Monday, 3 August 2015

Now You Are Six

I almost have to pinch myself - time has gone so very fast. Babyhood and toddlerdom seem a world away now. I look back of photos of you when you were two or three, and it is increasingly hard to animate them, to remember the way you were. I wish they were videos; that I’d captured more of the early you in moving three dimension, the odd ten second snippets I have, snatched here and there, you are more real than in any photo.  Even the first day of school, nearly two years ago, is now a distant memory - you have lost your baby face completely; you are now long, lean and angular.

At age six, you are a daredevil and tree climber extraordinaire. On the last day of term I witnessed (too late) you standing at the very top of a climbing frame in the park; reaching for the forked branches of a tree, only to then swing down to the ground, zip wire style - creating one bloody knee in the process. You love outdoor life; climbing, exploring and foraging.  Nothing makes you happier than a long walk in the woods, trying to hunt out grass snakes, or a camping trip sleeping out in the wild. You are an outdoor boy at heart. There have been many times this year when I have wondered if bringing you up in London is the best thing for you, I know that you would love to live in the countryside, to have less boundaries, run wild and free.

You are obsessed with animals. Particularly reptiles. You watch countless documentaries on the ipad about snakes and crocodiles and you love nothing more than playing Top Trumps version of ‘The world’s most deadly predators‘ or reading ‘SuperBeasts’ in bed.  This year, you started a worm farm and a butterfly garden; they both intrigued you in equal measure.  Creepy crawlies hold no fear for you; a giant bug or stick insect - you’re the first in line to want to hold it.

Crafting and creative projects are still your favourite thing to do inside the home. You like to visit Paperchase with me and we bond over felt tips, highlighters and stationary. You encourage me to make frivolous purchase of things we don’t need, and we both come away with the happy glow that new stationary purchases bring.  Recently you have got us all colouring. A family effort, on the extending pages of your amazing colouring book. Your Dad and I love sitting and chatting with you as we all colour together. You are very family focused, you talk a lot about ‘My family’, it’s at the core of you, already a key part of your value system. I hope it stays with you.

You are a popular boy at school. You make new friends easily, but are loyal to the ones your already have.  Your imagination is still as vivid as it ever was, and you will happily ignore a football in favour of playing an imaginary game.  You are a story teller at heart, an embellisher, creative and curious too. Often I ask you in quiet moments what you are thinking about, your answers are always fascinating, your perspective intriguing.

Emotionally sensitive you are a kind and caring boy.  You are fun and carefree but aware of where boundaries lie. You like to know what the ‘rules’ are and stick to the rules; so you brush your teeth without being asked, and say please and thank you without being prompted (most of the time.) You’re not a ‘goody two shoes’ but you don’t like getting told off either. Your school report made for happy reading but it was the line; ‘His behaviour is an example to his peers’ that bought a tear to my eye. I won't lie, I gave myself a silent pat on the back. Clearly, I've done something right as I've fumbled my way through mothering my first child. 

At school you have tried hard and with determination in Year One. Writing and holding a pencil correctly has been a challenge for you. You will never know how much I have worried about you, but I do hope you know how proud I am of you for trying hard, the patience you have shown, and the maturity with which you have accepted the extra help offered to you.  

You recently joined the Beavers.  I was unsure whether to allow it, as it’s on a school night, and it seemed a little late, but you begged and begged me to let you join - until I relented. It has been a wonderful experience for you and you love working towards your badges, beaming with pride when they appear (badly sewn) on the sleeve of your sweatshirt.  On the first evening, as you entered the scout hut, with a throng of children you didn’t know, I asked “Do you want me to stay a while?”. “No Mum,” you said, without hesitation.  “You can go”. I felt proud of you and sad in equal measure. Proud you had the confidence to feel you could integrate on your own, slightly sad, that you were growing up so quickly, that the days of Mummy hanging around for a while at the back of the room were gone.  I felt sick that first hour you were there, wondering if you would be OK,  if you’d make friends and talk to others. Of course, you had a great time.

You are a happy, positive person, you rarely cry - unless it’s a sad moment in a movie, then you well up and sob. (“I think I’ll have to come back and watch this when I’m 7!”). You are a caring big brother, and I am amazed at your ability and self control to not lash out  sometimes when your younger brother smashes up one of your Lego displays or pounces on your head whilst you lie quietly on the sofa.  In many ways, you seem mature beyond your years but then, you still love hugs and cuddles, playing silly word games in bed and think dancing around the kitchen naked and talking in silly voices is hilarious - and I am glad of this, because you have your whole life to be ‘grown up’. I want you to enjoy being a kid for as long as you possibly can.

Dear Pip, at six, you are fabulous. Time is flying and you are growing so very quickly, in some ways, I wish you could, in the words of AA Milne, stay six ‘now and forever’.  Watching you grow, I realise that I need to make the most of every minute with you - cherish every moment that you want to spend with me, make the most of each opportunity when you come and take my hand and say, “What shall we do now, Mum?”  That’s what I intend to do this summer, make the most of you every day.  My wonderful, sweet boy. Happy 6th birthday. You are awesome. xxx

NB: Obviously this is late - at time of writing you are actually 6 and 6 weeks - but the facts remain the same!