Monday, 11 July 2016

nine at last

Today is James' 9th Birthday.

At the outdoor BMX track today, testing the new bike

James had a lie-in this morning. Or so I thought. What actually happened is that he woke up and went downstairs to watch the telly. He had forgotten that it was his birthday and he didn't want to disturb anyone. My little man!

The family Birthday routine did feel different this morning with only half the children here. At least there was more space in our bed for present opening. The biggest present was not wrapped (and not in our bed I hasten to say). IT was a longed for BMX bike. James chose it himself.  He also asked for a chocolate cake with gummy bears stuck on for breakfast. It is not easy to find gummy bears when you need them and we had to use jelly babies instead but these were ok and the cake was yummy.

James, this most enigmatic child of mine. He has more freckles than I can count, except on a small patch of his nose, where he has none. His front teeth are large and square and when he laughs, they glisten in the light. I love his big toothy grin. We love his red hair and he does, too. He thinks eating carrots and oranges is essential to maintain the bright orange colour. He is skinny and wiry and has more energy than a puppy. He is always hungry and has the appetite of a teenager. A big teenager.

James is kind and full of love and mostly happy. He is affectionate and likes a hug or two. He loves being tickled, it makes him laugh out loud and wriggle with delight, crying out for more. Richard sometimes pretends to be an octopus with eight tickle arms. James loves this game very much.

James is fiercely loyal to his friends and family and hates to see anyone unhappy. If he could, he would rather take the burden of unhappiness upon himself, rather than seeing someone else unhappy.

He loves to look after babies and toddlers and has a lot of patience when doing so. He has the patience of a saint with toddlers.

He sucks his thumb when he watches the telly.

Where James is, Alistair is never far. They are always together except when they are in their respective classes at school. James is the older of the two but Alistair is the one taking charge and looking out for James, who can be a bit of a dreamer. Sometimes this causes problems but generally not. Other people are more bothered by this than he is. He admires his biggest brother and no doubt wants to be like him when he grows up. James loves 'doing stuff' with Annie, who always has an activity up her sleeve.

James loves to kick a ball against the wall, he can do this for hours without getting bored. Many balls have been lost over the fence. Some have found their way back, others haven't. He loves to throw shoes over the fence or onto the garage roof, too. He has lost more than one shoe this way. Anything that is light enough to be thrown or kicked will be thrown or kicked in the air. He loves those little styrofoam aeroplanes that come in small paper envelopes and are often found in party favour bags. They never last long but bring intense joy for a few minutes.

James loves physical activities much more than playing a game or  making something with lego. He loves to cycle, plays football and is a fast runner. He and his brand new BMX bike will be a great team. James loves going to the BMX park. I don't like it so much. He has no fear, and often crashes, usually because he acts without much thought of the potential danger. I imagine a great many trips to A&E in the future. We have been lucky so far. I guess he'll make a great BMX champion one day, the fearful ones won't ever succeed in this mad sport.

James is a master door slammer, a skill he practices regularly, when he is frustrated because of one thing or the other. Usually when one of his siblings winds him up, or when he is reminded of his chore, to set the table. His frustration threshold is low and his sense of humour is very young, he often misunderstands wind-ups for something more sinister. He is emotionally still very young, younger than his nine years. This comes as no surprise, considering his difficult start in life.

James loves going to school and he loves to learn - but it doesn't come easy to him, he finds it difficult to recall what he has experienced and learned and he doesn't find it easy to articulate questions about life and the world. Reading is a struggle and he prefers avoiding it altogether. It is frustrating for James. Without understanding the underlying cause for these problems, it is difficult to support James' needs adequately and I am often frustrated with my inability to help. I feel judged by some for not doing him justice and being impatient but I know I do my best. James has been referred for assessment and it will be great to be able help him better with the academic side of his life. I am optimistic that his future is bright.

James loves to play on the computer or on our battered family iPad. He likes a game called colour match and he loves to play on Sumdog, an maths app supported by his school.  He also loves racing games and Crossy Road, a strange game if you ask me but I guess I am old and boring. Like all young children, his computing skills are already better than mine will ever be!

He loves to watch cartoons and never tires of Tom and Jerry or Whacky Races.

James likes to cartwheel his way around the garden, it is fun to watch him when he does this. Sometimes it is more of a handstand gone wrong and I worry he might hurt himself.

Our James, it is good to have him around.

We'll be going camping tomorrow, the four of us who weren't lucky enough to travel to Iceland with Scouts. It is the first time Richard and I are going on holiday with James and Alistair only and it feels a bit strange but really nice at the same time. James loves camping very much. He loves to poke the campfire and he loves to swing on the rope swing at the campsite we are going to. His birthday celebrations will last a for the rest of the week and he'll be the king of the castle.

Happy Birthday James!

P.S. James requested to be called Jimmy from now on. We'll see if it sticks.


  1. Happy birthday to James! I hope he's having a wonderful day. I loved reading this tribute to him, Christina. He sounds like a very sweet boy and a happy addition to your family, like he was always there. I'm so glad he and Alistair are doing well with your family and thriving. You're a wonderful mom.

  2. Happy Birthday James!! You sound like a great boy to me!!

  3. What a wonderful picture you have painted of your James. I now feel I know him. You sound a wonderful mum and definitely doing right by James. Have a wonderful camping trip and do wish him a very happy birthday. Nine, what a great age. Perfect for a new bike :-) B xx

  4. Happy Birthday to Jimmy! I greatly enjoyed reading this snapshot of his personality and likes and dislikes. What a lovely record of him on his 9th birthday X

  5. All the best people are born on July 11th ;)

  6. Belated Birthday wishes for Jimmy. Such a wonderful tribute, you were both blessed when you found each other. Hope you have a great camping trip.

  7. Birthday wishes a day late for James/Jimmy! What a lovely and insightful post you have written about him, Christina. It is a testament to your love for this freckle-faced son of yours. Have a great time camping!

  8. Your family sounds so lovely, Christina, and James (Jimmy!) sounds like a very fine boy indeed. I love how you describe him. Have a wonderful camping trip - hope the sun shines and it all goes swimmingly. Sam x

  9. Happy Birthday Jimmy! What a beautiful tribute to s wonderful young man. Nine is a difficult age but with you at his side he will have a great year, I am sure. Enjoy camping!

  10. If only school reports were so personal as this but I guess we know them best. What a lovely tribute to a growing boy. Happy Birthday James. Jo x

  11. Ah Christina, Jimmy James sounds like a star to me. I'm sure the four of you will have a wonderful camping trip. And a BMX bike in time for the holidays - wow!

  12. Oh, that's a splendid portrait of your boy. Belated birthday greetings, James. Enjoy the camping trip and have an amazing tenth year.

  13. Hey Christina,
    Happy birthday Jimmy! What a beautiful portrait of him. You know him inside and out. A zest for life goes a long way, and he has it in spades. Be forever fearless that boy!!
    Leanne xx
    Ps I dislike the skate park too.

  14. happy birthday wishes. hope you've had a wonderful week camping x

  15. Happy Birthday to "Jimmy" as we will all now refer to him. He sounds wonderful, energetic and complex, loving and friendly and so much a part of that wonderful family of yours. Look up Brain Gym information online, it has helped with many of my more interesting and complex patients, hope it helps your son.

  16. What a beautiful post - Jimmy sounds like a wonderful young man. Enjoy the camping, I hope the weather is kind to you all :) xx

  17. A belated happy birthday to "Jimmy". Such a lovely post Christina. He sounds like a lovely young man who will do just fine with such a loving Family around him.

  18. Happy belated birthday to James (or Jimmy, has it stuck?). Bless him forgetting that it was his birthday, I can't remember that ever happening to my two, in fact, the total opposite, they always had us up at the crack of dawn. Hope you had a good week on your camping trip.


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