Our beautiful baby daughter Anabelle was born sleeping June 2010.
Blessed with the screaming arrivals of our gorgeous rainbow sons,
Alexander October 2011, Zachary November 2013 and Lucas July 2016.

After Anabelle - Raising Rainbows
Heartbreak. Joy. Death. Life. But most of all Love.

Thursday, 21 November 2019

Big is EIGHT!

In a few days time we start the birthday celebrations of Small. But it seems only right that before the next boy starts birthday celebrating, that I finally record our Biggest boy turning eight. 

Five weeks ago Big was eight. Every birthday I find so remarkable that they can possibly be that age! Getting bigger and more grown up all of the time. Xander has moved into the junior school now and with it he is suddenly so tall and lanky; outgrowing all of his clothes and costing me an absolute fortune kitting out the next size wardrobe!

I can still barely accept that he is now in the older child category of a clothes shop and school but already I fear the "pre-teen" chapter of life feeling a bit too close on the horizon.  Already we keep getting glimpses of what might be his teenage self; the boy who loves to play on the Xbox now and happy chilling with an iPad in his own space! And then there are the strops! Everyone warns you about the twos and toddlers don't they, they even warn you about the threenagers... but no-one warns you about the sevens and eights! Goodness gracious! 

My Boy Big. It doesn't feel very long ago really that I was writing your seven update. Yet here I am pretty amazed that you are now eight years and one month old. I wish I knew how to slow down time. To keep you mine and small for just a little longer.  You'll have moved out before I know it! But you on the other hand seem to wish your life away. Just like me when I was small! Still so often you talk about 'when you're a teenager' - I'm not sure what magic you're expecting to happen when you are a teenager mind you.  But, eight.  Eight now. Eight is just so ridiculous!  

Seven to Eight was a year you transitioned from infants to juniors. A year when you learnt some hard lessons about the unkindness of others. A year where you sat your first proper school tests. A year of pushing your boundaries a little bit more and striving for more autonomy. A year where I've continued to be so very proud of you.   

Back in the winter months of last year, in Year 2, it came to our attention that you had been physically bullied in school. Even now these eight months later I'm finding it pretty hard to write this down. For some reason I cannot fathom, you became a target for some completely unacceptable violence. Too frequently pushed to the ground or flung, or hit amongst other hurt.   I'm ashamed to admit that for weeks and weeks I repeatedly told you off for coming home so filthy, cross that I had to try and get your thick winter coat washed and dried overnight yet again.  Ashamed that I didn't listen closely enough to you when I should've picked it up. It broke my heart.  

In hindsight you had tried to tell me you were having a hard time on the yard and you didn't like it; but because you didn't use words that were red flags to me I didn't realise that someone, the same someone again and again no less, was hurting you so deliberately. That you were nervous to be around one of your peers.   And then, even when it all came out and I felt murderous, you had no idea that what was happening to you was bullying! Too innocent to label it in that way, too innocent to realise you didn't have to put up with it, and whats more that it shouldn't have been happening to you. 

Your kindness overflowed and even when you were the one that had been wronged, you said how you felt sorry for the person who had hurt you because he didn't know how to be a kind friend. I was so proud how quick you were to forgive and how willing you were in the weeks after to give him another chance to be a good friend. You held absolutely no grudge and that is a beautiful thing. I'm so proud of you and blown away by your resilience and kindness. 


And that is you Xander.  You might be getting increasingly stubborn and stroppy, increasingly strong-willed and assertive and pushing all of my buttons, but you are also one of the most thoughtful, kind and generous children I know. Even with my biased mother's hat on; you are the first to give your things away to your friends, first to give to others that don't have what you have, first to think about how you can be kind. What a quality to already have when you are only seven and eight years old! 

As well as being kind and generous you also continue to be an amazing helpful big brother. You have well and truly taken them both under your wing; picking up after Zac in the dinner hall when you notice he has left his things behind, opening packets for him, tidying up when he is being pretty hopeless at it and then basically obliging Lucas with anything and everything - getting him food, sorting games out, building tracks, getting him a toy he can't reach, turning the TV on, making him something with Lego, sorting the iPad out for him.... this list is pretty endless! You have no idea just how much he looks up to you. You are his idol, his very biggest brother. Always wanting to hold your hand, not mine, on the walk up to school, the gorgeousness of how excited he is when you come out of the door at the end of the school day, running up to you for a cuddle!   Brother bonds are some of my favourite things. 

This year you have done tons of growing up.  Lost more baby teeth to make eight adult teeth now creating your ever changing older boy looks. You've shot up in a year growing 8cm between your seventh and eighth birthdays. 

Then New Year 2018-19 you saw in the new year for the first time, staying up until midnight and looking pretty bemused at the midnight rituals of Big Ben, clinking glasses, sparklers and Auld Lang Syne. You were pretty pleased with yourself lasting until gone midnight though and have mentioned it many times this year since! No doubt you'll want to make that an annual event now! Haha!  I think it made you feel very grown up that you were allowed to be up so very late!   

You've done other 'older boy' things too this last year; like the high ropes at Bluestone (after always asking about them in the outdoor places you find them), discovering Xbox gaming, being allowed on the much older boy rides at Disneyland (yes you were chuffed you were tall enough for rides your brothers were not!), the enormous very high up zip wire you were old enough for more recently on your birthday day trip just because you were eight now.  And even more recently demanding a later bedtime because, and I quote "I'm eight now and I don't see why I should have to go to bed the same time as the babies anymore."  That told us then.  So now you go to bed at 7.30pm instead of 6.45pm! 

Yes, so Disneyland. We arrived on your half birthday and you fell in love with the magic of it all, just as much as you did when we went when you were almost three and a half.  Magic. I love that you still believe in magic and I already dread the day it disappears. 

 

Last Christmas 2018 it felt as if you were testing us with the elves.  You commented that they were just teddies and not real. You spent quite a few nights that month trying to catch them out; locking them in the car to prove they were really magic to get back in the house, lying on top of them in bed so they couldn't escape in the night. Really testing them. Maybe testing me.  Deep down I wonder if you really believed in the elves last Christmas but played along. But then this November you have already remembered and seem excited about the expectation and wanting Santa to send you the same elves again this year.  At the end of Year 2 you even wanted to BE Santa when you grow up. Because Xander sounds like Santa anyway, you said. I just love it.  I'm going to keep clinging onto that magic with you, before my days of Santa and the Toothfairy are numbered.  

At eight year old your favourite things are still Lego (can you ever have too much lego?), games on the Xbox, Ninjargo, Superheroes, How To Train Your Dragon, maths, science, slime and anything STEM related. Harry Potter is also starting to become quite a keen interest.  

At eight you are no longer learning the guitar (you just weren't at all keen on practice at home and just didn't seem quite ready to stick at an instrument so we wrapped that up at the end of year two) but you are still learning to swim. 

In the last 12 months have achieved your Wave/Nofio 4 and 5 badges as well as your 25m badge. You are so so close to finishing Nofio/Wave 6 too but you haven't quite got the stamina to swim three length back-to-back comfortably yet. You can do it, you don't stop or put your feet down, but you can see how tired you are, and what hard work you find that final length at the moment.  Which is hardly surprising on a Friday evening at the end of a long school week. But you my boy are now a swimmer; you are confident in the deep end and it was lovely when we went family swimming in half term that I felt more confident not to feel the need to be by your side the entire time. I knew you could do it! 

So swimming is on the way and you've recently started Karate too. You had been asking us since about February to join a Karate club so when you started Year 3 and you were still asking we joined the club that trains in your school hall. You clearly really enjoy it and you totally look the part since you had your first Gi too. We're looking forward to your first grading in a few weeks! 


You've started Year 3 now and you're in Miss Thomas / Mrs Reynolds class. You found the transition to the juniors quite tough. You've been so tired, you even complained you didn't like school anymore for a few weeks at the beginning, because there was no playing or toys in Year 3! That didn't last very long though and you love it now and as keen to learn as ever. Being in Year 3 has also meant you can join the choir which you really seem to be enjoying, and against my better judgement has meant we've allowed you to book on to your first overnight school trip for choir in January. It will be an amazing experience but I'm pretty nervous already about sending you away overnight at only the age of eight. You are very excited about it though, of course.

Otherwise in school, you are so motivated by Maths and Science lessons and have seemed really engaged in the longer texts and stories you've been studying. So far this year you've done work around The Journey Home and now you're reading Fantastic Mr Fox.  It can be quite difficult to get you to read at home though; you find the home school reading books pretty boring and uninspiring if I'm honest!    You continue to thrive and do so very well at school, meeting and exceeding expectations. Parents evening at the end of October was just lovely; we hadn't even sat down yet and your teachers were simply gushing about you as soon as we stepped in the doorway! 

We celebrated your 8th birthday with science and slime. Two of your favourite things! You enjoyed a slime party with your friends in our house hosted by Creation Station. Such joy on your face blowing slime bubbles and flipping slime - in your element! 


And then on your actual birthday day you wanted a science party after school, so out came your science kits and we made some glowing eyeballs. We finished your birthday celebrations with a trip to Heatherton Activities and Adventures in West Wales where you were thrilled that because you were 8 years and 5 days old it meant you were big enough to go on the pretty terrifying zipwire. I'll admit my heart was in my mouth until you were down safely again! Phew! 


Another beautiful year Xander, making our world so much brighter.  

I know you have got to grow up and get bigger, but you must never grow out of cuddles, you hear me?! 


You'll never know how precious you are to us. 
We love you our boy. Endlessly and always. 
Mummy and Daddy xXx






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Caz
After Anabelle - Raising Rainbows. I'm Caz, Mummy to beautiful angel Belle and my wonderful rainbow boys, Xander, Zachy and Luc. Wife to Jon. Twitter @cazem Instagram @cazzyem
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