This time of year always brings a nostalgia trip for me, as I write this its the 9th anniversary of my waters breaking and being still four days away from meeting large boy. Remembering that first labour, the total lack of respect for my plan shown by our bodies. The complete naivety about birth, sleep, new borns and parenting in general. How easy that pregnancy was compared to the four that have followed it.
But here we are. The outcome of those three and a half days – from water breaking to emergency section, via induction and failed forceps due to a partial face presentation – is nine years old.
Our large boy
He’s bloody brilliant. Those sleepless nights and the refluxy vomiting are long since forgiven and forgotten. In their place, we are so proud of the young man that he’s growing into. He shows generous kindness to his brother and his friends alike, as well as to his parents. He’s developing encyclopedic knowledge and loves sharing it with everyone at school (I fear he’s a know it all). We’re touched by his sensitivity, he speaks out when adults keep quiet and has been praised by his teacher for his thoughtfulness. His sportsmanship and physicality at rugby have surprised us, always averse to injury and never one for rough housing, he gets stuck in and has adapted to contact rugby this year (when its been possible at least). However, the grumpy teenagerness we glimpse occasionally is really giving us cause to be a little afraid of what the future holds.
There’s some drama in his class of boyfriends and girlfriends (completely innocent and meaningless), and he has a girlfriend apparently. Another mum remarked that he must like strong women then. Well, that’s fantastic if he’s drawn to someone who will stand up to him and expect respect and equality from their friendship. I couldn’t want more for him. (Of course, its all complete bollocks at their age, but I’ll take some small indication that the efforts we make to teach that there’s no important difference between girls and boys are sticking.)
He loves books and wearing all black and Chinese takeaways and any sort of chicken and cuddles and playing Adopt Me on Roblox and tiramisu and strong French cheese and Viking gods and loom bands and Scratch and buffet restaurants and Lego and rugby and Sugar Rush baking show and maths and soft fleecy anything and coffee and every teacher he’s ever had and his friends and more books and his teddies and his little brother.
Each year I feel like he’s blossoming. This year he’s started doing so many things. He now makes his packed lunch almost every day (for which my eternal gratitude), he puts his laundry away (grumpily) and he can tie his whole body in knots. He can repeat tongue twisters and he’s learning Spanish. Just this weekend he decided to write some poems, just because. He told me he’d dreamed he found a token for three wishes the other day and he wished for made up animals to be real, for baby boy3 to still be alive and for many riches for everyone he loves. He’s generous and thoughtful and his imagination is mind boggling – together with small boy, the world of fabulous sneaky beasts now has too many creatures to even count.
He’s so excited to have his own desk and lamp and fountain pen, but equally thrilled to have a driving game for his Switch and Fortnite. By no means is he a saint, but he is totally awesome.
Being 9 isn’t so different from 8, but thinking back to last year’s reflections its very different from the 7 year old we once had. He still believes in Santa, but will he this time next year? He’s getting more reluctant to obey all his brother’s demands for company, requesting alone time to read. He’s becoming independent and comfortable with his own company. Being 8 has sort of ended of a phase in his life, as a little boy. He’s growing up. Fast. What will his 9th year bring? Santa rejection? Learning about how his body will change in the next few years? More arguments with small boy? Further explosions of knowledge for sure.
Large boy, if you ever read this, you are brilliant, amazing, frustrating, hilarious, and very very loved.