Today I have an 8 year old son.
Eight years means the days of me calling you my ‘baby boy’ are disappearing fast, despite my heart clutching at the tails of father time to stop him moving forwards. Eight years means you are still in the throes of childhood exuberance that can only exist during these wonder years of innocent dreams when everything is your play ground….yet eight years also means you are inches away from the precipitous edges of the teenage years and the beginning of what may be an eternity of tumultuous parenting for me, and a new world for you filled with equal measure of independent opportunities and challenges.
But we are not there yet (phew!), and today I look back on the year that was when you were all of 7 years old. As I sort through photos and memories, I am struck by how much you have changed physically and emotionally. Just one year’s worth of photos show significant amounts of growth hormone and bone-growing DNA that has been working away on your body during these past 12 months. A couple of weeks ago we had a bath together, something we have not done in years. You pretty much took up the entire bath space with your long limbs, but still insisted on rubber ducky joining the fun. It was a juxtaposition moment that really struck me…your body and mind has grown physically and emotionally, yet you still have that innate desire for play. Whilst you will never be 7 years old again, I hope that all your desires for rubber ducks and other childhood elements will be part of you for many years to come.
So here are just a few of thousands of moments that I want to remember from when you were 7…before these characteristics and quirks fade away to make way for your 8 year old self. For that is both the glory and the agony of raising children. As parents we get to witness the magic of our kids growing up at the same time that we wistfully lament the days gone by. And this is why I record this birthday message. It’s both your and my time capsule to cement your 7 year old self in the annuals of time forever. To remember the one and only time in your life where you Jakey, were all of 2555 days old.
You are meticulous when it comes to making your bed. From folding your pyjamas perfectly to lining up your collection of soft toys and cushions, you take great care in perfecting your bed making routine.
Tomatoes and Salad
Two of your favourite foods. You eat bowls and bowls of the stuff…what a dietitians dream!
My Kitchen Helper
Your joy for cooking and helping me in the kitchen has not yet waned and I really (like really) hope it doesn’t disappear. Whether it’s watching cooking shows, helping ‘scrape’ the carrots or starting to photograph your food (just like your mum!), I am grateful to share my love of cooking with you kiddo.
The Year of Hospitals
This was the year when you decided to break your record for hospital visits. From your broken collarbone in November to cracking your head open in the river in Bright in January and then flying off the couch and splitting your skin above your eye brow in Noosa in April, it became a bit of a sadistic joke that you liked to visit hospitals whenever we went to a new town. During our recent holiday, in your final few months of 7 years of age, we were visiting very remote towns in far North Western Australia. I had images of having the royal flying doctor pay us a visit and as much as I am sure you would have loved to add a flying ambulance to your collection of hospital stories, I was beyond relieved that we never had to include a hospital visit as part of our holiday itinerary.
Your favourite thing to do at your grandparent’s house is to lie on the couch upstairs with the leopard print blanket and watch movies for hours and hours.
Actually, come to think of it you are quite impartial to any couch and blanket with a movie!
You love visiting the arcade game places where you exchange thousands of tickets for a piece of plastic cheaply made in some factory in China. A few months ago we spent a morning there playing games and you took ages agonising over what to choose and ended up with this Newtons cradle. Within about 30 seconds of its first use it landed up a tangled mess of knots and in the bin. You were upset for days afterwards 🙁
Garmin Found and Garmin Lost
This was the year you got a garminwatch for your birthday…..and also the year that you lost it not once but twice. Unfortunately your good luck only lasted for one loss when it found its way back to its owner and the second time no such luck!
Oats on the Stove
"Mummy, can I please have oats on the stove for breakfast". I love how you differentiate between the different oat varieties and this is your special breakfast request almost every school morning.
The Tall One In Our Family
Last year you overtook your sister in shoe size and this year in height. You will definitely be the tallest in our family one day and let's just say you definitely did not get your height genes from your dad's side of the family!
When I look back on previous birthday blog posts I see that some things haven't changed....like you sleeping cross ways on your bed with limbs hanging all over the place.
You are still a complete water baby who loves nothing better than being in any body of water....be it the ocean, pool or a water hole in nature. This year we built our new house with a pool. Before it was even full of water, you were already jumping in with your friends and pretty much did not get out for all of summer.
Coles Stickeez....and then Coles Minis
Just like your sister with her Coles minis, these tiny pieces of plastic garbage became the bain of my existence yet something I admittedly still bought into it (bought being the main word given it was a measly one stickeez for every $30 spent at Coles). Oh there were tears when you couldn't find some of these little figurines that had disappeared in the corners of your room and who knows where else...but eventually you got the full set! And as much as I hate to admit it, as I type this you are in the midst of the second wave of the Coles Minis hype and yes, I am still organising swaps with other people on Facebook despite swearing I would never do that again!
This was the year you started to learn how to play the trumpet. You have shown a real knack for this instrument and music in general, however I am not sure if your passion is there as at time you express ambivalence. So perhaps this won't be an entry in next year's birthday post. I will be really disappointed but then it's not my life to lead, for I am a mere observer who watches as your nimble fingers produce the sweetest of musical notes .
2019 was the first year that our Melbourne family finally started getting into the AFL craze that grips the rest of the state and that was thanks to you. You joined a new footy team and have become fixated with your footy cards. I love watching your rip open a pack of cards in anticipation...will it be a lucky star wild card or a really good Carlton player?
For the Love of Reading
This year of reading is bittersweet for me. Most night's you read quietly to yourself and will stay up as late as possible devouring one of your favourite books like the Weir-Do series and the Storey Treehouse books. I love watching you in the quiet light but at the same time my heart is nostalgic for the nights of yester-year when I still read you bedtime stories.
Why Walk When You Can Climb
If there is something to climb, you will! Never one to take the straight path but always looking for the adventure...be it the leaves to kick as you walk past or the rocks to jump over. I think this innate nature of yours has led to some of the many hospital visits this year but despite your activities increasing my rate of heart failure, I wouldn't have it any other way. I hope this boy in you lives forever as you become a man and that you always find your special tree to climb.
Whenever I am not sure where you are in our home and all is quiet, I can find you right here at your little desk, with only the sound of pencil strokes as you draw free hand the most intricate designs of bunnies and robots and whale sharks and entire cities with stories to accompany your imagination.
Angus has been your best buddy since your first day of prep nearly 3 years ago. I know your friendships will change so much over the years but I want to remember this time, when friendships were innocent and complete and always full of so much laughter.
Wow, what an improvement a few months can make. You started playing this game a few months after you turned 7 and in the beginning I think you expected the ball to shoot itself into the net without you moving your legs at all. Less than a year later and you are definitely the star of your team. Now, can you pleeeeeezz stop bouncing the ball inside!
I think some chemical reaction has taken place in your body this year which has quadrupled your dose of growth hormone that your brain is telling your body to send to your limbs. When I look at these long skinny arms and legs I blink to make sure I don't completely miss this way too fast pace of growth. Sometimes (actually make that all the time) I want to bottle you up and keep you little. There are still days when you let me carry you to bed or pick you up for a great big cuddle. I cannot bear to think that next year this may not be possible anymore.
When You Were 7...
- You hated having a serviette near you when eating and this caused many a dinner time frustrations
- You would always preface a story you were telling about an event that had occurred with "so"
- I would sometimes lie next to you in bed at night and you would tell me little tidbits about your day
- We would take Cino for summer evening walks and chat about our days
It's these little moments that I want to remember and cherish. When I think of you as a 7-year old, you will always be the kid with a mischievous grin who wants life to be funny. My birthday wish for you is that you never stop living on the bright side.... from 7 up to 107.
A Birthday Interview
How old are you ?8
Who is your best friend? Angus
What is your favourite subject at school? PE
What is your favourite colour?Green
What is your favourite food?Lollies
What’s your worst food? The gross beans
What song do you like to sing? My team song (East Malvern Knights footy song)
What do you like to do with Evie? Nothing
What do you like to do with mommy? Play games
And daddy? Play games
What is your favourite birthday gift?Foosball
What do you want to be when you are bigger?A basketball player or referee
What makes you happy? When things are funny
What makes you sad?When Evie punches me
If you could have three wishes in the world what would they be?
- Have all the money in the world
- Do lots of sport
- Have a super king size bed
What is something you are really good at? Drawing
What is something you would like to improve? How will you do it? Footy. I will practise
What is your favourite book? 117 Storey Treehouse
Where do you like to go on the weekends?Luna Park
What is the best part of your birthday? Getting presents
If you could change one thing in the world what would it be? Get lollies every day
What are you grateful for today? That it’s my birthday
What is one goal that you would like to achieve when you are 8 years old? Spend more time with my family