It’s just over two months since Daniel turned 9 so this is not exactly a timely birthday post but never mind.
Physically, Daniel is the sturdiest of my children, the other two tending towards willowy/super skinny. He is taller than his brother and nearly as tall as his older sister (a source of some distress to her). He still has the most beautiful white gold hair and occasionally I will say to him at dinner, “Your hair is lovely this evening.” A remark which he invariably treats with withering contempt. He really needs his glasses and reaches for them first thing in the morning without fail. He now has grown up square glasses which is what he wants but I pine for the adorable round ones he used to have.
Daniel is very sporty. Unfortunately for him, no one else in his immediate family is. He always wants to be kicking a football but there is nobody to kick a football with. He has GAA training twice a week and a match every weekend but he is still very keen to begin rugby and soccer training (which we have steadfastly resisted on the grounds that it is hard enough for us to meet his existing sporting commitments). He plays his heart out every time. Last weekend, I went to watch him play. One of the players on the other team was as broad as he was tall. He was enormous in every way and also quite a skillful player. Although Daniel is sturdier than his brothers and sisters, he is still on the skinnier side of average and he must have been only half the size of this child. He marked him with unrelenting fervour. When this boy had the ball, Daniel stuck with him like glue. Daniel went in with his shoulder (standard GAA instruction) but it was like a pebble hitting a mountain. Still Daniel never gave up for the whole game. He was “man of the match”. I was filled with pride. One of the other parents is always a bit cross with me and Mr. Waffle as we don’t give Daniel sufficient support at home; this is true, we are never to be seen in the garden tossing around a sliotar. Poor Daniel; cursed by his family’s uselessness.
He is very thorough in his school work which is quite spectacularly neat. The work is easy for him I think but he is anxious to do everything right and in this he reminds me of myself as a school girl. He worries about lots of things. I am a constant high risk as without the slightest warning I may kiss or hug him in public possibly even near the school. As we approach the school in the morning, he usually has a hand out to stop any unwelcome and embarrassing physical contact.
He has high standards for all of us, a developing sense of duty and a very kind nature. That can be quite a frustrating combination for him on occasion and I think he sometimes despairs of his family. This can make him quite cross and inclined to leave in what Myles na gCopaleen called that “lofty vehicle, high dudgeon.”
He is very polite and will always ask solicitously at dinner, “How was your day?” He hasn’t totally got up to speed on appearing interested in the answer yet but that will come. On the phone, he always asks, “How are you?” And waits politely for your reply.
He is thorough at home also and if asked to do a job around the house will usually do it well and complete it – perhaps not happily – but resignedly. His instincts, I think, are tidy. However, he leaves his shoes wherever he decides to take them off which drives me to the brink of madness as I find them by tripping over them again. Also, his socks never seem to make it to the laundry basket and I find them in a range of unlikely places.
He loves Minecraft and plants v. zombies. He is only allowed to play the x-box at the weekends and even as I write he is blowing things up in the room next door. During the week when not allowed on the x-box, he uses his computer time to watch videos about minecraft of which there seem to be an everlasting supply (Dan the Diamond Mine Cart anyone?). He and his siblings have spent the last month building Harry Potter’s world in Minecraft and on the walk to school this is sometimes all they talk about.
He likes to read but it pales in comparison to the excitement offered by electronic devices. On television, he is very taken with Dr. Who and Father Ted. He loves Fr. Jack whom I find very dull but each to his own. It is lovely to see him laughing hysterically because he can sometimes be a very serious child who takes injustice to heart, particularly as it relates to time on electronic devices.
He continues to be very good at picking up accents. Five minutes with someone with a different accent and he will be speaking like that person. He is fond of Americanisms and many things are “awesome”. His Irish seems pretty good and he can still understand French and make the fiendishly hard vowel sounds. He has a really lovely singing voice which he largely refuses to use. He joined the church choir for a bit but had to give up as it clashed with GAA practice. He sings in the school choir and I think he quite enjoys it but he does find the spotlight mildly alarming. He often says the prayer of the faithful at mass and he speaks very loudly and clearly. I really admire his courage as he is quite nervous about speaking in front of a church full(ish) of people but grits his teeth and does it anyway.
He is interested in all kinds of things. Last night he came down to tell us that the cat was throwing up in his room and while Mr. Waffle went to kindly deal with this domestic disaster, Daniel and I looked at maps showing the origin of European words which Mr. Waffle and I had been perusing prior to his arrival (hello, and welcome to nerdville). Daniel seemed genuinely interested although I conceded it may just have been better than the cat getting sick but I don’t think so. He is a strong reader of fact books and I know a lot about “Ripley’s Believe it or Not” facts thanks to him and I think this fell into a similar category.
He continues to resist eating most savoury foods. There was great rejoicing here in Waffle Towers when the sausage was recently added to the list of acceptable foods. Usually for dinner he has crackers or toast. Fortunately, he likes milk, porridge and bread so I hope that this keeps him going. After all, it worked for the medieval peasants. He also has hot chocolate which is his favourite thing.
Like all children, he fights with his siblings, particularly his sister. He and she are quite alike and since she is two years older, she often wins by dint of superior knowledge and cunning which drives him bananas. He is more inclined to fight physically with his brother giving him a shove rather than a verbal dig but mostly they get on very well as they have so many interests in common. I often find their conversations utterly incomprehensible as they discuss arcane aspects of Dr. Who or the advice of eyeballistic squid (?).
Despite his unwillingness to appear related to me in public he is an affectionate child in private. It is nice to get a hug from him as like everything he does, he really puts his heart into it. He is so keen to grow up and be big. He can’t wait to be sixteen so that he can get “HALO”. I hope he will still be hugging me then.