How is it even possible that you are turning five tomorrow? My heart is both happy and sad in equal measures. You, the little one who completed our family. Whose name we took a long time to choose but it was the name I liked as soon as we knew another boy would be joining our family, and so it was eventually the name you got. But with a Y not an I – deliberately so that it looked nicer with our last name and would hopefully reduce any associations with 'that' drink.
You have always been your own person and known your own mind, that is for sure. Whereas your big brother can usually be cajoled or convinced to do something, once you have your mind set, you can be unwavering and hard to persuade otherwise.
I had grand plans not to let you be a bad daytime sleeper like your big brother who had to either be held to sleep or taken out in the stroller till he was about one year old, and to be fair you did sleep well during the day from an early age. Not so much at night, but hey we got there in the end.
When it came to eating, you made it pretty clear early on that you were a HUGE fruit fan, and you still are. I could only ever get you to eat pureed veges if I sweetened it with some apple or pear, and even today you will often choose fruit over other more sugary treats. Blueberries, grapes, kiwifruit, banana – they all go down singing hymns as your Grandma would say. Meat – not so much, it’s always been a struggle to get you to eat anything chewy like chicken and beef, often only a mouthful in one sitting, and even that is painful and takes an age. Cheese on the other hand is your other favourite thing – we know whenever we go to a café as long as there cheese scones you’ll be as happy as larry. There were times when I despaired that you preferred eating snails and old lemon skins (that looked like cat poo) over your own food, but it was probably all good roughage as they say!
Unlike your brother, who craves company and being social every minute of the day, you are very happy in your own company and always have been. Often if it’s just the two of us, you’re happy to just amuse yourself, minutes and hours can go past without the need for conversation, you’re just happily playing in your own world.
Your rides to daycare with Dad in the mornings have encouraged your love of music and singing and you can quite tunefully sing the words to a good number of songs like Tonight by Fun and Pompeii by Bastille (the songs I have chosen for your 'This is the Life' video at the bottom of this post).
We were so worried about your big brother being so painfully shy before he went to school, but we needn’t have been as he thrived almost immediately, and not a skerrick of that shyness remains today. You are also quite quiet in big gatherings and unlikely to speak up unless you feel comfortable in a setting, but we know that you will thrive too, we’ve seen you easily take on your brother at home and have no doubt you can and will hold your own.
Quick to move and crawl, we were SO sure you’d be quick to walk too. But in true “I’ll do it my way” fashion, you decided to shuffle around on your knees for a good couple of months while we despaired that you would ever do it before finally deciding that it might be more fun to actually walk on your feet. You could do it and you had already done it, you just wanted to do it when you were good and ready.
From an early age, it was obvious that you had great hand-eye co-ordination and you were kicking a football before you could even walk properly.
Your daddy was most impressed with your ‘left foot’ and you’ve carried that into your Little Dribblers football which we started you off at age 3, and you can score most times you get near the goal with both feet. We will carry on encouraging your confidence to be a bit more aggressive in tackling and running after the ball, but you are already a great little footballer. You get in plenty of practice at home with your big brother too!
When it came to riding a bike, you were reluctant to give up the running bike because you'd been on it for years, but we were amazed at how quickly you picked up the ability to ride a big bike with training wheels and then very quickly progressed to without – all those years on the running bike clearly giving you great balance to get you started.
Being a younger brother has some great perks, like learning games that are way older than the ‘recommended age’. You caught onto UNO and Sleeping Queens very early on, and your love of numbers (much more so than letters) shines through in your desire to do ‘maths’ rather than ‘writing’ given the chance. You could count to 100 when you had just turned four, and can skip count in tens to 100 and do basic sums up to 10 all before heading off to school. You know all your letters, but you’re not that bothered about learning to read words yet, and we know that there’s plenty of time for that to develop at school.
When you put your mind to something though, you do like it to be 'correct' or look exactly how you imagine it, and sometimes it is hard to convince you that what you have done is 'good enough'. It's great to have a little bit of 'perfection' and a desire for something to look just how you want it to (Mum knows this all too well), but we hope we can encourage you that sometimes just doing your best is OK too.
You are our little magpie - you love 'collecting treasures' - whether this be the latest Macdonalds Happy Meal toy, or something you have created at crèche or daycare, and often your dresser is overflowing with such treasures, each important to you in it's own way.
You are an affectionate wee thing, and any time we are out and about, a little hand slips into ours quite naturally. I love that I can still pick you up and carry you, and I’ll be sad when you get too big for this. You’re a smaller build than your big brother, but just as tall at the same age which never ceases to amaze me as Dad and I aren’t that tall, and you were on the small side of average as a baby. I remember how you weren’t putting on enough weight at about three months old, and having to make extra trips to Plunket to make sure you were doing OK, and looking back that just seems crazy now!
You’re a delightful, affectionate, co-ordinated wee guy and it has been our greatest pleasure to watch you grow these past five years. This next chapter of your life will bring new challenges and adventures and we will encourage you to embrace them as they arise, to develop your existing talents and to pursue your God-given hopes and dreams.
We love you!
This is your life Mylo age 4-5 from mnms on Vimeo