The Land Of The 7 Year Old Girl is a strange place where all time stops. There is much drifting and random staring out of the window.
Curtains may be thrown back in the middle of the night to inspect the moon.
In the morning, the donning of uniform may be halted many times whilst old handbags and gift bags are filled and refilled with shiny objects of disparate value.
These bags are subsequently dotted around the house and hidden in corners and may well contain the property of siblings.
Thus, a doll’s head may lurk with a fork, a water pistol, some old beads, a lip balm and a deflated beach ball.
It is practically impossible for the inhabitants of this land to avoid the urge to dress up.
So bad is this compulsion that an old Halloween costume or a princess dress three sizes too small may be modelled at 7 in the morning, when the subject may terrify the living daylights out of parents by appearing silently at the end of the bed whilst resembling an extra in a “Zombie Apocalypse” movie.
Bathroom routines are endlessly redesigned with tooth cleaning requiring the creation of fountains using the cap off the toothpaste and three glasses of water.
There is some apparently mandatory regulation that tooth cleaning must be carried out whilst singing and standing on one foot.
Hair is seldom brushed but perfume may be liberally sprayed.
Plaits, buns and ponytails are demanded and promptly removed 5 minutes later.
Pink is everywhere.
If combine harvesters came in pink there would be one on the lawn.
Their love of certain TV theme tunes must be expressed through the medium of interpretative dance – particularly during the middle of any meal in front of the television.
Knives and forks are frequently laid aside in favour of pulling food apart and creating crumbs.
This is particularly noticeable with any type of biscuit or pastry-based item.
In contrast, the inhabitants generally have no problems with ice cream which is vacuumed with impressive rapidity.
Questions are frequent.
In this house, the questions are about topics such as space, how many ways you can die, whether nails can be painted (and whether you die if you eat nail varnish), if it hurts to have a baby and whether we can go to Claire’s Accessories,
Handy phrases to note are “but Mum, you just don’t understand” and “listen, Mum, I’m just a child and you’re the adult”.
Cuddles are swift and violent.
Hugs are demanded often.
Tears appear at the drop of a hat and vanish just as swiftly.
The beauty of the woman she will become is emerging through the mists of childhood.
The love these inhabitants inspire is by turns humbling and terrifying.
Their confidence is like the wings of a butterfly, opening for the first time in the sunshine.
And I am terrified to crush those wings, despite knowing that ‘fitting in’ comes at the cost of some of that amazing uniqueness.
The skin of the inhabitants is smooth like a peach.
Untainted by sunburn or bad habits, their faces radiate their feelings through an opalescent, sometimes be-freckled glow.
You cannot observe one of these creatures without thinking back to how things were when you lived in the Land Of The 7 Year Old Girl.
You remember the thickness and luminosity of your hair, the dresses you loved, the shoes you coveted (but were generally against school rules) and your hopes and dreams.
And you hope that their hearts are stronger than yours, their courage is greater than yours and that they carry the flame of innocent youth for as long as they can.