And now we are Nine…

Happy birthday Flea

My girl is turning nine.

This means it’s almost exactly nine years since I looked over at her Dad and murmured, through a post-anaesthetic haze, “Why are you holding that baby?” 

These have been the best nine years. They really have. For all the bits that were hard work, or scary, or stressful, there have been a million more moments of love, and weirdness, and having fun.

Especially fun.

When I was Flea’s age, I was a lot like my daughter. People say we even look alike (which I love – Flea’s my first relative I’m related to, so this stuff is all new to me). But my Mum likes to say that Flea is more happy-go-lucky than I was at the same age. She says it’s like Flea has a “bubble of joy” inside her, and I know exactly what she means.

I spent my early childhood in foster care before I joined our family, and that experience made me a little more cautious than other kids; maybe a bit more serious at times. But Flea? Flea is a thrill seeker. She’s rarely serious. She flings herself into life at a hundred miles an hour. She has an unshakeable belief that the world is one big adventure, just waiting to be enjoyed.

I love that about her.


At nine years old, Flea is still bursting at the seams with happy. She’s ridiculously quick to laugh, to make a joke, join in with a stupid game, or sing at the top of her voice.

She has a passion for words and books, and races through them at a million miles an hour. But she’s easily distracted so she’s always reading five books at a time, as well as writing her own stories; endless graphic novels about wizards and robots and bad guys and hero narrators.

Flea loves to swim, and to play games, but she loves those things for their own sake, having no interest whatsoever in competing or being better than anyone else. She forgot to mention when she won her swimming gala this year. And I’m confident mine was the only child singing to herself during the hurdles race at sports day.

Maybe one day, Flea will worry that my expectations for her are too high. But truth be told, for now at least, I sort of just want her to stay where she is. To grow older without growing up quite yet. For just a little while longer, to stay in that bubble of happiness where everything is fun, nothing is impossible, and tomorrow’s just another adventure waiting to happen.

Happy birthday, Flea!


Sally is a full-time blogger and founder of the HIBS100, Foodies100 and Tots100 - an online community of more than 15,000 UK bloggers. She is also a busy single Mum to Flea, the world's coolest eight year old.

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  1. says

    What a lovely lovely blog and video. She really does so much like you Sally.

    Happy birthday Flea. May you always have adventure, fun and laughter!

    • says

      She is grown up in some ways – very articulate and confident – but very young still in others. She’s mystified by girls who want to seem grown up by listening to music and ignoring boys. Thankfully!

  2. says

    Aww Flea is the same age as my little girl who turned 9 a few weeks ago too!! I wrote a very similar post :) They are both in year 4 going into year 5 … I don’t know about you but the thought of high school is so so scary!!!!!! They’re still babies lol!!!
    Love the video it’s so sweet, it’s sad they grow up so fast…. Wishing your little girl a very happy 9th birthday! X
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    • says

      Thanks Jean, I really *am* very proud because I think Flea’s just a really decent person. And that’s sort of what I secretly hoped for :)

  3. Isobel says

    Lovely post. I didn’t realise you were adopted, and it is nice to have a success story. My little man is adopted and I sometimes wonder if these days adoption ever has a positive outcome.

  4. says

    Ahhhh what a fab video – lovely for Flea to look back on in years to come. My daughter is 1 in 3 weeks and I’m already learning how fast time is flying – she will be 9 before I know it.

    Happy birthday Flea!

  5. says

    Dammit! That video just got me!
    Possibly because Flea sounds a lot like GG – they’re a year apart but so so similar. I love that she is so quick to smile, laugh, and jump into any adventure, but it kind of pains me, because I’m always waiting for the teen to turn and for that to disappear, and I’ll be so so sad when that happens. Lovely post.
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  6. says

    You have a very special girl there. I was so impressed with her in Orlando. She is so not up herself when she could be considering the great experiences that come her way and who her mum is too.
    I totally get that bit about your first relative – I think only adopted people really get that.
    I don’t think I have ever enjoyed watching a parent and child together as much as I did watching you and Flea.
    Belated happy birthday to her and well done you.
    I think she will move mountains and in good-hearted way too.
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