As Daniel said, I am finally, finally getting around to his birthday post. Better late than never.
He has started reading this blog with mild interest; he commented to Michael as he read, “I didn’t know Mummy was funny.” I suppose I can take that how I like. He was a bit offended to see that I said that he had a low pain threshold so I am honour bound to point out that on the very day of his birthday he got a lash of a hurley on his thumb and the coaches thought it might be broken. Daniel stoically trained through the pain. It was not, in fact, broken but it did swell up in an alarming way for a couple of days. He is now recovered, you will be happy to hear.
Daniel is definitely our sportiest child. He trains twice a week and has matches at the weekend. He usually has some kind of injury. In addition to the thumb incident above, he had to hop around the school for a couple of days the other week due to a toe injury; I think he might have some kind of floating body in his knee and as I write he has a scalded tongue (non-sport related but there is always something). He is nonetheless undeterred from his sporting endeavours and throws his heart into every match and every practice.
I am unable to find any record of his constant sportiness but have a serious shot of him as Michael Collins:
He likes to read – Horrible Histories, Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, things about Arsenal. He also likes to watch youtube videos. He is a big fan of FIFA video games narrated on youtube. He also loves to read poetry and following the cull by his sister has ended up with quite a number of lovely books which I often see him flicking through.
I took the children to a performance called “Katie’s Party” during the theatre festival. It was a one woman show for children exploring the theme of moving from primary school to secondary school. Daniel really enjoyed it but he is also very nervous about the prospect of moving to secondary school. This is probably not helped by seeing his sister getting through mountains of homework and being a bit of a perfectionist himself. I think I should try to get him to the theatre a bit more as he really seems to be entranced by the couple of things he has seen.
He gets on well with his brother but feels that he has to mind him. Mr. Waffle often says that it is like we have two eldest children and even though Daniel is only 20 minutes older than his brother, he definitely acts like he is a good year older. This is helped by the fact that he is considerably taller and broader. I sometimes think that it is a bit unfair on him that we expect so much from him but he is very responsible and often volunteers for tasks.
He is utterly reliable and very helpful. If you ask him to do something, he will generally get it done. On Saturday mornings he can’t play on the x-box until he has unloaded the dishwasher and, faithfully, every Saturday morning, he does it. As he is usually first up, it falls to him. Just like his father, he is an early bird and he is often up early in the morning. I hardly ever need to wake him up in the morning.
He finds his sister’s access to electronic devices very galling. Now that she has a phone and an iPad, he is on the verge of expiry from envy. He has a strong sense of injustice and this drives him crazy. He also points to her trips to London and Paris with some bitterness and although we have said that these things will come when he is bigger, I don’t think that he is convinced by us. Yet sometimes, notwithstanding everything, he and his sister can be very friendly; they share lots of interests and I hear them laughing uproariously together.
Daniel is very musical. This fills me with guilt. Have I repaired the piano? I have not. He has basically taught himself to play the tin whistle and I hear him picking out tunes on that most unforgiving of instruments with considerable success and no support from his parents. He is shy though and unwilling to play or sing outside the immediate family. He sings in the church choir and has been doing increasing numbers of readings and prayers of the faithful which he does very well and very clearly. He tells me that he is nervous but he does not sound it.
His French comprehension is still pretty good and he really makes an effort to speak as well. He needs some lessons, I think but he is a bit committed with his sporting engagements and he said to me, “It’s either music or French but I can’t do both.” I think he might be right.
He really enjoys quizzes and answering questions but it can be a challenge at home as his sister tends to cut across him. At school though, he is really coming into his own. His table is winning general knowledge stars and he is loving it. He is fascinated by facts and it is standing him in good stead. Generally, I think he enjoys school and he is loving his teacher for this year who is excellent. He has had a really good run of teachers in primary school with one notable exception. I think he’s probably easy to teach: obliging, clever, hardworking. I understand that he helps other children in the class, if they are lost and is very patient at explaining.
He can get distracted from doing his homework and let it drift on for hours. This drives him bananas but he seems unable to stop himself staring at the ceiling unless we prod him. He gets this from me. Another thing that he gets from me is that he is tidy. He is the only one of my children who is naturally reasonably tidy. He and I spent a happy morning organising his bookshelves by author a couple of weeks ago. It’s holding up wonderfully and every time I go into his room, it fills me with mild happiness – him too, I think.
When I take him out on his own without the other two, he really blossoms. He loves the attention and is so engaging and loves the mildest treat. Even when I took himself and Michael to the Sugar Loaf the other day – not his idea of an amazing treat – Michael ran on ahead and he and I walked down together and he was delighted and we had a lovely chat.
I can see the outlines of the adult he will someday become, he is in many ways a very mature 11 year old. He is moving firmly towards adolescent and a small part of me misses the adorable little boy which he is placing determinedly behind him. I suppose that this is what parenthood is all about and I am very proud of him and and how he is growing up. Seeing him change reminds me vividly how lucky I am to be his mother and how much he has grown in the last 11 years.