Now you are four!
Didn’t we have a grand old birthday weekend? A night in a lovely hotel on Friday, and a walk round central London on Saturday. We saw the duck boat on its way to the Thames but decided it was too cold to get on one ourselves. You gave a big cheery wave and a hello to every policeman that we saw, but didn’t like watching the guards changing over outside St James’ Palace because you thought their guns and big heavy boots were too scary.
Then home, for your proper birthday; far too many presents from all your generous family and friends – including this wonderful painting of Old Jack’s Boat by DorkyGranny – and so, so much food.
It amazes me, that tummy of yours. It seems you can always fit a little more in… especially if it’s roast potatoes or chocolate cake on offer. But then seeing you constantly running around – climbing under one thing and jumping over the next – it’s no surprise that you need a lot of energy to fuel the engine.
The fact that I accidentally put just three candles on your cake instead of four means there’s probably some tiny part of me deep down that thinks time is passing too quickly. But I love watching you grow up. Being your Mummy, and seeing the person you are developing into, is the thing that makes me proudest in the world.
I’ve already written a post recently about how kind you are, how sweet and how sensitive to how other people feel. That comes from inside your heart, I think. No-one can teach you that.
But there are times when you do remind me a lot of myself. Often when you do, it’s because you’re driving me crazy. Just when I’m about to get cranky with you, I get a flash of recognition and realize exactly whom you’ve inherited that character trait from. Your stubbornness – oh my word. Your love of routine, and how unsettled you get when that is disturbed. Your deep-rooted need for long sleeps and regular meals, and what a terrible mood it puts you in if those things don’t happen. The fact that you can’t take a compliment – you are so Scottish – and turn your back if we try to pay you one. Your ability to get completely lost in some activity – a book or a game on the iPad – to the complete exclusion of anything else. Your perfectionism… it amuses and frustrates me in equal measure that if you’re drawing a picture and it goes wrong you rip it up and start again instead of correcting your mistake. I used to do the same, sometimes still do.
You have so much of DorkyDad in your character too. You have boundless energy – both mental and physical. You let rip with your big, loud laugh in public places, without an ounce of self-consciousness, and love making other people laugh too. You are so impatient (which is a tricky blend with that perfectionism…) I admire your sense of adventure, which you have inherited from DorkyDad, and I’m a little sorry that it is tempered by the caution you have inherited from me. You like to know the specifics of how everything is going to be – we have to talk through holidays and days out in exacting detail, long in advance. You like to be reassured. Sometimes you and DorkyDad sit side-by-side on the sofa, frowny-browed, your faces scrunched up in concentration as you work through a handful of jellybeans. You look so much like each other. You make me smile.
There is not an ounce of guile or deception in you yet. That honesty is double edged. If you love people, you let them know it, full on. The words ‘I love you, I like this, I’m having so much fun’ come to you so easily. If you’ve had a telling off, from me, or at nursery, you don’t try and hide it; you rush straight to DorkyDad when he comes home from work and spill it all out.
But the flipside is that you’re equally honest about the things you don’t like. If you’re tired of someone’s company you tell them straight up that it’s time for them to go. You comment on clothes, and haircuts and birthday presents without any filter of tact yet. And it makes it hard to have secrets. On Mothers Day morning you rushed up to me, saying, “I can’t wait to see your flowers Mummy!”
“What flowers?” I asked.
“Oops. The ones I’m not allowed to tell you about.”
You feel everything with such passion that it must be exhausting – every giggle comes right from your belly, every tear is full of anguish, and every new day is met with complete enthusiasm. No wonder you sleep so well at night, snuggling into bed with Binky and usually nodding off in about ten minutes.
There are so many little things, every day, which I want to remember about the age you are now. All of your phrases that we’ve now adopted as a family – I think my favourite is still ‘thumb pie’. You may be four, but you still love a good suck of that calloused thumb, and are kind enough to offer it round to everyone else too. Your clumsiness – I’ll hear a thump from somewhere in the house, and your little voice will call out ‘don’t worry Mummy. Crash Dawkins does it again.’ I love your curiosity, the way you pore over your atlas, wanting to learn about other people and places. You cock your head to one side when you’re listening to music, before dancing with enthusiasm in the middle of the floor or, even better, in front of a mirror. You use big long words without really knowing what they mean. You can be a lazy dog sometimes, not really bothered about learning to dress yourself, or get your own shoes on. But you’re a fusspot too, and if someone arranges something in a way that doesn’t match your standards you’ll get such a grouch on. Humph. You tell jokes all the time, most of them really bad ones. You’ve suddenly developed a real interest in drawing things – complicated scenes like ‘Mummy on a stretcher being sick in the back of an ambulance’. You get frustrated with yourself when you struggle to write numbers and letters without wobbles, and frustrated with me when I remind you that it all takes practice and patience. It can be hard, sometimes, being four.
But it can be great too. I hope you always want to help around the house as much as you do now, and that you always find emptying the dishwasher such fun. I hope you stay confident, and continue to walk into every room assuming that people will like you and be interested in you. I hope you keep saying hello to everyone you walk past on the street, and I especially hope that you keep shouting at drivers who don’t stop at zebra crossings. You’re right; they really are rude and silly.
I tried to look through my phone photos from the last year and choose one to accompany this post that really captures you, but I can’t. Although you like simple pleasures, you are a complicated little soul, and there are a hundred different DorkySons; maybe a thousand. I love having a camera phone because it means I’ve caught so many of those little moments that would have slipped by otherwise. Watering the flowers in a friend’s garden, with no trousers on. Trampolining. Howling with laughter on the swings. On your bike, on a scooter, on the sofa. Slurping milkshake. Picnicking. Eating strawberries. Jumping in the snow, in puddles, in leaves. Wearing your shades. With Granny. With Grandpa. Self portraits (a lot of them). On a bus, a ferry, a train. Baking, being a mechanic, eating ice cream, wearing a crown, opening presents… What a year you have had.
Thanks for sharing it with us. Thanks for loving us like you do, DorkySon, and for letting us love you in return. When you fling your arms around me spontaneously, or snuggle into DorkyDad’s lap with a book, you can’t imagine how good you make us feel.
Happy Birthday, wee man.
Let’s make this another year to remember.
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