Seven is cool. It’s being in Beavers, the village swim club, and the rugby club. It’s going into Primary Three and learning times tables. Seven is mountain biking and badminton and board games. It’s chapter books and an interest in the world around you. It’s also sometimes being defiant as you develop your independence, but you’re still a caring boy who has a knack for knowing when I need a cuddle rather than attitude. I love how cool seven-year-old-Duncan is.
You really enjoy learning about things from people, like this photo of you making a wish at the environmental art installation as part of Giants in the Forest up at Drum Castle. It was great seeing how excited you got about the environmental art and how it fired up your imagination. I hope you always keep your desire to learn, to understand, and to figure things out. It’s one of your great traits that make you so cool.
And of course you’re cool when you’re a spy – wearing spy glasses no less!
The boys and I rode the 16km Bike Balmoral on Sunday, along with some of their best friends, and I think they all felt pretty proud of themselves at the finish. (The Dads did a great job on their 50km mountain bike ride as well). It’s absolutely amazing having these big kids in our lives who love adventure and are true speed demons on their bikes…
You’re five now (as you tell everyone regularly). It’s a bit the end of an era really. You start school in August and we’re no longer a family with little ones but a family with kids. Proper kids who get dirty, pick up bugs, ride their mountain bikes, have water fights with all the kids on the street…. there’s no wee little boy left here. We climbed Clachnaben as a family in April with you and your brother biking the approach. On the actual mountain you passed adults and bigger kids without a complaint – then once we were down whizzed back along the trail on your bike at top speed. Cory and I were walking way behind you and I think that’s the sign of times to come – us struggling to keep up with your energy and enthusiasm and speed as you hurtle through life.
Actually that’s not totally true that there’s no sweet wee boy left. Tucked in amidst the biking over jumps and nerf guns is still a lovely boy who loves to be called my angel and likes a good cuddle first thing in the morning. You and I spend a lot of special time together and the fact that you want to cuddle with me when we’re camping makes my heart swell. One of my favourite things this year has been reading The Secret Garden with you and then heading out to the walled garden at Crathes Castle to find our own secret garden spots and looking for the robin. You’re an absolute delight. I think the next few years are going to be absolutely amazing.
We do forget sometimes that you are still just five and on the small side for your age and ask you to mountain bike all day with us or keep up a busy schedule. You don’t complain though and just do your best until we turn around and find you falling asleep or collapsing with exhaustion. Tenacity is a good word for you – and I’m proud of your attitude when you achieve all these great things, you really are a star.
Things you love:
- spy kids and playing secret agents (check out the ‘stache – it was a secret agent themed birthday party this year)
- having friends over to play
- going out for curry in Aboyne
- Nanny Kirsty, who you love very much
- being grown up and five now
- your Mandeville stuffed toy
- water gun fights
- your brother (most of the time)
- the four of us being all together
- being outside and mucking about in the garden
- swimming (and a few years ago I didn’t think I’d ever say that)
and most of all…
- mountain biking, whether at Glentress, Balmoral, or just round the village
I’ve been in Spain on a field course – and although there was a few days of windy and wet weather, there was also hot dry days and even a chance to swim in the Mediterranean. I think the Indian Ocean is the only one I’m missing now, although I’m counting spray from riding in a rib as swimming in the Arctic.
As brilliant as it is to be away, being home is lovely too and today, with blue skies and the sheets hanging on the line, is my perfect day.
A belated update on our Easter holidays which took us to Glentress (near Peebles) for a week of mountain biking. Aside from unusual amounts of snow, which meant only the bottom trails were rideable, it was the perfect week. Pub lunches, lots of coffee, and plenty of time on the bikes. Both boys are noticeably better on the bikes after the week and I think Cory was in holiday heaven – he’ll never want to go anywhere else. Not that I’d mind that much…
Does anyone else feel pressure to be exciting on the weekend or night that the class stuffed mascot comes home? As much as it’d be fine for Puff the Magic Dragon to have done nothing more than played lego and eaten his tea, we found ourselves taking Puff golfing (where he made an excellent head cover) as well as letting him (and Duncan) sit on a friend’s horse. It made for good pictures in Puff’s journal. Peer pressure starts with the parents I’m afraid…
This was obviously a few weeks ago back when the weather was nice, since then we’ve had nothing but snow – including four more inches this morning which has fortunately melted already. If it was November or December, I’d have been out taking photos of how lovely the village and hills looked but since it’s March, I’m too busy grumping…
We went a-Viking for half term, or at least went to Edinburgh to learn about them in the National Museum of Scotland. Six hours in the museum one day and then four more hours a day later – it’s a magical place for kids and parents (and has decent coffee). Fraser especially did really well, participating on the tours that were advertised for 6 and ups. They’ve remembered what they’ve learned as well – Fraser points put that they don’t actually have horns on their helmets and Duncan reminds me they don’t have double-sided axes. Nothing like a bit of learning about pillaging to keep everyone entertained….
On weekends my worry about snow makes me feel like a scrooge – there’s tobogganing and snowmen and hot chocolate and lazy days at home. We could go swimming or clean the house but when it’s a blue sky snow day it feels like a shame to do anything but enjoy it.
Duncan’s memorised his Scots poem for Tartan Week at school and I’ve finished his bit of tartan to wear. Aside from a kilt, it’s a bit harder to put tartan on a boy – sashes and ribbons work really well with minimal effort for girls but I was struggling to come up with a plan this year for Duncan. We’ve decided to go with a homemade waistcoat this year using a pattern completely invented by Duncan and I and constructed initially out of brown paper for fit. Aside from a couple oopsies – don’t look too closely at one shoulder, I think this worked out pretty well. I didn’t bother with buttons because he wouldn’t do them up anyways and we went with a wee lapel to make it a bit different and give some texture to the front. It’s fully lined (in the same fabric) as it needed the weight and meant there was no need to bother with facings or bindings. I could trace the pattern if anyone wants – it’s rather forgiving since there’s no fastenings at all.
Snow hanging off the trees as I ride by bike to work, the quiet cold, the pawprints of the rabbits in the snow, and the uncertainty about how I’ll get to work tomorrow with the snow forecast overnight. It’s not quite how it used to be, snowshoeing in the mountains, but it’s beautiful here at the moment and we’ve a snowman in the backgarden and got out for a wee bit of tobogganing before lunch.
I alternate between really missing the snow, and dreading it’s impact on my commute. Old and grumpy – I wish it would either snow us in, to make working from home the only sensible option, or not snow at all. I don’t have a parking spot at work so I either ride in the 18 km or drive most of the way, leave my car, and cycle the rest. Unfortunately in this weather riding all the way is rather epic sometimes while leaving my car could mean getting blocked in by the plow. Both options mean riding my bike on the road surrounded by drivers with low profile summer tires – sliding their way across the street. So I’m kind of hoping it doesn’t snow overnight and my 10 year old self is disgusted with me….