I can’t believe my firstborn, Oliver, is 8 today. That seems so old! I literally don’t feel old enough to have an 8 year old, I’m sure I was only 21 yesterday!
My sweet and mature eldest child often feels like the head of this family. A born leader, calm in a crisis (I’ll never forget him running for a yogurt to place on my stubbed toe in a supermarket, aged just 2), serious and despite his young years, a wise soul. ‘Born old’ I think the term is!
Oliver is as bright as a button and thirsty for knowledge, he’s utterly desperate to discover all he can about the world-the way it works, how people make money, go to space, feel about friendship and relationships, you name it, he wants to know about it- the perfectionist and control freak in him, seems to want to unravel everything in order to understand.
He also makes me pause and notice the world around me in his quest. That’s the beauty about kids, they really do make you top and smell the roses!
Most people tend to be surprised Oliver’s not older than his age and whilst he can get himself frustrated (see above note on perfectionism) it can be hard-going for kids who seem mature and are for the most part, but are of course, not as emotionally mature as they might seem to be.
Oliver wavers between being fairly shy when it comes to new people and places to overtly confident in the things he feels passionate about like Roald Dahl and David Walliams books or a recent video we’ve not yet published on Pokemon for YouTube.
On reflection, my job has definitely helped to boost Oliver’s confidence as he revels in being on camera and chats proudly about pursuits he’s enjoyed thanks to the blog be it hanging out with Popstar Louisa Johnson recently to cooking with Jamie Oliver and even creating his own advert. Go Oliver!
When it comes to Oliver’s personality, it always surprises me his innate ability to instantly read and somehow understand others (adults included), which granted, can feel a little disarming at times, especially when I’m trying to discipline him but he’s one heck of a special child and I want to keep nurturing his brilliance, making him fully aware of his potential whilst keeping those little feet of his, on the ground.
My hope for him is that he learns quicker than I did, that the limiting perfectionism needs to go pronto and that he must be kind to himself. It’s a work-in-progress but we’re getting there.
My Mum likes to remind me that I was exactly like Oliver as a child. Thoughtful, endlessly inquisitive (sometimes frustratingly so) and a born worrier too. It’s funny how we pass on our own characteristics to our kids, and I often question how much is nature over nurture. I do have a carefree, fearless younger child in Alexander though who is being brought up in exactly the same as Oliver so perhaps nature dominates?…
I just want to accept Oliver for who is whilst guiding him so he doesn’t suffer as much as I sometimes do because I’m sensitive.
..Now, whilst my youngest, Alexander is still my baby at 5 (!), Oliver is my best friend.
Sorry to those who don’t feel their kids can be their best mates, but I do. Yes, boundaries and discipline are necessary when bringing up a child and both my kids regularly drive me nuts (of course they do) but overall, my kids are my friends, my best friends.
I’m incredibly close with my own folks so adore that my boys feel the same way about Peter and I. They can talk to us about anything and more than anything, we all have so much flipping fun together. Just walking into Windsor regularly turns into an adventure as we explore new parks and create crazy stories of what we’d say to the Queen if we bumped into her. She sometimes rides her horse on the Long Walk close to where we live.
…It’s funny because my kids have started to get recognised more these days (sometimes several times a week) but thankfully it’s never been intrusive (it’s always lovely parents saying ‘hi’ either in London or Windsor) and whilst I never expected this would happen when I first hit publish in 2010, we feel that my career is positive for all of us and brings such happiness to the whole family.
Oliver and Xander were actually discussing whether they were both famous, laughing their little heads off. The greatest thing about this blog is having a family archive right here, bursting with memories of both my boys growing up. So precious.
Goodness, writing this little birthday tribute has made me emotional. I feel incredibly lucky to be these boys ‘Mama Lita’ as they call me (Xander made it up)!
I literally can’t wait for the year ahead and having the priviledge of watching Oliver and Xander continue to grow and develop.
Happy Birthday angel.