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.

Monday, 9 November 2020

Big is Halfway to Eighteen!


Xander has been NINE for nearly a month and I still can't get over it. 

What a giant he feels these days and a shining example of young man he is becoming.  It is shocking how tall he feels up against me. Standing just shy of my chin. Tall, slender and increasingly long limbed.  Growing out of clothes yet again.  I wonder how many years now before he is as tall, and taller than me... it can't be many.  He seems to have grown up overnight. In height, looks and maturity.  The strops that I described last year are all but gone. That isn't to say he is never stroppy or that he never speaks to us with a total attitude; but this year of 2020 has seen him mature so much, reacting like a young man and becoming more helpful in a way that he wasn't before. Maybe forced to mature, because the world became such a crazy place to be this year. 

Mostly I'm shocked that this birthday marks the half way point of childhood, in official terms at least.  Half way through his life as a child. Not that boys really grow up at the age of eighteen of course, we all know that! 

Xander, it always astonishes me how quickly a year goes by and that I'm emailing you the snapshot of your year again. Eight was definitely the year of maturing. Reacting and behaving more responsibly. Taking it on the chin and accepting the consequences when you don't behave appropriately. Becoming ever more helpful around the house (even if sometimes it is for the bribe of some pocket money!); getting ever better at tidying up, entertaining your little brother (even when you don't want to!), helping make breakfast for you brothers or taking the recycling out to the bins.  

There was even a time this year where you washed up for us because the dishwasher broke down.  I reminded you that a dish washer was still a luxury item to have in a house and that a good deal of people still didn't have one in their kitchen like we have.  "Well how do people wash their dishes then?" you asked.... in a sink with water and soap Xander... "That's weird" you said!     You didn't find it so weird when it earnt you £5 for doing it though! Haha! 


You continue to be your brothers hero. They endlessly look up to you, want your attention or to play with you. Zac loves it when you join in his games and plays pretend in the way he wants to , and I know he absolutely loves that he can play Minecraft with you too now and be big. I also know it feels like Lucas doesn't leave you alone, that even when you're there quietly trying to play a game on the iPad of Xbox, or watching something on the TV that he constantly jumps on you, pesters or whines at you. I know it can be completely annoying to be the biggest, I was the biggest too. But they just simply love you, because you're always being such a good big brother to them.


One of the first thing you did when you were eight was take a tumble on the yard that sliced a flap off your knee and filled it with gravel. For a minor injury, I must be honest, I found it pretty stomach churning. Doctors having to lift it and wash out all the gravel (and you experiencing your first experience of gas and air!). But surprisingly no stitches. Stuck back together with steristrips, a double check with the A&E doctor again the next day and then about three weeks worth of visits to the practice nurse for dressing changes. It was pretty gooey and now you've been left with a scar that you'll probably have forever! 

Then you had a lovely couple of months. Whizzing through a short block of Speech and Language to resolve those sh, ch and j sounds following on from your time when you had your hearing loss. Loving your new hobby karate, thrilled with the Gi you had had for your birthday and earning yourself your red with white stripe belt before we had even got to Christmas. Enjoying Daddy and you days out to the Avengers Station and a Morgan and West Science Show, and a Mummy and you day out to the cinema. You had joined choir in school and were really enjoying singing and feeling especially grown up when we agreed you could on the choir trip to Birmingham to sing with the Young Voices choir event 2020. 


The big one. Your first overnight trip from home that wasn't sleeping at Nana and Bampi's. Sleeping in a youth hostel overnight with your teachers and choir friends after a performance in the World Resorts Arena. We were able to go up and watch the performance and it was such a buzz and joy to see you sing in such an epic event, with 6000 other children and famous singers and dancers too. What a wonderful experience for you, even if it did feel very strange that we were not bringing you home with us at the end of the show. You haven't stopped talking about it all year and have often asked if you can go again when Coronavirus goes away. 


At eight your favourite things have been Harry Potter, Karate, Minecraft, Lego (of course!), chess, xBoxing and Warhammer. You've liked to watch Teen Titans, Dragon Riders and Minecraft stories on the TV and a lot of Warhammer games on Youtube.  You still love Maths and Science, riding your bike and scooter, and a good old run around wild a park. 

Warhammer has, quite frankly, become life! Daddy couldn't be happier he has a little playmate now and the two of you are constantly, painting, playing or planning your next game. It isn't my favourite thing in the world and I kind of feel like the game is a bit too grown up for an eight / nine year old, but you certainly feel differently. You have a real passion, have saved up pocket money to buy your own first kit and spend most days after school delicately painting models and improving all of the time! So of course, at the moment, what you want to be when you grow up is a Warhammer Youtuber! 

You have loved every moment of being treated more like a grown up this year, from drinking cups of tea (oh how British!), to watching the Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts films that had a 12A rating! You love nothing more than a big boy night; having a late night to watch a film that we wouldn't allow your little brothers to watch, or snuggling with Daddy reading another chapter of Harry Potter to you or of course having a Warhammer game.    This is definitely the year you have become Daddy's boy. 


Yes, a lot of being eight wasn't how you would've expected it to be. 

At such a tender age you have had to face a world pandemic, live in lockdown, barely leave the house for weeks and months on end, no swimming, no karate, not even to go to school.  A time in your life where I'm in no doubt you are old enough to remember if for the rest of your life. The six months you couldn't go to school and I home-schooled you instead. You've been so resilient and matured massively during these months at home; but I do not underestimate how hard it was for you too without your friends and family. Not seeing your grandparents for the best part of three months and being so aware of news reports and adult chatter about virus and death. You were aware. You still are aware as we've lived through local lockdown and just coming out of another firebreak lockdown again now. It is still hard. You've said more than once you want to kick Coronaviruses butt.   

You've had to face the disappointment of your birthday not being how you would've normally celebrated it; without a party with your friends, or a day trip. Because although lockdown lifted over the summertime, and we had the brief respite of enjoying life for a little while... by your ninth birthday, we were in a local lockdown again and unable to go on the weekend away we had planned for you.   After months of accepting the situation, it was the first time I heard you say "I knew Covid was going to ruin in anyway" - and oh my boy, we all feel the same. Mummy feels how relentless it is too. I wish you hadn't lost these months to Covid but mostly I hope you will remember the fun we had at home, even the home-schooling, the endless play in the garden, new games, new lego kits, adventure walks in the local area. I hope you felt safe even when the world felt crazy. 


You have loved returning to school since September and it has been just lovely to see how happy it has made you. You've thrown yourself into Year 4 with a bang and your new teacher, Mrs Gallan, is forever commenting how hard you work and the effort you put into learning. You just continue to thrive at school.  You continue to make a good impression wherever you go and I hope the lovely nature you have about you now never leaves you. 

And now you are nine. Nine and able to tie your own shoe laces, more or less reliably brush your own teeth, having showers and independently washing your own hair more often than you have a bath, almost too big for me to pick you up at all and now wearing glasses too - which make you look even more grown up and like a total brains! 


Ok so we didn't get to Butlins for your birthday (we'll try again for your next half birthday), but we think you had a pretty special week anyway. Big Boy film night with pizza delivery watching Fantastic Beasts, a science kit fun day growing your own germs, a overnight living room camping party with your brothers, an off track explore around Pontypool Park to find the Grotto, a pancake parlour tea (and this is all before your actual birthday), and then on the actual day ;presents, Kaspas Takeaway pudding party and of course a birthday Warhammer game and ridiculous late night with Daddy. I think you lived your best birthday life really! 

And now, much like I felt after Belle's ninth birthday, I find myself already looking ahead to your tenth.  Ten feels like such an important milestone and we already have plans afoot to do something a bit different to celebrate our biggest boy turning ten! 

Enjoy this last year in single figures my boy Big and keep making the best of what is being thrown at us. We are so proud of how you've coped with this year of uncertainty and so proud of the shining example of a young man you are becoming. You are exactly who you need to be with all the kind, generous and thoughtful qualities that will take you far in life

The world needs more kind. 

We love you enormously, kid.

Making our world happier just because you're in it. 

Keep being you and you won't go far wrong. 

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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