Daniel was five on the 27th of September. So let me record what he’s like at 5 a mere month or so after his birthday.
He is very competitive and he howls when he loses and kind of game, including “who’ll be first up the stairs to bed ?”. He is a perfectionist and very annoyed when things don’t go just right. You haven’t lived until you have seen him explain, severely, to a younger team mate why an own goal is not as good as one scored into the opposition’s net. Since he is also the loudest child you may ever have met, if you were within a one mile radius of the pitch, you would have heard him.
Part of this perfectionism means that he is very thorough at homework and anxious to do Michael’s also to help him ensure that he has it right. But Daniel actually enjoys his homework and is working hard at learning to read which is finally beginning to yield results.
He is short tempered and inclined to bash his siblings when things don’t go his way. Though he is always very contrite, if he hurts them.
He is brilliant at accents though not always familiar with their origins. The other evening he was, for his own obscure reasons, chatting with his siblings in a strong Liverpool accent. “What accent is that?” I asked. “Spanish,” he replied.
He is a fast runner and holds himself very upright at all times including when running which makes him look extremely cute. He has good ball sense and really enjoys Gaelic games on Saturday morning. The Kilkenny hurling coach is particularly serious about the game and as players (4 and 5 year olds, remember) were being doled out one Saturday, he said to me, “Give me the guy with the glasses” and took Danny off to be a member of the elite squad while Michael tipped around with boys who could not yet pick up a bean bag with their hurleys. If he could, Daniel would spend all his time kicking a ball to a grown-up.
Daniel loves jokes although he has a very limited understanding as to their nature. He can be quite serious and thoughtful but when he laughs it is very infectious. He seems to be able to make and keep friends which is a useful skill.
Whenever I read him a story, he always wants me to put my arm around him. He is a great child for hugs and is always willing to dole them out to his mother. He often says, “I love you, Mummy” and is not discouraged by his sister saying disapprovingly “This is horribly lovey-dovey.” He is aware of the world around him and comments on my appearance, new clothes and new things in the house. He always wants to get to the bottom of things and he tries to reason out what’s happening or how new information he has acquired fits into his existing stock of information sometimes with comical results but woe betide you, if he suspects you of laughing at him. He is also sensitive to others and how they might be feeling which I think is unusual in a small child.
He eats nothing savoury other than yorkshire pudding and gravy; bread and butter; broccoli; pizza; and fishfingers and ketchup. All forms of meat are anaethema to him.
And we love him.