Tomorrow my little girl is 8.

I have actually got no idea where the last 8 years have gone.

It seems like yesterday that she was a tiny, crumpled baby, still to unfurl, nestled snugly, sometimes much to snugly for a hot July, on my chest asleep and content.

I remember before she was born telling myself to enjoy those early days. I knew she was to be my last baby. I knew it would be the last time I would hold a newborn and inhale that just born smell which lasts several days.

I didn’t enjoy my first days with eldest. I was in shock. Completely overwhelmed by the whole experience. I was fumbling around not sure what to do and which way to turn. I read too many books. I got too hung up on doing it all right. I was self conscious and exhausted. I was lonely and unsure how to forge my own path. I got there in the end. But it was a tough road for several months.

When middlest was born the whole birth and early days experience was so different and so much easier that I went the other way and did far too much too soon. I took him to meet friends the day he was born. I ran around after eldest trying to keep everything ‘normal’. Almost inevitably about a week in I ended up in hospital with post partum fever on IV antibiotics and so my early days with him were somewhat marred.  And then he also became quite badly and scarily ill a few weeks later and we had yet another really tough time.

So with youngest I was determined to enjoy those days. Relax. Allow people to help. Do what we felt was best not what the books said. Put her down to sleep on her front if she preferred it. Stay in PJs all day.

And it worked. Those early days with her are some of the happiest of my life. Although in hindsight it all went too quickly I can actually remember some of it going deliciously slowly. Hours listening to music in my newly finished conservatory just holding her and allowing her to sleep on me. Against all ‘that advice’.

She was a joy, not always easy- until we tried that sleeping on her front thing we got hardly any sleep ourselves for five days!- but a joy none the less.

And that is how it has remained. Happy Birthday darling youngest.