How many sleeps until our party, mummy? / How many sleeps until our birthday, mummy? / And how many sleeps until MY party, mummy?
This has been the soundtrack in our house for the last couple of weeks at least. Three little boys, with birthdays two days apart – the first being tomorrow. Piled in the corner of my bedroom are party bags, pass the parcel fillers, presents and cards. There is a giant penguin cake under several sheets of foil in the kitchen, and another cake waiting to be transformed into a space rocket.
Birthday season is well and truly underway – one little boy is approaching 7, and two are approaching 5.
7 and 5.
7 and 5!
I am having a bit of trouble with this one – these ages sound…..well, not grown up; but not really like I still have little ones. In my head, it feels like the baby/toddler years weren’t that long ago, but then when I’m out and I see mums with change bags and prams, mums trying to get babies to sleep, mums heading off to baby massage classes, mums lugging around car seats and mums putting babies in highchairs I realise that yes, we are well and truly in a different stage now.
Part of me still misses the baby and toddler days, but then another part of me loves the ages we are at right now. I feel I spend a lot of time either looking back, feeling apprehensive about the future, or attempting to cling onto the present (only the good bits, obviously).
So this is my attempt to cling onto the right now – little snapshots of you, my three beautiful boys, as you approach 7 and 5.
Confident in your own quiet way, cautious, determined, hungry for knowledge, routine-loving, easily pleased, inquisitive, uncoordinated; an old-fashioned soul in a fast-moving world.
Books, maps, train timetables, names, lists, dates, football, kings, queens, dates of birth, a family tree, cosy jumpers, a hearty meal, twiddling your hair, school, answers to questions, Christine and the Queens; days at home with a pen in your hand, books and plenty of paper.
You can often be found:
At a table with a pen and reams of paper, making lists.
Sitting on your bedroom floor surrounded by books.
In the garden playing football with your own running commentary and a list of scores by the door ready to update when necessary.
Likely to say:
‘I have made up a new train line, mummy. It goes from Chorleywood to Aston Clinton.’
‘I’m going to draw another map of my made up town, North Moor.’
‘How many caps did Luther Blissett get for England, daddy?’
‘I still have quite a bit of my work to do you know, mummy.’ (Your work being your lists, charts, maps and tables – it is never-ending.)
Practising bike-riding. Again.
Not having time to finish your ‘work’.
Keeping yourself amused.
Plotting train routes.
Recalling the dates of birth of family members, the Royal Family, and 85% of Watford FC’s players.
A beautiful, affectionate, eager, sensitive, messy, cuddly whirlwind of emotions. Happy to be looked after, always ready for a cuddle.
Roast potatoes, chipped potatoes, most other potatoes, climbing, dancing, superheroes, big drums, motorbikes, skateboards, funny voices, fast slides, funny faces, cake, biscuits, ice-cream in a cone.
Can often be found:
Climbing to the top of something.
Likely to say:
‘Mummy, when can I have a skateboard?……. And what about a surfboard?’
‘I tried peas mummy and I like them. But I am only eating ONE.’
‘Can I have some more roast potatoes, please?’
‘I am NOT tired.’
A grazed knee.
A bowl of greens.
Your very precious skateboard top being in the wash.
Being told there are no more roast potatoes.
Eating all the roast potatoes.
A continually grubby face, whatever the activity.
Helpful, earnest, observant, loyal, stubborn, growing so so fast, cuddly, affectionate, independent but not keen on being alone, a snazzy dresser; sometimes shy, sometimes a performer…..And absolutely never, ever in any rush.
Observing your surroundings, parsnips, creepy crawlies, helping with jobs, feeling like a grown up, undivided attention, holding open doors, pulling funny faces, emergency vehicles, fancy dress, dot-to-dots, custard tarts, mummy’s necklaces / watch / rings / buttons; bow ties, smart hats, flamboyant shirts, doors, locks, hand-dryers, a sensor flush.
Can often be found:
Still sitting at the table long after everyone else has finished.
Drifting along at the back of a group.
Holding open doors.
Testing out toilet doors / locks / flushing mechanisms and the pedals on sanitary bins.
Likely to say:
‘But I don’t want to be LAST FOR MY MIIIIILLLLLKKKKK.’
‘Can I help you, mummy?’
‘But I can carry it all by myself!’
‘Mummy, do you remember that day when we went to the park and there were three tunnels and we saw a blue bin and two ladybirds and a butterfly?’
Being the last one to put milk on your cereal in the mornings.
Feeling like you’re not being listened to.
An incredible eye for detail – you notice everything.
Happily spending an hour over your breakfast.
Happy birthday to you, little ones, as you move into your new, more grown-up sounding ages.
Let’s see what 7 and 5 have in store.