my face
  28. Who is your hero or someone you admire? Why? Nelson Mandela because even though he went to jail for a long time, he still fought for fairness
  29. What’s your most treasured possession? The book that has funny stuff in that I said when I was little
  30. If you could turn back time, what would you change in your life? Nothing
  31. What is your greatest achievement? When I won “the most improved dancer” award
  32. If you were an animal, what would it be? A dog
  33. If I gave you $20 now what would you buy? I would save it
  34. If you could get any birthday present in the world, what would you want? Another dog