Michael was 17 on September 27 last year. Another late birthday post, alas.
Heâ€™s still reading away. Lots of everything; fact, fiction, science fiction. He’s also often first with the political and economic news which he catches up with online. His sister got him a book of archaic words for his birthday and it was hands down his favourite present and he still quotes us little snippets from memory.
He’s a big fan of dungeons and dragons type games which seem to involve writing out long scenarios in advance of play. He went to his first Comic Con recently and found it a bit dull. “Just full of stands selling things,” he said glumly although his fellow participants’ costumes were impressive.
He is in his last year of French conversation and I think he rejoices. Still he found it useful enough when he was on a school trip to Brussels in December. I think that if he ever goes to live in a Francophone country (which is not impossible) he will thank me, at least I hope he will because he is definitely not thanking me at the moment.
He enjoys a quiet breakfast alone at the weekend but is almost never granted this particular indulgence. He sticks his head round the door and then retreats precipitously when he sees everyone gathered. “The watering hole is full again,” sympathises his father.
He is interested in museums and happy to trail around them for hours. Actually, long after I have given up in exhaustion. I mean, good, I suppose. It’s funny because he is not a fan of travel and new places in general but he is enthusiastic about museums in particular.
Last summer with me off work and his brother and sister off on their own adventures, he and I spent a lot of time exploring the country. In many ways we had a good time and we have a great playlist for the car – but I can’t help feeling he would have been better off going away with friends his own age.
He’s been growing his hair, a process I found unsatisfactory but it is pretty cool, I suppose. Just not the short back and sides that I love.
Heâ€™s still extremely skinny and I find it a small miracle that he is growing. In fact, he might actually be taller than his brother now. He has, however, made a concerted effort to eat more things which I really appreciate since he clearly hates it.
We finally retired the Gap anorak which he had been wearing for years as the sleeves were almost unbearably short. He is adapting to the new coat but I wouldn’t call him delighted. He has no real interest in clothes except for warmth and comfort.
He still cycles to and from school which he does not love – who would? – but is resigned to. As it’s really the only exercise he gets, I am keen that he keep it up. Also, it is pretty practical and he is a young man who like practicality.
He continues to get on well with his brother. They have a lot in common and play cards together and talk about school and internet fads.
He and his sister are a bit like ships passing in the night. I have been pushing both boys – jointly or severally – to visit her in England but none of the parties seem very keen. I do think it would be fun for him to visit and good for him to travel on his own but this year is a bit full for Michael. Maybe next year.
He loves his mother and has no hesitation in saying so or in giving her a hug in public. Does his mother love this? Oh yes she does.
He has no interest in things and more money than he knows what to do with so he is very difficult to buy presents for. While I applaud his lack of interest in material things, it can be a bit trying for Santa.
He continues to be a wonderfully engaging public speaker and great at reading aloud, if called upon. Stage fright is utterly unknown to him. He’ll hop up and ask a question in front of 20 people or 2000 with equal insouciance. They love this in school, of course.
He has lots of opinions which he declaims with great certainty and he is utterly convincing even when wrong. This is a gift that will serve him in good stead in the long term.
Here he is “Seeking the bubble reputation/Even in the cannon’s mouth” [I did “As You Like It” in school, this is the first opportunity I’ve had to wield this line since I was 15, sue me].
He is very soft hearted and hates to see anyone upset. He loves small furry animals and cute things in general.
This academic year is a hard one and he does worry. He was a very happy-go-lucky child so I am a bit confused that he seems to be an anxious teenager. But so it is; perhaps the Leaving Cert is enough to make anyone anxious. He doesn’t really need to be anxious as he’s bright and hard working but here we are. I think he will really enjoy college when he gets there and the emphasis on doing your own research and the absence of teaching to the test will suit him. We will see.
He is extremely punctual and law abiding. The latter is definitely from me but I take no responsibility for the former.
I feel that he still has a lot of growing up to do – the period of suspended animation that was the pandemic has made things a bit strange for this generation of teenagers.
I find him a joy to be around: helpful, easy to talk to, cheerful, undemanding. Long may it continue.