Dear Little Man
How are you eight already? This will be your second pandemic birthday, spending the last one seeing relatives on the doorstep but having a great day anyway. This year, we’re allowed to see one other family at a time in the garden and so your celebrations will be stretched out to see everyone safely – but still at a distance. I hope next year can be normal for you.
You have spent the whole of the last year in the pandemic. You have seen fewer people, had less experiences, not had as many days out and even spent Christmas with just the four of us for the first time due to the lockdown that was put in place just before.
Your gym lessons have been ad hoc at best – being cancelled for most of the year. Swimming lessons stopped – and the swim school closed too – so we’ve had a break from swimming this year which will hopefully pick up again at some point.
So many of the things you enjoyed had to stop. Clubs after school, soft play sessions and even play dates with friends. Your year of being seven has mostly been spent with just us, your family, but you haven’t complained at all. You’ve made the best of it and been more resilient than I ever hoped you’d need to be.
This year has seen you move to the Junior campus and you have loved Year 3 at school. You didn’t seem that worried about moving away from the Infants and even spending months at a time doing school at home didn’t phase you. Academically, you have always done your best and that is all we’ve ever asked of you.
Every day you tell me things you’ve learnt at school and each day when you get home you carry on reading your book of the moment. You love to read and, like your sister, read books over and over again. I’m really glad you love books as much as I used to when I was little and you have really embraced the worlds that books transport you to and the huge imagination they have given you.
You love Captain Underpants, Dog Man, Wimpy Kid and Roald Dahl. You love cartoon strips and you laugh most at jokes about bums or poo. This year has seen you turn into a ‘proper’ little boy, a stereotype of climbing trees, laughing at farts and loving things like slime, mud pies and getting grubby.
On the flip side, you still love cuddles and will often climb onto my lap to snuggle. You always want to be close to me and you still climb into bed in the morning for a cuddle before we start the day. I relish these moments as I know they won’t last forever – but I will appreciate them as long as they continue.
Last year Thomas started to fizz out where your interests were concerned and this year a new love has been discovered – Minecraft. You love the game but also have Minecraft books and a Minecraft magazine subscription that always makes you so excited when it arrives. Minecraft is your thing of the moment and I love how happy it makes you.
You also love space, and still have a space themed room. You love space toys, reading about space and wearing NASA branded clothes. I have no doubt that if you decide to be an astronaut when you grow up that we’ll see you in space one day. You’re growing up knowing that you can be whatever you want to be in life and I know you will succeed at whatever you put your mind to.
You love food – and always prefer plain ham sandwiches to ham and cheese. Your favourite meal is pizza and you’ve asked to make your own pizzas for your birthday. You love fruit and eat a fair few vegetables but haven’t yet stopped picking vegetables out of your dinner – peppers or onions in a casserole – and you refuse to eat salad leaves but will happily eat cucumber and tomatoes until there are none left in the house.
You haven’t lost any teeth this year but have two wobbly ones – and your gappy smile finally filled with teeth again after spending such a long time with a mouth full of gaps. Your smile makes me so happy and you’ve grown freckles this year too.
You have size 2 feet – mainly because you have a high instep, giving you really chunky feet that won’t fit in smaller sizes despite gaps at your toes. You’re in age 8 clothes already – I can’t remember a year where the ‘right’ age clothes have fit you by your birthday, usually at this point you’re still growing ready to fit in them.
Your sister is still your favourite person, even though you bicker more as time goes on. You love sleepovers with her, love going into each other’s rooms to play or read and love creating games together. In your sibling you have a ready made best friend and it’s a relationship I hope we all continue to cultivate and watch bloom for years to come. You love each other and it makes me so happy to see.
Talking of LP, you and her are constantly on a race to be the biggest. One day I look at you and she’s the tallest and a few weeks later you’re taller. I can’t keep up. To me, you’re the same size and most of the time you seem the same age too – both so clever, both so gorgeous and both just so happy in life. You’re basically twins born two years apart.
Your other favourite things are Cuddles your cuddly cat and Leia. Cuddles comes everywhere with you and is almost a comfort blanket for you. You like her to come on car journeys and even on the walk to school sometimes and I have no doubt that she’ll be coming on holidays with us in the future.
Your love for Leia has gone up a level this year. She is such a tolerant cat and you have learnt to pick her up over the last couple of months. You love to sit with her, stroke her and you always make sure you say good morning and goodnight to her. You love her so much.
You’ve also realised this year that you don’t remember her brother, Luke. It was such a sad time when he died and you were only two so it’s no surprise really that you don’t remember him. But, we keep his memory alive, talking about him and keeping our favourite photo of the cats in pride of place.
You are still an emotional little thing, and I don’t think the pandemic has helped with that. You’re shy and hold onto me in new places and new situations. You’re nervous around new people or people you don’t know well and you’re always looking for reassurance.
You get upset at little things and at times your reactions are so huge compared to the thing you’re upset about. But, at these times your emotions change in a heartbeat. Something simple will flip a switch and you’ll be super happy again, as if it had never happened.
The only holiday we’ve been on over the last year was to Weymouth last summer – such a contrast on the year before and something else we can blame on the pandemic. We’re always planning our next holiday and you really want to go back to Florida. You were so little then, although we didn’t realise it at the time.
You were just a few months past five and it was such a big experience for you. You now want to do it all again to be able to remember it more clearly. You want to see dolphins, go to the Kennedy Space Centre and snorkel with rays. There is so much you want to do and every time you tick something off a list we are all so proud of you.
Little Man, you are amazing. You are a wonderful little boy who is loved by so many people. You are sweet, kind, funny and you care so much. You make us laugh all the time, you teach us things and seeing the world through your eyes is amazing.
You are our favourite boy. You light up our life and it such a joy watching you grow and learn. It’s such a privilege to have you in our lives. Please Little Man, never change.
Happy birthday Little Man
Love Mummy and Daddy xx