Four and Fabulous

So Poppy is four. For so long she has been my little baby, and now – with a shock almost – I realise she is a little big girl (as she calls herself). Little because, yes, she is petit and pretty, and big because, yes, she is bold and beautiful. She spent her birthday in hospital having a biopsy taken of her stomach to confirm ceoliac disease. After the surgical team sang her Happy Birthday, they put a mask over her little face and as she stared wide-eyed at me, she went limp in my arms, her eyes slowly closing. As they lifted her onto the table, I wanted to hold on a moment longer, so small and delicate, so strong and determined, my heart sometimes can’t contain the love I feel for her.

We pretended her birthday was on Saturday, and our little princess partied with her pink princess friends (some battles aren’t worth the fight). She laughed and danced and ripped open presents. We got her a bike, the smallest we could find and she struggled and practised and persevered until she willed those feet to turn the pedals forward. She has always had to work harder, and try longer to do the normal things – get on the toilet, scoot and run, climb on the bed, keep up with us walking, riding a bicycle. But she is the most determined little big person I’ve ever known. Her first sentence was “I do it!” and she has never stopped saying it (despite being ill for the last two years).

Surgery confirmed ceoliac disease and so a new way of life begins for her. I will have to control everything she puts in her mouth. Every birthday party she goes to, she will have to pass on the cake and the buns and sausages and biscuits and crisps. It’s going to be hard. I’m daunted by the massive change in our lives now (we can’t even toast her bread in our toaster). But, I’ll take a leaf out of her book. I will try and I will succeed.

She’ll have to try harder than anyone else just to thrive. But she will. Because she is petit and powerful. She is dainty and determined. The doctors tell us we will start to see a huge change in her personality over the next few weeks once we cut all gluten from her diet – more energetic, sleeping better, improved moods, happier. And maybe, maybe, she’ll even grow a little.

I find it weird to think the child we know and love so much is going to change – but it will be a bigger, brighter, bolder version of the same lovely girl.

Our little big girl is four, and no matter what else, always fabulous.

About Grin & Tonic by Alana Kirk

Bouncing into middle age armed with courage, ambition and a pair of tweezers (chin hairs for anyone over the age of 45 reading this) I am a writer with a mission: to redefine this midway point in my life when the last thing I want to do is hang up my high heels and become invisible. This is the end of the beginning, not the beginning of the end. A single mum to 3 fabulous girls, an author, and a fundraising consultant, both ends of my candle are on fire. As I enter this new stage of my life, I want to explore what it means for 'mid-aged' women today, who were promised they could have it all, ended up doing it all, and just do not identify with the traditional image of middle age.
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7 Responses to Four and Fabulous

  1. She looks gorgeous. I remember your previous post about her problems with gluten. I'm certain now you've discovered the problem she will really start to thrive. My daughter is nearly eight and she didn't thrive well at all until she was about eight. She had some movement difficulties which she was able to recover from with physio, but reading about Poppy taking longer to ride on a boke, get to the toilet etc sounds very familiar. My daughter still can't ride a bike without stabilisers and she's taken longer with other things, but really, no-one notices. Being petite and looking a little younger than they actually are does have its benefits. Happy Birthday Poppy! x


  2. Anonymous says:

    Happy birthday in your house, it's a big deal 4, but gosh they are determined little ladies aren't they?? Wishing her a beautiful year, love Posie
    (not anonymous, blogger won't let me sign in)


  3. Happy birthday Poppy – all the way from Australia!! Hope she had a fabulous day and you get good new from the Drs soon 🙂 Caz (Ps- I've moved by blog to WordPress due to sign in errors – so have to sign in differently.)


  4. A very Happy Birthday to your gorgeous, brave little girl xx


  5. Oh love, I'm so sorry the fears were confirmed, but by the same token, it is such a relief that you now know and can commence the appropriate journey for Poppy and your family. I'm sure it will take adjustment, patience and probably some trial and error, but you are such a wonderful, loving Mum, it comes across in every post you write. Poppy is a lucky little lady and she will flourish whatever the circumstances. I think that pic of you two is just gorgeous. She really is a little princess… or a little BIG princess ;o)
    This post very nearly broke my heart, but I'm also uplifted by it, knowing that at least things are going to work out in the end xo


  6. Anonymous says:

    Dearest Alana,

    I'm so glad you have a definite diagnosis, and one that is treatable. Cannot believe you have another thing on your plate, micro-managing Poppy's diet, but so glad to think of how you're going to see your little girl flourish and blossom over the coming weeks and months. You both look aboslutely gorgeous together in the photo. Dave and I think of you all so often. Much much love to you all xxx


  7. Anonymous says:

    PS Alana that post was from me, Rachel – I'm a bit of a Luddite with blog posts! xx


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