How do I love thee? Let me count the ways (a love letter to my daughter in 15 points)

Another bedtime, another evening where you jump on your bed and negotiate with the skill of a UN diplomat over the evening wee. Another bedtime where you have a tantini (a mini tantrum in our household) over the choice of pyjama attire.

And then. Another bedtime where you stare at me with wide-eyed wonder as I read to you. Another bedtime where you cuddle me tight and we do our deep, relaxing Mummy and E special breathing.

Another bedtime where I know I feel my love for you heavy in my bones. And so, how can I not write this to you, my most precious E?

To my gorgeous girl, my pickle, my darling heart,

Now you are three - and at pre-School - you are suddenly a girl, a person, that “big-girl” into which you are so desperate to transform. And I love you so very much - here’s 15 reasons why:

1. You eat dry cereal like you’re sampling a tapas plate in Brindisa. Corn flake? So refined. Apricot wheat? Cheeky. Bran flake? Try harder Mummy.

2. You are a brilliant negotiator: your latest work over coat wearing or lack there-of is impressive. When approaching a bike ride today it was almost impossible to counter your

“if I wear my cardigan for 2 minutes and I’m still cold of course I will wear my coat Mummy but we’ve got to try it first haven’t we? Give it a chance eh?” (Your parroting ain’t half convincing E...)

3. You think I’m really good at drawing (I’m not), but give me constructive criticism when I go wrong (I always do) “don’t worry you can’t draw feet, neither can I. Try just the toes mummy.” 

4. You lick the spoon when we bake with even greater enthusiasm than I would. That’s my girl.  

5. You’ve inherited the pop-propriation gene - tonight’s version of the “Ben and Holly” theme tune to

“we’re going to bed, we’re going to bed, WHEN WE’VE JUMPED!” was brilliant.  

6. Sure, you can be rubbish at sharing, but when your little brother is being a diva/ is upset/ frustrated you always know what he needs: tonight you knew he needed the flashing bouncy ball (HOW DID YOU KNOW?!)

7. You said my eyes were like golden stars. You weren’t trying to be poetic or flattering, just honest. And that made it all the more lovely.

8. You ask to play shoe shops with me (one of the few imaginary play games I actually love) and help me justify my shoe purchases as “all part of my learning.” 

9. One of your favourite games is “sleepover” - this game allows me to drink coffee in peace and mindlessly scroll Instagram for 20 minutes, Mum-guilt (urgh) free. 

10. When you sing your voice is so bright and clear it’s like staring into a brilliant sun: almost painful but overwhelmingly beautiful. You love music so much and I’m so pleased. 

11. You say your best friend is your little brother. I know it won’t always be that way, but right now it gives me all the joy. 

12. Every morning when I come into your room, you ask me “what’s the plan for today Mummy?” That you have inherited the planning-meeting gene (I LOVE a planning meeting) is most satisfying.

13. You don’t realise it yet, but you’re a fabulous feminist. Boys should have dolls too-absolutely! Girls can be doctors and boys can be nurses AND girls can be nurses and boys can be doctors - YES! Boys are smelly? Dammit why did you hear that at pre-school...) 

14. You think I’m a brilliant mum, and you give me confidence and joy.  

15. When you were born I was reborn. Yes, you can read that like the crappiest Hallmark card ever, or you can believe it for the profound and heartfelt truth it is. When you came along the very bones of me changed (quite literally with my coccyx, thanks for that). You have made me realise how patient I am, how generous I can be, and reminded me to find the humour in every day. 

e.e. Cummings said “you are my sun, my moon and All my stars.” That’s you my darling heart. Sparkle bright.