Daniel and Michael were 7 on September 27. The rolling birthday party celebrations included the following:
– on September 23 a trip to Quasar with 16 of their closest friends – the trip involved positively Celtic Tiger levels of expenditure but they absolutely loved it;
– on September 27 a birthday tea at home and the opening of presents from family including many posted offerings;
– the arrival of my sister bearing gifts from herself, my brother and my parents.
I’m exhausted from it all. Is it any wonder this post is rather late in coming?
Daniel is the most boyish of boys. He loves guns, fighting and wrestling. He often says things like “Wait until you feel my fists!” of which I disapprove. I also find it mildly amusing coming from a child with the lowest pain threshold of anyone on earth with the possible exception of his brother.
He fights regularly with his sister and each of them is very jealous of the other. No privilege is too small to be fought over.
He is very sporty. He would wear vile nylon sports team tops every single day, if he was let. He will watch pretty much any sport on the television. He loves playing Gaelic games and tennis. He always wants to play soccer in the back garden. He is a very fast runner and though, with his brother, the youngest in his class in school, he is one of the fastest. He loves to play all kinds of board games/card games/I-spy but he is fiercely competitive and often howls when he loses though he tries very hard not to.
He is a prodigious reader. He read “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” while we were on holidays which is good going for a six year old (as he then was) but he didn’t seem to enjoy it much. His first loves are Beast Quest and Dennis the Menace.
He still can’t cycle (though we are making progress) or swim both of which are the fault of his parents. To be fair, I did try to start him cycling but it was hard enough going. Also, he is extremely cautious and this makes it hard for him. He insisted on wearing his cycling helmet as I ran around the back garden hanging on to him.
He loves playing with other boys and telling anyone who will listen about games he has played on the computer or on my phone. He saw his father try Super Mario for the first time the other night and he couldn’t bear to watch. Scooby-Doo is his favourite thing to watch on television.
He will eat no savoury food other than pizza and Yorkshire pudding. Every year the list of acceptable foodstuffs narrows. This cannot end well. It takes him hours to get to sleep at night and he is often to be heard padding about upstairs well after ten.
He is good at school and clever at his schoolwork. He is conscientious. He is easily embarrassed. Especially by his mother. If he thinks it is bad now, wait until he’s a teenager.
Even though he’s only 20 minutes older than Michael, he’s quite a bit bigger than him and people often take him for the older brother. We treat him like that ourselves (he is really our middle child) and sometimes, I think, most unfairly, he gets away with less than Michael because our expectations for him are higher.
He is, still, a great hugger when not in public. He is affectionate in a very practical way. He got a fob to clean his DS screen on one of his birthday cards. The other night when I went to bed, it was sitting on the hall table with an explanatory note from him “Use this to clean your phone.” Practical and kind.
I’ve never met a child as indifferent to the opinions of his peers as Michael. He is always happy to go his own way. I really hope that this lasts for him because it is a great way to be. He is very friendly and always happy to talk to strangers. He is fond of describing games he plays with his friends and games he plays on the computer. Fortunately for him, his delivery can make the dullest material sound entertaining.
On weekday mornings, his father carries him down to the couch swathed in his duvet clinging to his pillow. This arrangement is know as “Mikey’s flying bed” and he is fond of it. He drags himself and the duvet to the table to eat breakfast (only using spoons with plastic handles) and then takes himself back to the couch where he dresses under the duvet.
He likes to read now that he has finally learnt and this has stood him in good stead at school. Both the principal and his teacher have commented to me on how well he is doing. He is the youngest child in the class [by 20 minutes] and almost a year younger than lots of the other children and I worry that it was a bit tough for him socially and academically but he seems fine. Although he does loath going to school.
Michael does not like ball games much but he loves to cycle. At every opportunity he is up on his bike. He only learnt recently so I hope it will last. He loves the DS, the phone and the computer. When not playing one of these he has a tendency to mope around the house saying, “I’m bored” which is deeply annoying. He always thinks that he knows the rules of any given game better than you do.
He is quite persistent. His grandmother, foolishly in my view, said that she is considering getting a tree house for the garden. He is very taken with this idea and quizzes her on progress every time he sees her. To date he has drawn two complete sets of plans. I fear that this may not end well.
He eats very little. He has a cheese sandwich every day at school and that’s pretty much his main source of nourishment. He doesn’t even like sweets much and will usually refuse anything that’s offered. For his after dinner treat he usually has 2 cream crackers or a water biscuit, if he’s pushing the boat out.
He gets on well with his brother and sister and often stands up for them in the face of what he perceives to be parental oppression.
He was the world’s most nostalgic six year old – a characteristic I expect to continue. He still speaks fondly of his old crèche though not the food which they made him eat. He regularly recalls the day that the electricity broke down in the crèche and they all had croissants. Each one of his possessions has value including any wrappings they may have come in. He lost another tooth recently. I’m really surprised that he’s willing to give them up even for cash. Last night he waxed nostalgic about his cot (obviously gone for some time) and recalled in loving detail its colour and place in the room and how he was able to get out of it and Daniel wasn’t able to get out of his. “I helped him even though he’s bigger than me.” Deep sigh.
He really knows his own mind. He was invited to the cinema for a friend’s birthday. “It’s Hotel Transylvania, I won’t like it, I’ll be scared.” “Nonsense, you’ll have a great time,” we assured him. At 3.18 I received a call from the birthday boy’s mother, “Michael is scared and he wants to go home, can you come and collect him?” By the time Mr. Waffle arrived at the cinema, Michael had been persuaded to go back in but had come back out again, saying reproachfully to the birthday boy’s mother, “I told you so.” He’s very, very sure of himself.
I continue to be his favourite person in the whole world which is gratifying. I suppose I should enjoy it while it lasts.