Today you are no longer 6.
My littlest child. The one who purses his lips and holds my face when he kisses me good night. The kid who lacks all naked inhibition, my tender son who randomly tells me “I love you mummy” and makes my heart grow even bigger, the one who quietly walks up to me and wraps your arms around my waist when you can see I am having a shitty day. You are the boy who still adores his older sister, despite her being of the age where you represent a typical annoying brother. You’re the one who delights in new discoveries that the rest of us find mundane or even irritating, and by doing so, you make me stop and appreciate the little things that I take for granted.
Over the past year I have recorded as much as I can of your six year old self as I feel the grains of time slipping through my fingers. You are still many moons away from adulthood, yet it feels like you are on the brink of losing some of your passionate childhood exuberance. And so I write this birthday post for you with a sense of bitter sweetness in my heart. I smile with nostalgia as I recall this collection of moments from the past 365 days that have made you just so uniquely you. These moments have shaped and defined your personality, yet some will fade, never to be repeated as you shed just that little bit more of your childhood.
This is a memoir for me just as much as I wish it to be for you one day. For these are the things I want to remember from when you were all of 6 years old. For even though next year some of these small but so significant character traits will have disappeared, there will always be the time when you were my smoodgie woodgie 6 year old angel pie (yes, I know, you keep telling me you are not a pie!). Happy birthday Jakey. I love you kiddo.
When You were 6…..
You are the ultimate little master chef! Whether it’s helping me prepare a salad for dinner using your kids knife, or insisting on doing everything by yourself, you are always eager to stand on your little step and be side by side me in the kitchen. You have even taking to watching cooking shows on Netflix, and recently you discovered the joys of a spiraliser to make zucchini “spaghetti” and thoughts this was the coolest kitchen gadget ever!
For a while, your favourite bedtime story was “Dear tooth fairy”. Your dad and I would do a silent inwards groan when you asked us to read this book for the 79th night in a row! We would read and you would pull out the little fairy notes from the tiny envelopes.
You still believe in the tooth fairy, our family birthday fairy and magic in general. But I doubt this will still be the case when it comes to your next birthday. Not because you don’t have a desire to believe in the unbelievable, but because your bigger sister keeps telling you that there are no such things as fairies and it’s mum and dad who give you money and presents for your teeth. Well you know what Jakey, after more than 40 years of life, I still believe in angels (or fairies as some may call them), so no matter who tries to take your beliefs away, I hope that you will always believe in the intangible, the magic, the mystery and the beauty of the unknown.
This. A half eaten roll. Seemed to be the story of your life when you were 6. Half eaten apples, yoghurts, corn cobs. Funnily enough there were never any half eaten chocolates, ice cream or lollies. I wonder why??
Every night before I go to bed I come into your room to kiss you and your sister goodnight when you are fast asleep. Most nights I have to manoeuvre a limb of yours back onto your mattress and under the doona and inevitably you always seem to have something hanging over the side. You’re the kid who sleeps anyway but right side up.
You lost quite a few teeth this year, but very few that we had evidence of for the tooth fairy, as the majority were swallowed! Luckily you were visited by a very understanding tooth fairy who gladly paid hard cash, despite not receiving the goods!
You are a real fruit-a-holic and eat almost every type of fruit. One of your favourites is the skin of an apple, just like your mum loved when I was a kid.
Oats has been a favourite breakfast this year. You love it when mummy makes “oats on the stove” rather than the microwave version.
You take great pride in your homework and reading. Your writing and reading advancement this year has quite frankly blown my mind. You have developed in leaps and bounds in just your second year of school and have been lucky enough to receive the most incredible education from your exceptional teachers.
When Fafa (your grandfather in Sydney) visits and makes a lolly comes out of your ear, I cannot tell you how special it is to watch the two of you. I do think that FaFa gets more joy out of your reaction than you get out of eating the lolly, and it makes my heart soar to see the close bond the two of you have.
Your temporary home made bed side table (an old drawer from Viva Str house before we knocked it down) is filled with your favourite knick knacks. You are very proud of your little display and have a special place for everything.
This was the year you learned how to tie your own shoe laces.
For many years now, you have drawn faces with big ears and hair sticking straight up. I really wanted to capture this as I can already see your drawings and people shapes start to develop and next year they make look very different. I wonder if in future your faces will still resemble creepy Hannibel Lecter from the cannibal movies?
If there was one food that marked your 6thyear, it is without a doubt corn on the cob (or mielie as your South African mum stills calls them). There were days when your dad and I thought you would start to turn yellow from all the corn you ate, and whilst that didn’t happen, you told us with pride when bits of corn appeared in your poo!!
Bedtime piggy backs. Oh how I love these and I hope and prey that we have at least one more year to hold onto them. My best is when you rest your head on my back, it reminds me of years gone by when your sleeping body would lie limply hanging over my shoulders. I pray that I get at least one more year of this as I will miss these parts of childhood terribly.
Paper aeroplanes are to be found in abundance in our house. Every size, shape, colour. In every corner, under beds, behind couches. And you take great pride in teaching your mum the correct technique in flying said paper aeroplane.
Look at this beautifully made bed with pjs folded in a neat little square. You take great care in ensuring your cushions, cuddly toys and other important belongings are placed just perfectly, with such attention to detail. I think there is an underlying subconscious reason for me to include this memoir here, as I expect this attention to tidiness will not continue and maybe in your teenage messy room years I can use it to remind you of how important it once was to you (fingers crossed).
Basketball is without a doubt your favour sport and pastime. You even have the real deal outfit to go with it!
Since you were a young kid, you have drawn intricate and detailed patterned drawings. Sometimes I watch you, you seem in a trans-like state and you know exactly what the final pattern should look like. As the year has gone by, the patterned drawings have become less frequent, I wonder if they will have disappeared from your repertorie by next birthday?
Towards the end of your sixth year, you started to brush your own teeth at night. I know that I will miss this seemingly mundane ritual where I brush your teeth for you. It’s yet another sign that you are becoming more independent and I am becoming more redundant.
I love how the little things in life delight you. Things that most people see as a painful chore, you see as a fun adventure. Like sending emails to everyone you know. Or returning library books through the chute. You usually ask me to hold onto books until you are with me so you can run out the car and pop them through the flap. I love how this is such a big deal for you.
Your best friend in the world is Angus. The two of you are an absolute hoot together. Angus has been your side kick since you started prep. I know your friendships will change so much in years to come. But I will always remember your best buddy from when you were 6.
You are the eternal joker. Always have been and I think you always will be. You see, I know you are growing up. Your body, your mind and your world is changing. But I also know that there will always be a part of this six year old kid inside you. You love playing the fool, being silly just for the sake of being silly….like wearing your pjs upside down and on your head. Nothing in your life is too serious and your toothless grin says it all.
As you enter your 7th year around the sun there is so much I will remember. I will remember you calling Carman’s muesli clusters sticky muesli. I will remember when we were in Sydney you asked me when we were going back home to Australia. I will remember you always leaving the lids off texta pens no matter how many times I nagged you. I will remember your legs in trees, your body diving into the ocean, your excitement at discovering shrinky dink art, holes in your pants that were made on a weekly basis. I will remember your favourite colour was green and that you could still wrap your skinny arms and legs around me for cuddles.
I will remember this beautiful boy and love you forever.
Happy birthday sweetheart. I love you even more than yesterday. Love Mummy