DorkySon is absolute magic just now. He is a real joy to be around. I can’t remember ever seeing him so calm and settled, and that is really reflected in how he’s behaving.
A large part of that is testament to the kindness of our family and friends who, even from afar, have worked so hard to let him know that he is loved. Barely a day passes without another postcard, book, or CBeebies DVD being popped into our mailbox.
The wardrobe in DorkySon’s room is plastered with many of those postcards, and also with photos of all the important people in his life – friends, grandparents, cousins and the like. There are so many happy memories recorded there, and DorkySon likes to chat about them often. He talks very openly sometimes about who he is missing, but he also talks with absolute confidence about when he will visit those people, or when they will come and see us. He knows already, because of the regular travelling we have done to the States, that not all your friends can live in one place and sometimes you have to make a big effort to see them. He says that the sadness you feel when you miss people is a good sadness because it means you have people you care about.
That confidence he has – that sureness that he is loved – means that he is having so much fun now pushing himself to do new things, and exploring the world more fully than he ever has before. Every time we go to the park, he jumps off something a little higher. At the beach, he still holds my hand, but is happy to wade further and further into the water. It is so good seeing him outside more – slighty pink skinned from the sun, bruised legs from all the climbing he is doing, dirt sticking to his clothes.
His full on appreciation of simple things is an inspiration to me. He approaches every new ice cream flavour, every homemade icy pole, every bag of cherries from a roadside stall with complete enthusiasm. I also love his bravery, whether it’s approaching another boy in the playground to see if they’ll go on the seesaw with him, or running through a cold sprinkler in the garden. A few weeks ago he stood up beside DorkyDad at an event and recited a poem in front of an audience for the first time. You can see him weighing up every decision in his mind, and whereas a year he would usually have played it safe, now he usually chooses to give new things a bash.
DorkySon will turn five in March, and I suppose I should be lamenting the fact that he is growing up so quickly, but I can’t. It’s what’s supposed to happen, and I’m just pleased that so far he has handled everything we’ve thrown at him so well.
He loves this new house as much as we do. He has really made his bedroom his own – choosing ‘grownup’ paintings for his walls, but also creating a little gallery in one corner of his own favourite creations in crayon and felt tip. He has taken to bouncing quickly down the stairs on his butt, instead of walking down them. And he is thrilled by the walk-in food cupboard, which allows him to help himself to cartons of juice and mid-afternoon biscuits, instead of always having to ask me.
When DorkySon wakes up now, which is always around half six because it’s so light, he chooses a big pile of books and sits in bed reading through them by himself until it’s time to get up. Then at seven, when the alarm goes off, he will come barrelling through into bed with us. I pop downstairs to make some warm milk, which I suspect he will still be drinking in the morning when he’s eighteen, and DorkyDad gets treated to ten minutes of hugs and kissbombs and declarations of love. It is a nice way to start the day.
He loves the stability of the new routine that we have settled into. He helps me water the grass and the flowers in the garden most days, poking away at the soil with his own little trowel. He likes to help with putting the bins out, and dusting, and watching out the window for the postman on his motorbike. Even a mundane thing like grocery shopping in Woolworths has novelty value because we now use a trolley and fill the boot of the car, instead of using a basket and lugging things home in a backpack.
On days when he is not at nursery, we have a deal that the morning is spent on those boring but necessary chores, and then the afternoon is his to do what he likes with. Sometimes he chooses Lego, and we spend hours building the craziest vehicles we can think of, worthy of a Richard Scarry book. Sometimes we get the paints and playdough out on the dining room table, and giggle about how we’ll have to get the mess cleared up before DorkyDad returns. And sometimes if he’s tired he’ll just choose reading or a DVD while we snug up on the sofa.
We chat away to each other, and tell silly jokes. We hug a lot, and laugh often. Occasionally we’ll have a strop at each other about nothing very much, and retreat to opposite ends of the house for a sulk before reuniting and letting off steam with a game of chase. He is a good wee pal to have around.
The routine is about to be turned on its head again, as always seems to be the way when we’ve just settled. In less than a month he’ll be leaving daycare and starting kinder – thankfully just moving rooms within one building – but it’ll mean stepping up from two days attendance up to three, and he is already grousing about the school hat that is a required part of the uniform. Swimming lessons will start up again, which he is very excited about. I don’t doubt that there will be a week or two of grumps while we all adjust, but I think DorkySon is probably better equipped to deal with change now than he has ever been before.
It sounds twee, but we are grateful every single day at the moment for what we have. DorkyDad and I are constantly exchanging little glances and nods and smiles as we reflect on how lucky we are. Our marriage is good… our new home is good… even the weather is finally good.
But there is no doubt in either of our minds that the nearly-five-year-old is the best bit of all.