Oh my sweet boy, how are you turning 7? How are you closer to 10 than 1? Since the last time I wrote you one of these letters, a whole year has flown by. Time flies when you are having fun and I never have more fun than when I’m with you. Because we pay for your sister’s nursery place every week, if you are off school she still goes to nursery and Daddy and I will fight over who gets to have the ‘Arlo Day’. We also compete to see who can make their Arlo Day better. Generally daddy wins because he has the car and takes you for an all you can eat breakfast where last time you ate 5 sausages! Grown up sized ones too! Your favourite food is sausages. You also love smoked salmon, spaghetti Bolognese and lasagne. You still don’t like pizza sadly (the rest of us all love it).
I had an ‘Arlo day’ a couple of weeks ago though and we went into Newcastle, just you and I. I took you ice skating for the first time – at first you couldn’t even stand but you stuck it out for the whole hour and got so much better by the end. Then we went to a Christmas market and we got German sausages and sat in a wooden hut while we ate them and mammy had a beer in front of a log fire. It was wonderful right up until you had an allergic reaction to some dairy you had the previous day and had an upset tummy on the way home. (You still haven’t fully outgrown your dairy allergy but can tolerate some baked dairy now at least).
Anyway, I think I’m currently winning on the mammy and Arlo days right now. On our last one, you mentioned to me how it was sad that they would be coming to an end soon. I asked you why and you correctly informed me that when Lena starts school next year that you will both be off together. I hadn’t realised and now I’m vowing to make the most of all of the last ones we have.
You still have an intermittent divergent squint. This time last year you were scheduled for eye surgery in February but it didn’t feel right to us (for various reasons) so I researched what else we could do and found out about vision therapy. We started doing it January this year and you have worked so hard at this. At times it’s been really hard going, we do it every day and some days you really don’t want to do it but we’ve stuck at it. They think you have hung onto some infant reflexes you should have lost – like your moro reflex and the neck reflex. As well as doing exercises to help your eyes we do exercises to help you lose these reflexes. I’ll write a separate post about vision therapy as it’s too long to go into in this post. Suffice to say, I continue to be impressed by how hard you try at things. I’m so proud of you. I really hope vision therapy helps you.
Whether it’s due to the vision therapy, or whether this would have happened anyway, you are really improving at school. You started year 2 in September. You’re reading has really come on, you jumped up two book bands and have been moved up sets in literacy and maths. I met with your teacher last week who told me she had goosebumps telling me how much you have improved. She predicts you will be at the ‘expected level’ for your age by the end of year 2. I know you struggle academically and your vision issues don’t help but you couldn’t try harder and I’m so proud of you.
You’ve had some issues with friends, with some of your best friends from reception class and year 1 picking on you at the end of year 1 and in year 2. The grown-ups are dealing with this and I think it’s improving (fingers crossed) but you’ve proven yourself resilient and have made new friends instead. You’ve invited them to a Roblox playing playdate for your birthday and you are so excited. You are STILL obsessed with Roblox and Minecraft. I think you will be a gamer and geek like your daddy. You boys are two peas in a pod.
You love your sister and she loves you. I’m always in awe of how much patience you have with her. She can be volatile as 3 year olds often are so she doesn’t make it easy on you. But you are full to the brim with kindness and don’t have a mean bone in your body. You are so gentle and sweet. You made her a card at school the other day and I nearly cried over how sweet and loving it was. I’ll cherish it forever. The thing I love about you most is how kind and loving you are. You are too pure for this world and I’m sad one day you will become jaded. I’m going to try protect you from that for as long as I can my little cuddle monster.
6 has been fun for you – we had a sunny family holiday to Costa Teguise, you had a trip to Butlins with your cousins to celebrate your grandad’s 60th birthday, you camped for the first time when we went to Just So and Electric Fields festivals. We had a magical summer with a wonderful heatwave. This summer you were allowed to play out the front of our house with the neighbours’ children on your own for the first time which you relished in. Despite having always asserted that you hated football, the World Cup got you into it finally, much to your dad’s delight. School gave you a World Cup sticker book and you loved staying up to watch the England matches. Now it’s over you have decided to support Newcastle like your dad and you love collecting Match Attax. You beg me to let you stay up late to watch the Newcastle Games with daddy even though you don’t fully understand them. I’m not sure when we started letting you stay up ‘late’ on a weekend but it’s your absolute favourite thing. You feel so grown up and proud.
I feel like you are on the cusp of becoming a big kid. You’ve just started to get embarrassed about stuff – like your sister being ‘extra’ at music group or not wanting to wear ‘babyish’ stuff for school in case the other kids laugh at you. You don’t need your ‘go to sleep song’ at bedtime anymore but we are reading proper books together now, at the moment we are reading a chapter of the Christmasauras every night before bed. You like your own space now and will watch tv in your room alone – namely YouTube videos of other people playing Minecraft and Roblox. You also quite like colouring and drawing at the moment. And the other day you read a book by yourself just because you wanted to. I really want to foster a love of reading in you – I love to read and hope you will too. I’m thrilled that this year you have finally decided you like Harry Potter. We found out that you are a Hufflepuff like me (I knew you would be because you are so kind and always do the right thing). You’ve watched the first 3 films with us but then they jump up to a 12 cert so we are holding off on the next ones for the time being. We will read the books together instead.
You’ve taught me so much about who I am and who I want to be. The kindness in you has made me kinder too. I’m constantly overwhelmed by how in love with you I am. There is nothing I wouldn’t do for you. The best thing that ever happened to me was to become your mam. I adore you, happy 7th birthday to you, Buddy.
Disclaimer: Photography was gifted to me by Fiona Saxton Photography for this previous blog post.