You are 6 years old today. On a Saturday no less, what a treat!
You’ve been looking forward to this day for so, so long. The curse of the summer born is being the last of all of your friends to have a birthday; I know there will be a little stab of disappointment when you start back at school and realise some of your classmates are already turning 7, just as you’ve managed to catch up too! Life sucks eh? (Please note when you are my age it will be a blessing).
But today you are finally as big as everybody else and to celebrate we had your party at the (slightly violent) soft play around the corner. It was your choice but also
heavily slightly influenced by Mummy, who after years of being a performing clown and pass the parcel constructor, just um… couldn’t be arsed. Sorry darling – one day you’ll understand.
Anyway the main thing is that you loved it. You were delighted with your Lego Ninjago cake and couldn’t wait to get home to play with your presents, no longer needing so much help to follow instructions and construct them – you have grown up so much this past year.
At six you like – Yo Yo bears, Star Wars, Bionicles, talking about farts and poo, castles, space, battles, water pistols, scoring goals, going swimming, pizza, Twister lollies, zip wires, playing racing games on my phone and hunting for the perfect stick.
You really don’t like – Going to bed, the concept to sleep, sitting still, writing (‘It’s SO boring!’), homework, tidying up, vegetables, baked beans, getting dressed (we pay you to get your school uniform on, yes actually PAY YOU £0.20 per day – worth it though), doing anything vaguely helpful and pink and purple (because ‘they are GIRLS colours!’).
Going by the above lists you may have noticed that I have failed abysmally in any attempts at gender neutral parenting. You are a boysy boy with a penchant for casual violence but you have a very sensitive and innocent side too. At night you carefully arrange about 20 ‘special friends’ on your pillow and then sleep in a tiny gap on the edge of your bunk, when I come in to check on you before bed your face is often squashed right up against the bars.
You still make me promise that you can live with us forever and you can’t lie – you just haven’t fathomed the concept yet. If I say you can have ’10 goes’ of your favourite game on the iPad you count them down out loud and hand it back when you are done. It’s never once even crossed your mind to pretend you had more goes left. What a lovely little fool you are!
Like all kids there are things that you struggle with. You like school but live for playtime and this year you’ve been slightly less keen because ‘There is so much sitting down and working Mummy!’ (the harsh reality of real life has come knocking my sweet). You are just one of those guys that would rather be outside exploring, so reading and writing where never going to come easily. The world is so much more than sums and letters, I really can’t blame you.
But I’m not a competitive parent anymore, I lost the taste for that a long while back. The mix of all the things you are good, and not so good at, are the things that make you you. And no one can compete with you.
Anyway I don’t care to hear too much about the things you can’t do, more the things you can – like building awesome things out of lego, climbing, making new friends, making me laugh, playing tricks and riding your bike. You are kind, thoughtful and inclusive. You give the best cuddles. you were awesome as the Giganatosaurous in your school play!
Perhaps the biggest change in you this year is that your friends are playing a much bigger part in your life. You ask me to play with you less and less, instead demanding I ‘text’ your mates to see if they want to come round or meet you at the park. You don’t cling on to me as tightly as I say goodbye at school and although you still hold my hand, it slips from mine sooner than i’d like.
You used to be such a Mummy’s boy but you are moving away from me little by little, developing a love of football alongside your Daddy, playing games on the Xbox together and Star Wars battles with your little brother. It’s not all about me anymore and that’s ok, but this whole getting bigger malarkey was always going to be bittersweet. I’m losing you bit by bit but the trade off is getting to watch you grow and I’m so proud of the person you are becoming.
Yesterday I asked to take a picture of you, on the last day you will ever be five. I think it encapsulates you very well.
In a very rare deep thinking moment you told me ‘I’m going to miss being five.’
‘How come?’ I asked.
‘I’ve had a lot of fun being five.’ you said. ‘I hope I have such a happy life being six.’
Let’s make it even better baby!
**************P.S. My new book The Catastrophic Friendship Fails of Lottie Brooks is out on the 3rd March 2022! It's aimed at 9-12 year olds and you can buy it here :)