As of 7.35 this morning, I am now the (mostly) proud owner of a six-year-old. It seems somewhat inconceivable, not just that six years have passed in the blink of an eye, but also that I’m grown up enough to have a child of six, when a lot of the time, I still feel like I’m playing at being an adult. But the calendar doesn’t lie; The Boy is most definitely six.
This year’s birthday has, without a doubt, been The Boy’s most exciting yet. He’s been ticking off the days on a homemade calendar since October 1st, and I don’t think anyone was remotely surprised to hear him creeping downstairs at a very apt 6am this morning, on the pretext of letting the cat in, so that he could have a sneaky peek at his present pile.
This year, The Boy knew exactly what he wanted (a new bike and the Lego space range) and he wasn’t disappointed. Nope, the disappointment was all mine when I realised that he’d unwrapped the majority of his presents while I was in the loo. The other half apparently ‘couldn’t stop him,’ which in reality probably means was too busy playing with his iPhone to notice, but there you go.
Anyway, I’m not one to hold a grudge (much), and The Boy’s all-day-long excitement made up for me missing the great present unveiling. He rode his new bike to school and was very proud when some older boys pronounced it ‘sick.’ I believe that’s a compliment… He came home and, mercifully, eased my guilt at not having baked him a cake for the first time ever by pronouncing the Tesco-bought effort bedecked with Lego minifigures ‘fabulous.’ He spent the whole afternoon assembling a small-scale version of NASA on the lounge floor, and nearly combusted when he added up his birthday money and realised he’d accrued a whopping £70.
To me, this has been the year when The Boy has morphed from tiny tot to a proper young man. Physically, he looks so much bigger and older than he did this time last year; the change in him in the past 12 months has been more pronounced than in any other year. And developmentally, well, he’s not a baby any more, that’s for sure. Okay, so he’s still prone to moments of indescribable stupidity, and only yesterday I discovered that he’d eaten the nose pads on his glasses yet again, but he bowls me over on a regular basis with his knowledge, his vocabulary and his learning. It’s amazing to think that just a year ago, he was only beginning to read and write. Now he can read pretty much anything you put in front of him, writes with increasing accuracy and looks set to overtake me in the numeracy stakes by his seventh birthday.
He’s also becoming increasingly wily. In the past 24 hours, he’s negotiated the right to receive pocket money and the right to stay up later at weekends, on the strength of being six. And as a special birthday treat, he was allowed to stay up later this evening to finish building his Lego. It may be a school night, but I was happy to oblige, especially when he said that he wanted to spend some time with us after The Baby had gone to bed. He has taken the arrival of his little sister in such good grace, and does a sterling job at keeping his jealousy under wraps; the least he deserves is a bit of uninterrupted mummy and daddy time.
So, all in all, it has been a successful birthday. The bike has been ridden, the Lego has been built, and the one-to-one time has been enjoyed, by both of us. It’s been lovely to see his excitement and enthusiasm, and to see him really enjoying his presents rather than just losing himself in a frenzy of wrapping paper and greed. But for me, the highlight of the day was when he was snuggled up on my lap in his pyjamas, and told me that I was the best mummy he’d ever had.
‘But I’m the only mummy you’ve ever had,’ I told him.
‘Yes,’ he replied, ‘but when I was just a seed and needed a tummy to grow in, I wished that I could be in yours, and my wish came true.’
I think that means he’s had a good birthday, don’t you?