Yesterday was my oldest son, Handsome’s birthday. He was eight years old. Eight years! I don’t feel old enough to be the mother of an eight year old. Eight years ago today, I was trying to work out exactly how I was considered responsible enough to be handed this small person to bring up. It was an easy and quick birth, for which I will forever be thankful, but as a result he really wasn’t tired and so, while the other babies on our ward all slept through their first night in a pethidine induced haze, Handsome proceeded to scream and scream. In the end, the other mothers had us evicted from their ward! On the plus side, I then got a private room of my own for my remaining time in the hospital.
He was an incredibly hungry baby from almost the minute he was born, and I remember wrangling a bottle of formula milk from the midwives. I was going to breastfeed, but my milk had not yet come in and he was shouting to be fed, and driving me to distraction! In this and many other ways he deviated from what I had read about newborn babies. From birth he was able to support his own head, and, if we held him upright he could stand for short periods and support his own weight. In fact, his legs were so strong that I’m sure he played as much of a part in pushing himself out of my uterus as I did!
He first slept through the night at ten days old, started on solids at twelve weeks (told you he was a hungry baby!), started teething at three and a half months, walked before he was a year and said his first word at fourteen and a half months, on my 23rd birthday. Once again, none of your textbook rubbish about saying ‘Mamma’, or ‘Dada’ (he obviously hadn’t read the textbooks) – he said ‘apple’!
He was the first grandchild born to both our sets of parents, and equally doted upon by all. As a result he was a very smiley baby.
Eight years on, he is still very loved by all his family and adopted aunties and uncles for his kind and loving character. He is especially kind to younger children (occasionally not so kind to his brother, but I suppose that is always to be expected!) and has been a great source of help, comfort and cups of tea recently while his Dad and I have been fighting off all sorts of colds and assorted germs. He is always ready for a hug, especially if I combine it with a discussion about Ben 10 or the latest adventures of Doctor Who!
All in all, he is the very model of a perfect elder son, and I look forward (not too eagerly, as time is passing all too quickly) to watching him grow into the kind and generous hearted man I’m sure that he will become.