Marlow has been talking about her birthday for the past six months, ever since her siblings celebrated their birthdays earlier this year. People would ask her how old she was and she would say ‘I’m three, but I turn four next week’. For a while she even insisted she was turning seven, not four, and I think she really believed it.
Marlow’s always been like this — so ahead of her age in every way. Someone asked me the other day if I felt sad about Marlow not being my baby any more, and after thinking about the answer, I realised that Marlow has never really felt like my baby. She’s always been fiercely independent, determined and wise beyond her years. It’s been a long time since there was anything babyish about her.
Thankfully, when her birthday finally came, she was quite happy to turn four (phew!). We celebrated with pancakes, bunting and presents at breakfast followed by a trip to our local farmers market (where she picked out flowers, choosing each colour deliberately). We spent the afternoon swimming in the tea tree lake in Lennox Head (which she chose over the beach) and then we had a little mexican fiesta with some friends at our house that evening. It was a busy birthday with non-stop fun from the moment she woke (jet-lagged at 6am) until she went to bed. I asked her that night if she had a good birthday and she said, ‘Yes, but my birthday in Uruguay was funner’. This girl — she is never short of an opinion!
Here are some things about Marlow, aged four:
- She says ‘grosst’ instead of ‘gross’ and ‘sgusting’ instead of ‘disgusting’ and ‘umpooter’ instead of ‘computer’ and ‘mazagine’ instead of ‘magazine’….and no one will correct her because we all think it’s so cute!
- She still sticks her tongue out whenever she’s doing anything that requires concentration. (Oh, and she can even touch her tongue to her nose if asked! Party trick!!)
- She decided a few months ago she doesn’t like melted cheese (we don’t know how this could even be possible given the rest of her Italian-food-loving family!)
- When she has a scary dream it usually involves dinosaurs, witches or ghosts.
- She loves to draw ‘girls’ (complete with decorative dresses and hairdos) and knows how to write her name (first and last) as well as ‘mama’, ‘dada’ and all of the names of her siblings.
- She can count up to 50 without mixing up the numbers, and can write the numbers 1 to 10.
- She’s going through a phase of not wanting to be alone in a room, even in broad daylight. She won’t even go to the toilet on her own. She tells me she’s afraid of being alone.
- When we were at my dad’s house a couple months ago, she taught herself how to ride a bike without any training wheels. We came out one day to find her riding her bike up and down the long drive-way. (It dawned on me that when Easton learned to ride a bike, Michael and I were right there by his side, encouraging him and taking videos of this momentous occasion. And when Marlow learned to ride a bike, we were all inside completely oblivious — I guess the 4th child just gets on with things whether their parents are encouraging them or not!)
- She told me recently that when she takes her sneakers off ‘they have bad breath’. Too funny!
- Marlow has to sleep with some section of her body touching someone else. For the past 18 months while we’ve been travelling, she has slept in between Michael and me, always with an arm or a leg over me. When we arrived to Byron Bay, I explained to her that she was a big girl now and she was going to get to sleep with Ivy. She has slept for the past two weeks in bed with Ivy without any issues or complaints. When I check on them before going to bed, I find Marlow with her arm over Ivy every single night.
- She is incredibly independent and sometimes devious but when disciplined, she almost always says sorry immediately.
- Her favourite colours are pink and purple.
- Her favourite thing to do is to play dress-up with Ivy. Her most prized possessions are her dress-up tutus.
- Of all of our children, she seems the most excited to be getting a baby sibling. She kisses my belly constantly and whispers ‘I love you’ to the baby all the time. I think it’s so wonderful that she gets to have the opportunity to be a big sibling — I think she will really flourish in that role.