It’s time to look back again and wonder, baffled, how small boy has arrived at another birthday. It was the same last year and the year before. The years seems to be flying past, it feels like no time since he was the baby who would only sleep wrapped in a fleecy blanket in my arms.
Adapting to “normality”
Well he’s been in year two at school this year and it’s been his first full year of uninterrupted education. Except his teacher went on maternity leave in February, so his class has had to get used to someone new half way through the year. That said, it’s been a year of massive progress for him. He’s been away on his first residential and absolutely loved it. His fierce hatred of maths has waned to a mere dislike – gone are the tears over every attempt to do anything with numbers and he’s much less worried about it all.
He’s come home with certificates for interesting stories in his writing and with all sorts of tales to tell about hands on science. His reading is frankly ridiculous at this stage. His reading age at Easter was over 10 years old.
More importantly than all that academic achievement, marvellous as it is, he’s formed some strong friendships. His got a little group, somewhat dynamic, of a few core friends and about the same number of other kids who join in sometimes. He’s definitely got some best mates (including one girl who’s gender is completely irrelevant to him) which is lovely to see. After feeling quite lonely at times through reception and year one, he’s found his comfort zone and a group of friends with the same interests, games, and sense of humour – sometimes a wicked one.
Growing into himself
Small boy will continue to be referred to here as small boy. However, I’m no longer allowed to call him “little one” or “bub bub”. He’s been insistent for about six months that he’s “smed” – somewhere between small and medium (large boy is medium on this scale as he’s not big until he’s a teenager, apparently). As of his seventh birthday though, he is officially medium.
I think I have to let go of the sense that he’s my baby. He really isn’t any more. There’s nothing toddler-ish left at all. Indeed, he says I’m not “mummy” any more, I’m just “mum” now. I suppose at least I should be glad I’m not “mother” yet.
He can ride 29km in a day on his bike and stay up until 10pm, make his own breakfast, and answer back in such a way he’s hard to argue with. He has this brilliant face he pulls that’s so grown up, I suspect he’s mirroring me, that indicates “really?” with strong sarcasm. If I express surprise at his knowledge, he shrugs a practically gallic shrug as if to say “but of course, everyone knows that mum”.
He absolutely knows what he wants but he’s also learning to accept that sometimes we just have to get on and do a thing we don’t want to, in order to get to something we do want. No we don’t want to queue for 2 hours at the airport, but yes we do want to go on holiday. When recently faced with this situation, I was really impressed with how sensible and patient he was about the whole thing.
He’s shown determination and dedication this year too. After being dragged along to rugby while he was 5 and not really taking to it, he returned in autumn 2021 and remained unimpressed. Then one disgusting, muddy, wet, cold day something clicked for him. We’ve not had a “my ankle’s broken” since that day. He’s played matches and even a tournament, where he’s scored tries, passed to his team mates and forged new friendships with kids he knew as a tiny baby but has subsequently forgotten completely. He still hates grabbing for tags, but now he’s looking forwards impatiently to next September when his team will be under 9 and he’ll be allowed to tackle.
He loves old Top Gear and new The Grand Tour and lasagne, BMWs and woodlice, growing peas and getting muddy, fried eggs and fluffy jumpers, How to Train a Dragon and Forza Horizon, broccoli and scrambling up rocks, his patchwork quilt and Uno, his brother and pulling silly faces. He hates marmite and being interrupted, being made to do his spellings and wearing pyjama tops, ice cream and having his photo taken.
The unshakeable constant for him is his big brother. Despite large boy’s growing independence, they remain a conspiratorial, cuddly, pair. Always in each other’s rooms or personal space, whispering about plots and plans, chattering about mysterious made up worlds, and trying to con their parents out of chocolate or sweets at every opportunity.
I’ve got to agree with him, he’s not a little boy anymore. He’s self-assured and friendly, supportive and loving, passionate and absolutely ridiculously mischievous.
In his own words
I’m weird, I like books, bugs, outside and you mum. I like being on my own aaaaand being with people. I’m a blabby boy. When I’m grown up I want to be an explorer or a paleontologist.always with the sense of humour and made up words….
… and now he’s seven
So happy birthday to our cheeky, loving, determined, tender, sweet, stubborn, fierce, muddy, funny, bright, bookworm, frank, and medium boy.