Anyhow my main priority was settling the family back into a happy security and stress-free time. Under this new regime of coolness, my baby blossomed.
2007 and Jane is just about walking. She was the sunniest baby I ever knew - good-humoured and tolerant (being knocked over several times a day by two elder brothers has the advantage of engendering great placidness in a girl). We got a glimpse of the fieriness in her character on the day of her 1st party. When her meringue was split to share with little Isabella she threw a strop that actually made us laugh. She was raging at the insult of having to share something so delicious. That Autumn, after she severed her finger, Ama bought her a dolly (Anna Rose) and pram. It was a match made in heaven.
When I look back over our photos, I never tire of the cherubic fabulousness of her. She was such a character even then. When this photo was taken, she only had a few little words. It was to be September '08 when we started to hear her take on the world. Her family of dolls expanded to include Aimee that Christmas. Aimee effectively became my 4th child for she needed a change of clothes and a nappy change as regularly as any real baby. Jane was quite the exacting mother.
By the time she was three, a strong, independent character had fully emerged. She had her own opinions, her own way, her own style. And to my amazement, I was not going to always influence her opinions. No Madam. This little lady had her own ideas. You could pull your hair out with frustration at times, but you couldn't help but admire her determined spirit. This contrasted with the softness in her. This was never more apparent than when she cared for her her latest dolly, Annabell. What a loving little soul she is. While the other dolls were still seen to, Anabell was top dog (or doll). To see her carry that 'baby' on her hip and plant loving kisses on that forehead filled me with joy. A child that can love like that has something very special. During the stressful times we had as a family this year, I consoled myself that the love she showed could only have been learned from us.
Through the last year, her language became more sophisticated and she was communicating constantly. Her skills as a 'Mama' continued to flourish but the surprise was a new love of dancing. Santa had added a stocking filler of SingStar (Abba) with the PS3 and to our delight and awe, she started really shaking her stuff. As the music soared, she sang and danced in front of the window reflections in the new kitchen...a little bit of butt here and a little bit of boogie there. We signed her up for ballet after Christmas and a new passion was born. Weeks later, she was put on the stage with the rest of the baby ballet 'troupe' and her earnestness astonished us.
Quote of the night: "Mummy, I don't want that small stage (the class) anymore. I just want the BIG stage (performance)". Holy God! We have a diva on our hands.
In June, when I got my holidays from school, I had a bit of time alone with Jane before we collected the boys. Though I was always cognisant of her good communication skills before, I was bowled over by her effervescent chat. Stream of consciousness, how are you! It never stopped. "....isn't that right, Mummy?" was a particular favourite suffix to her musings. Achievements over the summer include learning to ride a bike without stabilisers (it took one day!), dressing without making a scene ("I DON'T LIKE THAT, MUMMY") and the freedom of being able to call next door to see her pal, Caoimhe, and play contentedly without incident. The latter achievement must be the best one!
Jane has become very rooted in her place as a little girl in our family. She is watching me make-up my face; asking for lip-gloss and a lick of cream; commenting on pretty things she sees. The cutest has to be when she says: "sure we are the girls, Mummy". This baby girl who is now a fully-fledged big girl is just burrowing herself deeper and deeper into my heart.