Nostalgia strikes again. What is it about kids birthdays that makes us look back at their birth and how they’ve changed each year?
Five years ago, a nice calm scheduled C section put an end to the three weeks of slow labour and the five weeks of boredom since starting maternity leave early, convinced we were going to have another early baby. After large boy’s impatient entry three and a half years earlier (and now he’s eight).
With almost as much naivety when his brother was born, we dived into parenthood’s second iteration in the belief that we’d find it easier this time.
Now small boy is a brilliant soul, but he was a big baby (nearly 10lb for my 5″2′ and typically 8st) and sleep was not his thing. It was a hot year, just like now. That first week it was 34°C in the loft conversion bedroom of the house we lived in. A massive baby in an oven-like room was a recipe for sleeplessness, setting the scene for the next 2 years near enough.
Here we are 5 years later and he’s a cheeky, funny, emotional, loving, tender, and bright little boy. He’s learning to read and his confidence has grown enormously. He’s adventurous physically, climbing stairs at 10 months and 2 metre high ladders in playgrounds at 18 months, riding his bike without stabilisers at three and a half. He knows a ridiculous amount about dinosaurs, just like so many 5 year olds. His vocabulary is amazing, he uses words like “intricate”, “invincible”, “legendary” and “disgustable”. He invented a made up animal called a snapperwack when he was two and a half, sparking a whole tribe of others.
He still occasionally sleeps with a teddy orangutan inside his pyjama top because he’s pregnant with it.
But his most remarkable trait is the pure love and devotion he bears his brother. They’re “best brothers” and they argue like all siblings, each stands up for themselves but also gives up almost anything to please, placate or cheer up the other.
Today, we got up as early as usual even though we were all taking the day off work and home learning. Small boy opened his presents with relative patience and lots of pleasure. After breakfast with treat pain au chocolats, himself set up small boy’s new hot wheels stations while I packed a picnic.
Then we headed off to Chester Zoo for a socially distanced mega treat. We love a day out with things to see and do, but we haven’t had one for several months for obvious reasons. There was no cafe burger or panini today, but a lego themed picnic table setting with sarnies and pork pies, chocolate mini rolls, and ice lollies for pudding.
We were at the zoo for almost the whole 6 hours it was open. All the indoor or enclosed spaces were shut but everything else was open. The pouring rain we drove through abated to a drizzle and then gave way to a gloriously sunny afternoon.
The boys loved the rhinos and red pandas, the giraffe and lions, the tapirs and bush dogs. We glimpsed a tiger and a cheetah, the jaguar was hiding but we saw the chimpanzees as they were getting fed.
Small boy is growing up fast but his small legs got tired and he blagged a piggy back from me for the trek back to the car. Snuggling into my neck like the old days of sling carries. Those rare pleasurable returns to toddlerhood are few and far between now, to be treasured and savoured.
So happy birthday my beautiful boy, my bub bub, mr grumpy, chunkety dumpety, string bean. You bring us joy every day and we love you to the next galaxy and back. You’re five now!