When I was expecting my second child, my husband, himself a second child who firmly believed second children get a raw deal, said he would be the baby’s supporter and defender.
After my hardest pregnancy, exacerbated by a huge bump and a hot summer, my gorgeous boy came into the world – a big, grey lump. He was the wrong colour and he took a while to breathe and he had a heart murmur (gone within weeks). My husband told me a couple of years later that in those difficult first few minutes he decided this baby wasn’t going to survive, so he wasn’t going to become attached.
He did survive and I became attached. He was a gorgeous happy baby who ate, slept and grew.
Of all my children, he was the only one who would express a preference between Mummy and Daddy. It was Mummy all the way. If he was hurt or upset, only Mummy would do. He could cry, repeating the word ‘Mummy’ over and over for hours. It’s selfish, but I loved having someone who loved and needed me so much.
His older brother was bright and I wondered if this baby would be as bright. At 15 months he put two words together – he was going to be bright! Even then, I could see how much thought went into what he said. He was working things out that should have been way beyond his years. By his 2nd birthday he could speak a coherent and very sensible 10 word sentence.
Back then, and to this day, I never met a child his age who was bigger than him. He is tall and very well-built, with leg muscles most grown men could only dream of.
Because of his intelligence and his size, he grew up almost instantly. As soon as he could move, he and his brother were ‘the boys’. They weren’t a toddler and a baby. They did everything together and were treated the same. Many times over the years they have been mistaken for twins, despite there being more than two years between them.
My boy reads beautifully. I could close my eyes and let his words wash over me. He makes perfect sense of the words, the rhythm, the punctuation. Few adults read as well as he does. But his last teacher was very clear – his maths is better than his English!
I feel proud of him, but also slightly scared. We don’t push him. We want him to learn at his own pace and we don’t want him to be so far ahead that he feels different or strange, but nor do we want him to stop making progress because there is nothing left to challenge or interest him.
I am so proud that he isn’t arrogant or complacent. He knows he is cleverer than others, but he doesn’t think he is better than them. He is lucky that in his class there is a small group of clever boys, who are all his good friends. And he continues to work very hard and try his best at all times.
My boy has everything going for him. He has a great sense of humour, which is now becoming quite sophisticated, and likes nothing better than making his friends and his siblings laugh. He is also good at sport. People should hate him, but they don’t because he is so likeable. He is friendly, caring and thoughtful.
I think it’s fair to say that he is the least physically attractive of my children, but he has a smile that lights up a room. His personality shines through and draws people to him.
He adores his brother and sister and will do anything for them. He is the glue that binds our family together. He is also, I have no doubt, the reason his brother and sister fight like cat and dog – they both want him for themselves.
While his brother is a very complex character, my younger son is very straightforward. He’s happy. He’s clever. He’s big. And I love him.