My dear, sweet DorkySon turns five today.
Where do I even begin writing about how he has grown and changed in the last year? It is beyond anything I could ever have imagined. He has always been fun. He has always been smart, and kind, and made me laugh, but in the last twelve months he has become a person I genuinely enjoy spending time with. Not because he’s my son, or because there is any obligation, but because he rocks.
He is the most loving boy. He likes to bump his bottom down the stairs, and lean through the banister to give me a kiss on every step. He delays getting dressed in the morning, by saying “One more snuggle, Mummy. Just one more.” He will tiptoe over to me, while DorkyDad is cooking pancakes for Saturday breakfast, and whisper in my ear, “You go that way, and I’ll go this way – we’ll meet in the middle and give Daddy a kiss bomb.” And so we do. As DorkySon says, you can never have too much love.
In the last year, his imaginative play has exploded. I have already blogged about Jake, but it goes way beyond that. Instead of lining up our chairs in the hallway to build a bus, now we pull on our snow boots, hop in our Hagglund, and zip across Antarctica, searching for penguins. We toast marshmallows over a campfire in the bush. We are cricketers and chefs, mechanics and builders, pirates, knights and cowboys. We go to the moon at least once a week, and fall over laughing when the lack of gravity gets the better of us.
DorkySon has started kindergarten, three days a week, and is learning all the new routines that come with that. When he comes home in the afternoon he is exhausted, needs ten minutes alone to bounce on the sofa and off the walls before he settles down with a book and a plate of fruit. He gets stickers, for being a good packer-upper, and a careful listener. Last week it was the sports carnival, and he was so excited by the half-mile journey on the school bus. He didn’t want me to go and watch – so I didn’t, I understand that part of him – but apparently he was the only one to balance the beanbag on his hat the whole way, and he ran every race with a smile. When other parents talk about my boy’s ‘quiet confidence’ I think I am going to pop with pride.
My sweet little guy still takes life very seriously. He talks about things way beyond his ken. He asks me if fish cry. He wonders if soldiers would be kind to him, even if their bosses told them not to be. He would like to be vegetarian when he grows up but apparently now ‘the time is not right’ because he still likes sausages too much. He tells me that heaven is all white, and full of rainbows, but he wonders why, if you get there and decide you don’t like it, you can’t just come back again.
Sometimes there are monsters under his bed, or crocodiles in the shadows, and his sweaty little head needs to be stroked back to sleep. Last night he needed reassurance that neither a fox nor a beaver would eat him in the night. When we travel, he worries about forgetting a bag, or missing the plane. When we’re in the car he is the world’s worst backseat driver, calling out what colour the traffic lights are on, reminding me to indicate, and always, always critiquing my parking.
But the best times – and they are happening more and more often – are when DorkySon is so busy having fun that he forgets to worry. When he skips along the side of the swimming pool. When he challenges DorkyDad to a wrestling match, or a game of dominoes. When he pulls his step up to the kitchen counter and helps prepare fried chicken, or pancake mix, or salsa. When he runs in the sprinklers, waters the flowers, or catches raindrops on his tongue. When he sits at the table, frowning in concentration, and draws page after page of beautiful, bright drawings.
DorkySon is surrounded by such kindness; I don’t think he will fully recognise it until he is older. It is astonishing. The elderly neighbour from Hertfordshire who sent three crisp ten-dollar bills in his Christmas card. The lady in the local store who sees him coming and wraps up a cocktail sausage in a paper bag. The man who drove us to Heathrow last September, and was so taken by DorkySon’s constant chatter on the M25, that he emailed a few weeks ago to ask for our address and sent along a model Eddie Stobart truck.
This year, as we have every year, we offered DorkySon his choice of birthday celebration. He could have had a party, or a boat trip, or dinner in a restaurant. He could have gone to the zoo, or to the park, or up Mount Wellington. But, as he has every year, he asked to keep it simple – penne pasta for dinner at home, a chocolate cake, and a number 5 balloon.
Happy Birthday, little mate. You’re the best.