You were violent from the start, poking, jabbing, turning, twisting, writhing, fidgeting, i was afraid you would fall out, it was painful to walk, painful to do anything, and so you came early, too restless to stay still, you came and you shot out under the water and I remember thinking I should be pushing, I should be pushing but I didn’t need to you did it all, you came out frowning, pick her up pick her up they said, low lights, warm pool, black t-shirt…so I picked you up so I was the first to hold you and you didn’t cry and your body was wrapped up tight in the cord, so was that why you kept twisting and wrestling, to get free?…So I set you free, wound it around and around, so long, so thick, and you didn’t cry, you just slept in the water, and it took ages to find out you were a girl, uncurling the cord, around and around, away from your legs, it’s a girl, i saw first! I saw first, another girl and I was so happy because it was so right that I threw back my head and laughed and laughed and it couldn’t have been more perfect and simple and easy and quick, and you still didn’t cry, and it was dark and peaceful and your hair jet black and so thick, and you still didn’t cry so they had to poke you to see if you were okay, and still you wouldn’t cry, but you did glare…and so we took you home and your sister hated you and called you rooarh and you didn’t cry, and you wouldn’t smile, and your hair got thicker and curlier and we named your middle name after little nanny because she died before you were born and you looked just like her and you frowned and glared just like her and you looked like you were ready to take the world on, and you were so good, but not good with pain and we dreaded you falling over it would sound like like murder, and every time I looked in your face I saw my nan, and I knew you wouldn’t take any shit, and I would never have to worry about you..You were slow to crawl and walk, no hurry here, not like your sister doing everything at breakneck speed, laidback and casual, what’s the hurry? I’ll get there when I want to…and you didn’t talk like her, talk, talk, talk, you were the opposite, we had to drag words out of you, try to engage you in conversations, but you would just glare or frown and as soon as you could broom a car, then brooming cars was you…sat up on the windowsill lining them up, parking them, back and forth, back and forth, such concentration, and you only spoke if you wanted to and you only smiled if you wanted to, but you were so good and easy and content…your eczema drove you crazy, you bled and itched and scratched and pulled at your hair and your lips and nibbled your fingers til you bled…strange habits…picking your head, biting your fingers, biting your lips, tracing your fingers around your knees or hands, your mouth moving but no words coming out…You would follow people to stare at them, hi they’d say, and you would stare…Such a lot of hair! Look at all that hair! Never seen so much hair on a baby! Pigtails on your first birthday, toy castle and wendy house, chocolate caterpillar cake…You never had a cuddly, never attached to a toy, just cars, brooming up and down and around and around…you would dance to music and make us laugh…you loved your buggy, I would stroke your cheek to make you fall asleep and it worked every time…malk and bup…slow to talk but when you did you were funny..cucumber was bumble…thankin not thank you, stoppin, not stop it…you would go to anyone, you loved your dad, fell asleep with your malk and had so many funny faces…a terror emerged, a jekyll and hyde! Cherub faced angel would explode into violence, when you lost it, you really lost it, you saw red and you let rip on all the unfairness you saw…sticker charts, naughty steps, time out, no pudding..you got there in the end…you funny funny girl…you make me laugh, you make me smile ever day, you’ve got something to say, you surprise us all, you astound us at times, eccentric and quirky, you buck the trend, you loathe the norm, your dances, your faces, you crack us up with the raise of one eyebrow…the things she comes out with! That child scares me! She’s been here before! I never know what she is going to say!…You’ve got a wink for us all, you’ve got a glint in your eye, you know where you’re going and you don’t give a shit…You adore your brother, he’s the sun in your eyes, you want your sister to love you, and she will see you one day…You’re a tough nut to crack, you’re one of a kind, you long to be different and stand out from the crowd..gone are the days I could dress you in pink, you never loved dolls, you want to be called John…we all shake our heads, wonder what will become of you but i know i never need to worry about you, for you will stand strong, you never doubt or question yourself and for this I admire you so much, i don’t care, I don’t care, it doesn’t matter, when I grow up I will be a boy…You steal your brothers clothes and you stick to him like glue, your games make my heart melt, your lists and your plans and your puzzles and your quiz’s, and you tick things off and you are are so organised and neat and clean and you never liked mess on your face or your hands, and you nibbled at food and wrapped your tongue around straws, and we all laughed, you make us laugh so much, even when you are naughty I have to turn away and smile, I have to keep the laughs inside…You little swine, you little git, what the hell are you doing, never use violence!! Talk to me, listen to me, tell me, calm down, i will always help you, i will always understand..You are a whirlwind at times, an explosion, a raging fire, and then you are calm, and serious and sombre and everything has to be just so, and you’ve got your football and your kit and you love your dad so much, you hang on every word, and you dress like a boy, and when you play football you just take the piss, so tiny, so skinny, so nippy, so fast, takes my breath away…You are so awesome Roobyroo, roobydooby, rubenstiener, rubes, you are you!!…You love the music and listen to it with your ear to the speakers…You don’t like reading, unless it’s a comic…You love everything active, climbing trees and playing ball, cricket and football and hula hoops and cars, still, always the cars, and their little rows around the edges of the room…You’re a tough cookie, you’re one of a kind, you will be whatever you want to be, and i will be so proud, I don’t have to worry about you, I don’t have to fear, just let you be you and see where you go…Keep going, never doubting, never questioning, there’s not much that makes you cry, and your big blue eyes never fail to win, your tiny little face, your beautiful hair, but you hate being cute or pretty, you just want to be John…and I love that you are still small, and you are young in your ways, and you have no urge or need to grow up or grow on, I can carry you about on my hip, you give the gentlest kisses, you are taking it all, your childhood is wide open and endless to you and you are so full of joy and your laugh kills us all and you know you can get round me with the eyes and the smile, so cheeky, rein it in, oi watch it, don’t be rude, and you are rolling around the floor in fits of giggles…Don’t change, stay gold, see the world through the eyes you have now, and the fields will continue to stretch out before you, taking your legs wherever they need to go, and the trees will continue to tower up above, taking you higher, no fear, just no fear, never fear, for you are you, and I thank you, because you show us what matters….and what matters is laughter.