Sapphire is now eleven years old.
Made in Malaysia and born in Carlton. Weaned in Heidelberg Heights, child-cared and schooled in Trinity Gardens; year four onwards in Flemington.
With five months of strangely swirling friendships and associated dramas, Sapph decided that she didn't want a birthday party. All she she required was an ice skating session at the new rink in the Docklands, freshly-made gnocchi for lunch at a nearby Italian cafe she'd been to (and enjoyed) previously and some test runs on her new scooter.
The day was peppered with telephone calls, bright autumn sunshine, numb feet (for the skaters and the adults on the sidelines), chocolate cake, cuddles and presents.
Many hours later, as she'd finished cleaning her teeth, she said, "This has been the best birthday ever."
Seeing the 'Oh no is my child destined to be a loner forever' look of agitated sorrow and perpetual anxiety on my face, she raised her hand to shoosh the deluge and clarified herself.
"What I mean is it was great because I didn't have to worry about being a good hostess or making sure that there were enough things to do, that everyone was happy, that the games were all fun, that the lollybags had cool things inside and checking all the time that nobody was being left out. It was a relief to be with Phoebe and you and Dad and just, well, enjoy it all."
Sitting on the edge of her bed, I smoothed her hair and asked, "So what have you learned in the past year?"
"That nobody ever on TV or in the movies gets into bed and then unpicks their wedgie straight afterwards," she said instantly. "Even if you're just acting, it'd be awful to slide into bed and have to say your lines with a wedgie that has to be ignored."