I finish the second plait and fasten it with her favourite pink bobble.
‘There,’ I say. ‘All done. Who’s a grown up girl?’
She beams and her eyes sparkle. ‘Can I wook at me, Mummy?’
‘Of course. Be careful though.’
My four-year-old daughter is the light of my world. Her brightness, her joy fills the space around her and it’s infectious. Like contagion. I woke this morning in a grump with a pounding ache in my skull, but one sloppy kiss from her and my mood changed. I grin with pride while she gallops in her ungainly manner, legs and arms akimbo, out of my bedroom towards the step ladder in the bathroom. By the time I catch up, she’s preening and fiddling with her plaits.
‘Don’t play with your hair too much. The plaits may come undone.’ She grabs the ends of both plaits and lifts them upwards so they are on top of her head.
‘Beautiful. Now come on, let’s have breakfast.’
She plods down and follows me obediently into the kitchen, her plaits swinging with each step.
‘Toast or Weet-Bix this morning, poppet?’
‘Toast pwease, Mummy. Wiv da black stuff.’
She sings as the bread cooks. I scrape butter over the toast, then smear Vegemite on top, cut it into soldiers and bring it to her. While she eats I make my own breakfast and coffee, mindful of how wonderful and special my life is.
She blows me a kiss, as if she’s read my mind, sealing the moment.