Isolde was first. On 9 January she turned five. 5! How did that happen?! Her arrival feels like just now and such a long time ago at the same time. (Posts from her previous birthdays, one, two, three and four.)
They say that five is a pretty harmonious age and we have noticed that in the last few months. This time last year was really the opposite. It's quite fascinating how children follow roughly the same development patterns. There are the terrible twos - which I think are really terrible twos and threes (and the Swedish word "trotsåldern" doesn't specify the exact age) - and then there are the f***ing fours, as our American friend here in Brussels calls it. Very accurate description. Isolde was in this phase the first half of last year but it changed after the summer, after 4½. They say 6 is the next difficult phase to get through - I hope we have at least a year before that starts. I know of course that all these phases are good, they are part of children growing up, learning and developing, but it is not always fun for those involved, neither the child itself nor the parents, even if you try to ease the process.
Right now we are enjoying our happy, social, curious, full of energy (but who can also be lazy, especially when it comes to dressing herself or putting her cup or plate away), stubborn, responsible, caring and cuddly girl who loves school (her friends, her teacher and the activities) and drawing/painting and writing letters. Who can tease and annoy her brother but at the same time plays so well with him. Who is fighting about being first (up the stairs or out of the house) but is always making sure that little brother also gets an ice cream or a biscuit. Who likes riding her bike and doing balancing tricks on the scooter. Who is sucking her thumb again after the index finger was demoted but is reassuring us that she doesn't do it at school (but she doesn't want to quite just yet). Who falls asleep rather easy and quickly in the evening but wakes up at night and wants to be close to us and fuel up on love and security and most often sleep next to us the rest of the night. Who still has problem with pronouncing some sounds and gets the word order mixed up in Swedish but is otherwise speaking pretty well (she was a slow starter), and who is finally not only understanding French but speaking it willingly at school and with her little friends and often using it as her role play language (though I cannot guarantee grammatical correctness :-)
Isolde celebrated her birthday with us in the morning of her birthday and with our neighbours and friends later the same day (luckily it was a Saturday) and then she had her first real kids' birthday party, i.e. with just kids and no parents staying, the following Saturday.
|Preparing the birthday tray before waking her up with Ja må hon leva (but she was already awake and waiting for us, she told us afterwards).|
|"I want to eat that eclair!"|
|Elsa! And she got Anna and Kristoff too.|
|Birthday celebration with our Swedish and Swedish-Spanish friendbours.|
|Dress-up at Isolde's kids' party|
|Isolde's cake - one side Ariel, the Little Mermaid, and the other side Frozen - made by Arna.|
|Time for cake!|
|Fiskdamm as the finale of course - fishing for a goodie bag|
Then it was my turn. The big 4 0. That is even more of a mystery to me. How did THAT happen?! I had a bit of angst the day before, the last day in my thirties, but on the day I felt pretty good thanks to all greetings by email and Facebook and several phone calls from family and friends. Lots of love. The following a day I felt a bit angst again, but I think it's better now. Ask me again in a few months and we'll see. I think it is so strange to think that the next big birthday is 50. Half a century. My parents have just bought a flat in one of those 50+ only buildings and I was thinking "so, another ten years and I can also move there". Shocking thought!
Anyway, I celebrated 40 in style. Parties will have to wait (will probably throw a drink here in Brussels later in the spring when the weather is nicer, and we're having our very belated wedding party/moving-back-to-Sweden party autumn 2017, so that will have to do as 40th parties for us too) but Peter and I hired a babysitter and went out for a very nice meal at one of Brussels two-star restaurants, Sea Grill. Unfortunately Peter had come down with the same vicious virus as both children had had in the previous weeks, one after the other, but he was able to drug himself with some ibuprofen to last through the evening.
|Card make by Isolde, flowers from my parents and a bite-size cake|
|All courses except two - delicious!|
|Brought a cake to work - managed to get a photo of the last piece|
Harald's third birthday is coming up soon. 3 years old! Not a baby anymore and moving from a toddler to a big (little) boy. More about him and his birthday next week (previous birthdays here and here)!