Hey Baby, my little Lena Beana, you are 6 years old!
Your 5th year was really strange! Imagine experiencing an unprecedented global pandemic at just 5 years old, well that’s what you’ve just gone through. You started school, got halfway through reception, turned 5 and then got pulled out of school from March to September. You went back to school in year 1, had 3 months back, broke up for Christmas and then didn’t go back again. It must have all been so strange and confusing for you but you took it all in your stride. I just hope it doesn’t have any long term negative impacts on you!
What happened in your 5th year?
First lockdown school closures
During the first lockdown (March to summer 2020) it was very challenging to get you to do your work. You are extremely stubborn and when you don’t want to do something it’s near on impossible to get you to do it.
We really enjoyed the first lockdown though and all the novelty of all being together at home during the sunny spring and summer months. We had a special celebration for the 75th VE day. We made cakes and VE day food and drinks, decorated the garden and had a garden party. We even learned the Charleston Two Step. You can read about our memories of lockdown here.
Back to school
As the weather turned colder you went back to school in September and although we all dreaded it you really enjoyed being back with your friends again. It was strange for you because unlike your older brother, this was your first experience of moving up a year at school and it was under such strange circumstances. You have preferred Year 1 to reception so far though. You like the smaller class size (from over 100 to 30) and you like being able to play on the ‘big yard’.
A neighbour gave us their old trampoline that they no longer wanted and you and Arlo played on it every night after school from September to December 2020. We nearly said no to that trampoline and I’m so pleased we didn’t as you have both spent hours on it.
Back to ‘homeschooling’ again
For this lockdown and homeschooling spell (January – March 2021), you’ve been more enthusiastic about school work which I’m thankful for – though it’s still a battle some days.
Frankly, though, I’m looking forward to you getting back to school, not because I don’t love having you at home with me because I do but because I’ll never forget the difference in you when you went back last time. You are extroverted like me and you need to be around people. You need to be busy and outdoors and playing. Being cooped up inside isn’t for you.
The other day the weather had been miserable for a while and when we finally got out on a walk you ran around as fast as you could shouting ‘my legs feel great’. Bless you. You just want to be wild and free. Recently we did get a bit of snow and you loved playing out in it and going on your sledge and having snowball fights. It was the best.
Holidays aged 5
Due to Covid we haven’t been able to go on the holidays we had planned last year and didn’t go abroad. We did still manage a couple of camping trips though.
We got a brand new tent this year which we were all very excited about. It has a carpet, is really spacious and has its own area for a toilet. Camping felt like the safest way to travel during the pandemic. We had 2 short trips. One to the Boe Rigg in Bellingham, Northumberland and then one to Lilliardsedge Holiday Park in Jedburgh on the Scottish Borders.
We also had a little mini-break in October half term to Otterburn where we stayed at Otterburn lodges, The Snug – a gorgeous cabin with a hot tub surrounded by picturesque countryside. You LOVED the hot tub and I could barely get you out of it, you are such a water baby.
What are you like right now?
You are the biggest character that I’ve ever encountered. You make us laugh so much. You are so uniquely you and have such a strong sense of self. You are never indecisive. You always know what you want. You are very strong willed! You have a unique way of seeing the world.
Today you were making me laugh because you found our metal ice bucket and asked if you could play with it. Then you told me all about milking cows in great detail and demonstrated how cows get milked into buckets like this both playing the farmer and then the cow.
It’s impossible not to be swept up in Lena land and anyone who spends time with you can’t help but fall in love with you. You crack us all up (you can read some of the funny things you have said this year here). Your brother was telling me how much he adores you the other night, that he loves you so much he couldn’t ever imagine life without you. You love each other lots and then also fight like cats and dogs. Usually, you are being unreasonable with him and he’s winding you up deliberately.
You are still almost always nearly naked, you just wear your knickers day and night, I’m just thankful that we can at least get those on you. I swear you don’t feel the cold like the rest of us do! You don’t stay tidy or clean for even a minute and we always say you’d be perfect cast as a ‘street urchin’ extra or a kid raised in the jungle by wolves.
You do have a devious side though and will lie and manipulate in order to get your own way. Goddess help anyone who gets in your way when you grow up! You also have a hell of a temper and we are still teaching you not to hit your brother when you get angry. Though I will say you’ve got a lot better with that this year.
What do you love right now?
As always, you are obsessed with all animals and creatures. You still love unicorns and horses especially. What you want most for your birthday is a pet. It’s what you’ve asked for every birthday and unbeknownst to you we are finally conceding.
You desperately wanted a dog but your brother is too scared of them so after much research and discussion on your birthday we are surprising you with 2 pet guinea pigs.
They will be the first pets we have had since having children and we just can’t wait to see your little face. When you read this in the future I’d like you to know that the rest of us really didn’t want to get guinea pigs, we are just doing it because we love you so much and want to make you happy.
You are a bit of a pain with meals at the moment. You’d eat pizza every meal if you could and who could blame you! You also love macaroni cheese (Heinz out a tin, nothing fancy) and my one pot corned beef stew. You have a massive sweet tooth – you are a chocoholic and would eat puddings all day every day if you could. During these winter months you’ve been loving having hot chocolates after a cold walk outside.
You aren’t a fan of big meals, you’d rather eat little and often which is pretty irksome for me but I get it, I’m kinda the same. For your birthday you have asked for pain au chocolat for breakfast, McDonald’s for lunch, takeaway pizza for tea (you’ve been clear to specify that this has to be takeaway and not frozen pizza rip-offs) and your cake must be a unicorn chocolate cake. Like I say, you are a girl who knows exactly what she wants.
You love to play Minecraft and Roblox with your dad and brother, you like playing on your Ipad full stop. You like watching YouTube – especially watching other people playing Minecraft or Roblox. You like to watch TV shows and movies with us. This year we’ve watched a lot due to lockdown – we enjoyed all the Harry Potter films and all the avenger films (read our ultimate guide to the best family films here). This year you and I started to have ‘girly time’ together when the boys watch boring football and you fell in love with Moulin Rouge which pleased me as that’s my favourite film. You are really into this little Australian cartoon called Bluey at the moment.
You have a love for music like me, you love to sing and dance. You got a keyboard for Christmas and have been enjoying playing on it. You also have this music app and have been creating your own tunes on there. You sing constantly, you always sing songs about whatever you are doing. As I type this you are downstairs with your dad who is trying to get you to go to sleep and I can hear you singing from the floor above. Once the pandemic is over I’d like to get you some lessons to learn an instrument or singing lessons.
One of your favourite things to do is to make me tell you a story but not from a book but ‘out of my head’. Then you dictate things that need to be in the story to me, which usually involves you turning into an animal and being locked in a cage by a villain who you will ultimately defeat before turning back into yourself.
You love to cook and bake with me and licking the spoons/bowl is your absolute favourite thing.
Milestones this past year
Your biggest achievement this last year was certainly learning to ride your bike without stabilisers last summer at 5 years old. You were so proud of yourself and we were so proud of you!
You’ve got a lot better at reading and writing this year and read simple books now. You are great at phonics and can sound most things out. You do struggle with getting lots of your letters and numbers back to front so we are currently keeping an eye on that in case its dyspraxia or dyslexia. Given how much formal in school education you have missed you are doing well.
Wishes for 6
I hope this year we can get a little more freedom back and that you can start living your young life a little more adventurously again. Wouldn’t that be something? I hope at the very least we can do some more camping again this summer.
I hope that this is the year that you start to go to sleep on your own at bedtime and that you stop waking in the night and crying until someone comes in and sleeps with you. Though as always, we are happy to wait until you are ready. Our family moto remains ‘no one cries alone’.
I hope this year you can read and write independently properly and that you learn what a joy it is to be able to read books by yourself.
But most of all I just hope this year you continue to be so authentically and uniquely you and keep seeing the world in your weird and wonderful way.
Getting to be by your side, hold your hand and see the world through your eyes is such a privilege that I’ll always be grateful for. I’m forever in your awe.
We love you more than you’ll ever know.
If you liked this blog post then you might also like the previous birthday letters to Lena: