Dear Alula

Today you are four and you just told me the following things:

That you love me as many houses we have lived in (that’s such a lot isn’t it mummy?) and as big as the waves and as dark as the night when you are sleeping and how big the moon is and how hot the sun is.

I wonder whether you will be a poet or a songwriter. Although you resolutely refuse to learn your letters. BORING you say. But if you can’t write we say then how will you be able to read signs that tell you where buried treasure lies? Princesses read. It’s part of the job description we tell you.  No. Not interested you insist.

But Banana begins with B.

We don’t really care. We know you’ll do just fine.

I kiss you and tell you how much we love you and how glad I am that you’re my baby – that you chose me to be your mummy. You look confused at that.  I ask you if you’ll always be my baby, even when you are forty or eighty or a hundred. You tell me you’ll love me even when you are a billion and a hundred. And will you have stopped growing by then? Yes, I say, you’ll stop growing when you are about eighteen. And you will be taller than me and undoubtedly beautiful.

And you know, I tell you, four years ago I was lying in bed with you and cuddling you and the doctor’s first words were ‘look at those eyelashes.’ Why? you ask. Because they are long I say.

I just can’t sleep mummy. I want back strokes. Ok, I say because I do this every night. Lula bean, lula bean, I start to sing. You’re my mummy forever you finish. This to the tune of Adelweiss.

Please mummy I just need to not sleep and look at all my birthday presents. You stroke back my hair and it feels like you’re not 4. You’re much older. And you say ‘I’m sorry I was naughty today mummy. Thank you for all my birthday presents.’ And I say ‘that’s ok my darling, you’re good 99% of the time. Everyone’s a little bit naughty.’

And you kiss me and ask ‘what’s a percent?’ and I breathe in deeply and say ‘go to sleep now.’

And now you are four and a big girl and I will hold you to your promise that now you brush your own teeth and walk everywhere. No more carries. But secretly I’m hoping you break that last one a few times more.

Happy Birthday pop pop.

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10 thoughts on “A letter to Alula

  1. tanya says:

    how very lovely. what a lucky girl she is too to have such a loving mummy, who also takes her on wonderful adventures. xx tanya

  2. Babbo says:

    Unconditional love is just one thing your children show & teach you.
    Just off to dry the eyes……

  3. vic harvey says:

    She is so adorable x

  4. A says:

    I’m reading this at work, and now I have to leave my office with red, puffy eyes!!!! They just melt your heart day after day, and even though you can’t wait for a new stage to begin, the minute one ends, you miss it instantly. What was the most child-friendly and safest location for kids?

    1. boublog says:

      Hi Anne,
      Hmmm most childfriendly and safe for kids…I would say everywhere was safe for kids. In India and Bali there’s a very big sense of family and community so children are really adored but Lula was hugely pestered too in India with peoplewanting her photo and the car safety is non existant (no seatbelts or carseats). In the States and Australia I was more concerned funnily enough and kept more of an eye on her in supermarkets etc.

      I’ve never felt worried for her safety though really, other than in cars where she’s not strapped in.

      In terms of child friendly obviously going to school in india and Bali really helped as she made instant friends and in India we had the beach – though struggled with the heat (not the food though) and with the no bath tub (ending up washing her in buckets). Australia and the USA are very child friendly in that there are tons and tons of things to do with kids and all mod cons and recognisable food stuffs. Much more expensive however and I also miss the kind of enforced innocence living in Bali and India gives your children – no tv, barbies, sweets on display etc. no begging all the time for stuff that they see. They make do with sticks and pots and pans and their imagination.

      Singapore and Malaysia both awful. Too, too hot and humid to do anything outdoors and a 4 year old can only take so much air conditioned malls.

  5. Leonie says:

    Hi Sarah,
    I’ve been following and enjoying your blog all year but didn’t think I could leave a post without a blog of my own, anyhow Nichola put me straight on this point last week and Alula’s birhtday seems like a good time to say hi and happy birthday! She’s beautiful and looks so much like you. I imagine four must feel quite poignant as its really the end of babyhood. You have been on such an inspiring adventure and your posts have really bought it all to life. I think it would make a great book. Leonie x

    1. boublog says:

      Hello Leonie! how are you and the babes? Thanks so much for the post – and so happy to hear you’ve been keeping up with us. Do stay in touch by email sarahalderson@ymail.com and if ever in Bali give shout!
      x

  6. Nic says:

    I have a lump in my throat reading that and I have a pain to see my Goddaughter. Bring on the weekend.
    lots of love to you 3
    Nxx

  7. Hedda says:

    This takes on a whole new meaning now with a daughter of my own. She’s only 3 weeks tomorrow, I can’t imagine what 4 years must be like. I remember when you sent me the picture of your scan and it was all still a ‘wonderful, delicious secret’! We had just gotten back from our own big trip, Feb 2006. Now I just hope that we can give Stella some of the insights, adventures and experiences that have obviously been so good for Alula in the last months. Keeping track of you guys reminds me that anything’s possible and that the world is our oyster. Hope the UK is not too awful, just think there’s always something nice about coming home, and then there’s something nice about leaving and spreading your wings again. Take the best of both… xxx

    1. boublog says:

      Hedda! So excited for you. I know you and Michiel will be amazing parents and can’t wait to hear what adventures the three of you get up to!xx

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