On this date 11 years ago, at exactly this time and on this very day too, I heard and felt a pop. It had been a long, hot day – in fact, we’d been enjoying a heatwave similar to this year’s. I’d got up early and spent most of the day in the garden: weeding, tidying, cutting grass, clipping the big rhodedendron and the rose bushes. I’d also done a mammoth washing and ironing, for the Big Yin’s forthcoming holiday. I also found time to do a little cooking, tidying and bag packing. And it was only when I stood up from a late tea, that something happened.
That happening was the start of the arrival of Boy Wonder. The contractions started coming thick and fast but I was filthy, so into the bath I went. The heat simply quickened the pace. By 10pm I was in the hospital: by 11, in the birthing pool; by 1am, in delivery, fending off all offers of drugs; by 3am, he’d arrived. Always in a hurry, right from the start.
He was long, very long. He unpacked his limbs and lay placidly on my chest, gazing up at me, eyes wide open. Lashes to die for, even then. I don’t think he’s ever been still for such a long time since.
At 11 weeks, he first rolled over. By five months, he was crawling, discovering the joy of bolting up the stairs at the grandparents a month later.
There were some toys, games and books he never tired of. The little stars play gym/piano/push along; the Moose in the Hoose (thank you Matthew Fitt and James Robertson for hours of fun); We’re going on a bear hunt; Lego (Duplo was too lumpy for his fine motor skills); playdoh; pots and wooden spoons; little plastic soldiers (inherited from his brother and augmented ever since); How to Catch a Star. This is a boy with an endless repeat function – what is that about?
And he is still long, he has limbs which seem to go on forever. A sportsman’s body, excelling at all he tries, though he often doesn’t try hard enough. Just enough and no more, that’s his motto, and why should he when he doesn’t need to? Class champion every sports day with barely a sweat broken. A natural musical aptitude too – how proud I was when he led the percussion section in the school nativity in Primary 2, keeping perfect rhythm and as is his wont, everyone else right. Singing in the school choir, playing the flute, humffing about both at every opportunity.
Because lordy, does this boy have an attitude. An answer for everything, a bletherer, an opinion and a counter argument. He would argue that black was white and frequently does. I wonder who he gets any of that from?
We’re hitting the hard years. Neither baby boy nor man child. Something inbetween and completely unsure what. A sudden interest in how he looks, though thankfully still maintaining a healthy, boyish disinterest in washing. Apparently, it’s okay to wash your face only on a Wednesday.
A bright and shining star, this is a boy destined to go far. Counting at the age of two – no, really. A huge vocabulary – over 100 words at a year old. But only if he can be bothered to get out of his pyjamas, for this is a wee home bird, happy to loll around, resting up, waiting for events rather than making things happen.
He wants a dog. We’ve been weighing it up for months now. He’s great with dogs and animals generally, but we all know who gets the joy of walking, vetting and cleaning up after them. And he’d like a baby brother or sister, of which there is no chance. Which is a shame because he’s great with wee ones too. Thoughtful, kind and patient.
If his brother is the child who will always land butter side up, this is the one who would insist on butter and jam, not give in until he got them and then insist on them being on separate plates. Oh, they’re funny together. Big and small, two sides of the same coin, polar opposites. But their adoration for and loyalty to each other brings tears to the eyes.
For this is my Boy Wonder. And he is wondrous and wonderful in equal measure. And when it’s him and me on our tods – as it so often is – he makes me feel whole and complete. He is curious and chatty and charming. And very, very funny. A joy to spend time with, particularly when he allows himself to just enjoy the moment. I adore every sharp and soft angle of him, every idiosyncratic inch. Even if I spend more time than is healthy also worrying and fretting over whether any of my good enough really is good enough.
Because this is a boy who needs more, a bigger world, a grander stage. He is always searching for more, never satisfied in the present, wanting to know how and when and where and what happens next. This one is a seeker and I hope eventually, he finds it. And when he does, whatever it is, he’ll be brilliant, quite utterly brilliant at it.
Happy birthday, Boy Wonder. You might be turning eleven and growing up, oh so fast. But you’ll always be my wee Sunny, Sailor Boy.