How can it be seven years? Seven years since I found myself plunged, three weeks early, into this new role of Mum?
Seven years since I found myself dangerously ill in hospital being encouraged to make decisions I couldn’t know the impact of; not knowing if it was safe to ignore the advice of doctors who were looking at clinical evidence. Seven years since I relied on the midwives who held my hand, explaining with careful words that the Doctors’ advice was in mine, and my baby’s best interests. Seven years since the midwife, knowingly and gently, advised me to call Damian into the hospital – ‘just in case’.
Seven seems an awfully grown-up age to me. In my pre-children days, I would think that a seven-year-old was quite grown up, but I know now that really, seven is still very very young.
Seven still needs those reassuring hugs, and hand holds. Seven still wants those cuddles in the morning when he has just woken up. Seven still needs a hug when big emotions spill over and out of control. Seven still behaves in a silly way and needs reminding sometimes to curb giddiness. Seven still cuddles favourite teddies in bed. Seven still lives in a world of innocence and fun. Seven is lively, energetic and brimming with life.
But Seven is also stepping away from me; no longer needs or wants me every step of the way.
Seven storms ahead in parks, sighing and rolling eyes at me as I remind him to make sure he can see me, that he checks back to make sure I’m in sight still. Seven can’t keep still; seven is a body consumed with a need to be active, to move and wriggle, to run and climb – a body that possesses seemingly never-ending levels of energy. Seven doesn’t need me for bedtime stories, he’s more than capable of reading to himself, but will sit and listen as I read to his siblings. Seven doesn’t need me to write out things for him to copy into cards – he can do this himself (and often helps his younger siblings).
But Seven also opens up a new and exciting world. A world of conversations and education – a world in which he educates me. We compare thoughts on stories that we have read, he shared facts from the books he has read and his appetite and thirst for knowledge is great. I love nothing more than spotting him curled up on the sofa, reading a book, entering into new worlds. He had a recent and real appetite and zeal for poetry. Spike Milligan being a particular favourite and, when he turns his hand to writing some, he does a pretty good job. Poetry is an unexpected are of interest, but I should have seen it coming. Someone so consumed by books and words as he has been for so long now would surely enjoy the challenge and effect of poetry.
A new (and wonderful) interest he has developed is in history, thanks in no small part to the classes we have been enjoying on a Friday morning. He devours the information and we have completed additional, supplementary projects.
But it isn’t all plain sailing. Six has been a challenge at times, and a challenge I’ve sometimes not felt I’m up to. Frustrations with younger siblings have, at times, threatened the harmony of the house and as he enters new physical and emotional development phases it’s been tough managing it all. And it has felt like managing things. Often not very well. But there are signs of maturity developing – he is much more in tune with what’s going on and I’ve been happy to see that he has passed up opportunities to allow others to do something.
And, when he’s not with me, I’m told he is well behaved and polite, which gives me hope that we’re doing something right somewhere along the line!
Today, as Daniel wakes up on his seventh birthday he will open his gifts. He hasn’t really asked for much this year and his gifts from us are modest, a lego set, a craft set, some clothes and plenty of books. I am sure that more books will follow for him. Our bookcases are straining under the weight of books, but he reads continuously – each morning I find him on the sofa with a book or two. His bed is covered in books that he’s been reading and often my bedside table has a book or two when he has read there if Harry has gone to bed earlier (they share a room). I love this love reading and I know, if nothing else, this is the thing I have imparted to him. A love of reading.
Celebrations will be low key this year, we have had some big celebrations this year across the family so this year, his birthday will be marked by just family. He will have a wonderful day or two, I am sure and will delight in now being seven, and with it, the excitement of catching up in height to me!
Happy Birthday, Daniel!