Five years is a significant milestone in anyone’s life, but when you turn five it feels very special. It’s your first five years. Five years of being your parents has been an honour and we’re amazed at how big you’ve grown. Five years ago you were a newborn and we were having trouble sleeping at night; awake listening to you snuffle and snort with your uneven premature breathing. I remember feeling scared and excited all the time, how such a beautiful boy could have come from the two of us. Now it seems hard to even imagine you as that tiny newborn, less than 7 lbs. It makes me tear up to look at the pictures of you that small – it feels a lot longer than five years ago.
By the time you were one I was back at work full time and struggling to be a mother from 5am to 8:00 am and 4:30pm to 7pm while working at a job I wasn’t enjoying. I remember thinking that next time I’d manage it better, less frustration, more balance (somehow), and more time together so that you weren’t such a daddy’s boy. It was a tough time, I’d not managed to find any sort of balance and I didn’t know where I was heading. But you were so wonderful and the times when I would breastfeed you at bedtime and you’d snuggle in so peaceful – I miss those moments. I wish I could go back and tell myself that it would all work out and I should just enjoy it (and work less at a job I didn’t enjoy).
When you were two your brother had just arrived and I was amazed at how kind and caring you were. So many kids get jealous but to you it must have seemed like all of a sudden you were getting more attention from mummy now that I wasn’t working and spent all day with you and your brother. Fraser loved the sling, so there were days when you and I went for a hike in the woods and you walked beside me for ages. Neither of us were that talkative – and I have to say it was one of the most companionable silences I could imagine. As much as babies are miracles and breastfeeding you or holding you while you slept was special, I think this was when you and I really became friends and I enjoyed so much of the next year.
But then three is a brilliant age. Stories! Adventures! Logic! And you started at Crossroads Nursery in August which has been an amazing school nursery for you. I quit work for a year just after your third birthday – you weren’t happy at nursery and my work wasn’t what we’d hoped for. A full-day nursery was the wrong environment for you once you moved out of the baby room (and went back to nursery after my maternity leave). You are not keen on chaos and crowds – you do like order and security – and nursery did not give you that. (Noise is good, it’s uncontrolled behaviour that causes you stress and I feel guilty that it’s probably because of some bad experiences in nursery right around this time).
Four was pretty amazing too – it just keeps getting better. The year in Crossroads had seen you grow from a quiet little mouse to a confident friend to your classmates. You loved school, thanks to some wonderful teachers, and were really growing up. As much as it was scary (terrifying actually) being a one-income family, I never regretted it for a second because of how much you were thriving.
This year though has probably been the best. I’m back at work part time in a job I love and I can afford an amazing nanny for you three days a week. You love her, and really benefit from having three adults in your life. You have close friends, girl friends, good mates, but often want Fraser with you most of all. Your brother has become your friend this year and you’ve enjoyed that – when you’re not fighting as brothers should!
For your birthday this year we went camping with friends (a joint celebration for a 50th birthday as well). We slept in a tent all next to each other but during the day you were off with the big kids (7 of them, ages 10-13) and were so independent. Swimming at the beach, riding your new bike (with gears!) on your own around the campsite, or with the others singing songs in the tent at 9:30 pm – you are a kid now, no baby or toddler or even pre-schooler left. But we’re enjoying that, because I love you even more as you get older and I see the amazing person you’ve become.
And next year, in six weeks, you’re off to school – Primary 1. There’ll be 20 of you with one teacher in a class and I am nervous – because I know that big groups aren’t really your thing. But I’m also excited because you’ll learn to read (and you’re ready to) and that will open up so many doors for you. School is going be great (I hope) and you’re looking forward to it with excitement.
Thank you for the past five years Duncan, we’re two lucky parents to have you!