Happy (belated) birthday, Eoin! Like your little brother’s, I’m afraid your birthday update post has been a little delayed. Unlike Ronan, though, you are very aware of what is going this year: you were talking about your birthday for weeks, and, now that it has been and gone, you are already looking forward to the next one. Fortunately, you’ve been good enough to give this post the once-over, so I know that these definitely are things you really like…
You still have an unswerving devotion to any and all “things that go”: cars, aeroplanes, bin lorries, bicycles, trains… One of your favourite places in Penarth is the train station: the station master chats to you when you come to watch the arrivals and departures, and, if he happens to have a tin of Roses in the office, he always lets you pick out the strawberry creams, which are your favourites.
Your fondness for strawberry creams is perhaps explained by the fact that they have red wrappers. You are absolutely obsessed with the colour red – “You know, it is my favourite colour, Mum” – and have told me, most seriously, that your birthday party is going to involve red balloons, red plates, red table cloths, red party whistles… In fact, I’m not sure whether it will look more like a child’s birthday celebration or an AGM of the Communist Party, but you are not to be swayed. Red is the best colour, and you won’t hear another word on the subject.
You love “doing science”: you have a globe and a magnifying glass, which are used for much important cogitation, and you take copious notes (intelligible only to you, alas) in your very own lab book, which is a Moleskine one just like your dad’s (yours, naturally, is red). Together with your dad, you have already been conducting some fairly serious experiments involving candles and vacuums, and I recently overheard the two of you having a rather worrying conversation about how to make hydrogen. You enjoyed doing a hands-on science lesson at nursery, but opined that “it wasn’t as exciting as Daddy’s science experiments”, a fact which I put down to the nursery’s very sensible insistence on not using combustible materials.
I realise I’ll look like the world’s most pretentious parent if I point out that your favourite food is sushi, and that you are on first-name terms with the staff in the Cardiff branch of Yo! Sushi. It might balance this out somewhat to admit, guiltily, that your second-favourite food would probably be a chicken nugget Happy Meal, or a massive bowl of chips. You love helping in the kitchen, though, and have appropriated the roles of “Season Man” (the person in charge of adding the seasoning to a roast) and “Mr Pressy-Hand Man” (the person in charge of the oven timer) for yourself. You’re keen on a bit of baking, and you love helping to pick fruit and vegetables from the garden. In fact, you’re a bit too fond of this: I don’t think anyone else got a single strawberry this summer, as you beat us to every one.
You love telling jokes, especially about dinosaurs with one eye (“DO-YOU-THINK-HE-SAW-US?”), although sometimes your humour can be a bit surreal: “What do you call a man with a rabbit on his head? Simon!” Your taste in music has broadened, but remains, I hope, reasonably cool for a small boy. Your current favourites are The Cure, The Smiths (“Can we have ‘Stop me if you think that you’ve heard this one before’, please?”), The Jam and David Bowie, though you are always a tiny bit disappointed that every Bowie song can’t be “Rebel Rebel”. You recently heard Blondie’s “Hanging on the Telephone”, and announced to the room in general that this was a very good song. You have also been known to use music to tease me: if “Rather Be” by Clean Bandit comes on the radio, you insouciantly enquire whether I like it or not (you know I can’t stand it), and then proudly announce that you find it a very relaxing song, actually, and could I turn the volume up, please?
You love dogs, cake, cwtches, laughing, dancing in circles, chasing your little brother, and going to the beach. You’re a really lovely, bright, affectionate little boy, and I hope you never get to big to hug me or hold my hand.
Happy birthday, Sausage!
PS Given that I worry a lot, irrationally, about not being a very good mother, it’s pretty telling that, when I read this list of your favourite things out to you, you pointed out in a very serious voice that I had forgotten one of the most important things. What could it be? “You, Mummy! You have to be on the list! I love you!” You really are a sweetheart, aren’t you?