Daniel was two on 27 September and though he had to share a birthday with his brother, he will get a belated blog entry all to himself. The effects of the birthday party still linger. Every time he sees balloons he begins to sing “Happ Birthday Daniel and Michael” and I’m pretty sure that it’s a bit unclear to him why the celebrations have ended. The birthday party itself was attended by two sets of twins in addition to the birthday boys. That’s a lot of small people and I haven’t even touched on the other children. He loved it.
Relations with parents
Daniel is a Daddy’s boy. I try to worm my way into his affections and he is quite fond of me but I come a very poor second to his beloved Papa. While he will willingly embrace his father, the only times I can regularly get a kiss from him are the mornings his father takes him to the creche. On those mornings he will stand in the hall with his chubby little arms outstretched and say kindly “big kiss, Mummy”.
Daniel is a very solid child. I find this odd as he eats almost nothing. He does, however, enjoy a number of bottles every night so this keeps him going. My advice to dieters would be to stay away from the full fat milk. He has enormous dimply knees that I can never look at without smiling. He has the softest blondest hair and pale, pale skin. He has a very endearing way of running. He sticks out his elbows and wiggles them about while trotting along solidly saying in great excitement “I run, je cours”. He also has a squint, poor mite. We are taking him to the doctor on Monday and I see a patch and glasses in his future.
Interacting with others
He is a quite a good talker and really tries to communicate. He gets cross when we don’t understand him and says the offending word repeatedly. He has learnt from his sister that, if your parents don’t understand, it is best to shout at them. He and the Princess both rejoice in penetrating voices and they often scream in high pitched harmony for the hell of it. Their parents do not enjoy this.
He isn’t bad with strangers though, over the Summer, I took him to see an old friend of my mother’s and although she was very taken with the way he would peep out at her from my shoulder and say “I shy”, I was a little surprised.
He is an empathic little fellow and more than either of the other two worries when anyone is sad. His face will take on a look of concern and he will waddle over to the weeping sibling (or whoever it is) and offer a big kiss (unless, it’s me, of course, then he just offers a stiff upper lip) . On the other hand, when he is cross, he is furious. Carrying him somewhere he doesn’t want to go is like wrestling with a kangaroo. He has this trick of arching his back and flailing his limbs so that his (considerable) weight puts you off balance. I don’t think he realises that this will make him land on the floor one day – he just knows that it makes him harder to transport, and that’s the main thing.
His sister has two Doggies (Home Doggy and Travel Doggy – regular readers will know the latter is a – very expensive – spare because the thought of losing Home Doggy is frankly too terrifying, even now that she’s four and half). Until very recently, Daniel and Michael were never so dependent on a toy/blanket/whatever you want to call it. In bed, they will cuddle up to an old T-shirt, but any T-shirt will do. However, in the last few weeks Michael has become very attached to a teddy bear which he also takes to bed (with a T-shirt and a bottle). Sometimes he won’t let of of any of these treasures, so getting him into his pyjamas can be tricky. And Daniel ? Just a T-shirt, thanks. He’ll even give this to Michael, if Michael is upset.
Daniel is very good at sharing, which is just as well. When you ask him to share, even a favourite toy, he will. He may say no a couple of times but eventually he will hand over whatever it is with a small sigh.
Daniel is the only one of my children who has inherited what my parents and siblings describe as my mania for tidiness. I would say that everything is relative. My father always says that my grandmother was very tidy and always throwing things out. My parents live their lives in reaction and nothing has been thrown out of their home. Ever. “We are not part of the throwaway generation” my mother informs me severely. My brother went to a science museum in Manchester and he saw our electric fire. Whenever I go home my parents tease me by doing this deeply irritating thing, whenever they can’t find something, they ask me whether I have thrown it out. The most unlikely things “there was a cheque there for 500 euros, did you throw it out?”. I digress. Poor Daniel is obsessively tidy. He cannot sit down to eat unless everything has been put away. This is an instinct I have every sympathy with but sometimes I wish he would just sit down and eat his dinner. When he has put things away, he straightens up the boxes and beams with pleasure and pride.
Up to now Daniel and his brother have shared a wardrobe. I notice though that there are now a number of items that Daniel regards as Michael’s. “Michael’s pyjamas” he says firmly, if I try to put on the ones with the frog pattern. “Bear” he says pointing to his tummy, indicating that his pyjamas are the ones with the bear.
Ever since he was very small, he has loved books. He is still very happy to sit turning the pages of a book he likes. He is fond of T’choupi, the world’s dullest mole and thanks to the efforts of his sister over the years we must have about 20 different tales of the home life of the mole. Paradise.
Ideally, I think Daniel would like to watch more “Postman Pat” on the television but we are cruel and heartless and don’t let him. Sometimes he sits in front of the television hopefully just praying that someone will turn it on.
He loves songs; two songs to be precise. All summer long we had to listen to “Gugusse” and attempts to try other songs were not welcomed. Now, everywhere we travel we are accompanied to the cheerful strains of “Il était un petit navire”. My sister gave him a phone that you can record on and I have sung a couple of lines from the boat song. He wanders around the house beaming with it pressed against his ear until his brother, suspecting it may be more entertaining than his own identical phone whips it from him.
Even though he was born on a Tuesday, my elder son is really Friday’s child – loving and giving.
Happy birthday, my fabulous little boy. And here, to celebrate is a slide show demonstrating how big you’ve got since last September.