11 Candles

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Birthday Cake

Birthday Cake (Photo credit: Will Clayton)

Today is M’s 11th birthday. He was born at 3:13 pm on Saturday, July 28, 2001.

To quote M: “I can’t believe how the years have gone by.” (yes, he really did say this as he was opening his gifts early today)

My memories of when he was born are crystal clear – I can hear the voices of the nurse and the intern who delivered him (the on-call doctor was on coffee-break – really!); I can feel the light coming in the window beside the bed; and I can see the activity in the room following M’s entry into the world.

Admittedly, my recollection of the next few weeks and months are mostly blurry. But even after 11 years, I remember the moment M came into my life.

M is a bundle of energy; a skinny little package of amazing ideas, silly jokes and more than a little sarcasm. He has a big heart and feels his emotions deeply.  He is incredibly curious and asks questions constantly. He loves to read, especially Archie comments, Garfield comments and mystery/fantasy books. He likes StarWars Lego (the more pieces, the better), Ninjago and Pokemon. His favourite food is candy, but he likes home-made pizza and anything with chocolate chips –  pancakes,  banana mini-muffins or cookies. He will eat raw carrots and frozen corn, but doesn’t much care for any green vegetable. He wakes up early on weekends (6:30 this morning!), but sleeps in on weekdays. He can’t tie his shoes yet, but he can throw a Diablo or flower sticks pretty high in the air and catch them. He loves Top 40 dance music, but finds it embarrassing when I dance around the kitchen (admittedly, I have more enthusiasm than talent). He would play computer games or with his DS all day if he was allowed (he isn’t).

Parenting M is not without some challenges. He doesn’t like to be told what to do, but when asked to do almost anything, his starting position is ‘no’.  if he’s not on board with an idea, there isn’t too much I can say or do to change his mind (candy only works intermittently). His ADHD often makes it hard for him to focus on some activities and his perfectionism sometimes get in the way of getting started on homework.  He worries about lots of things and can act inappropriately when he’s really anxious.

We’ve had some ups and downs over the last few years, but I can certainly see that M is growing up. He is capable of incredible moments of maturity and reason, like when he decided to skip an outdoor concert with one of his favourite groups, in favour of performing well in a tennis tournament. Five minutes later, he can slam down the Wii remote in disgust, because he’s not doing well in the game. He will still hug me or hold my hand, but not in public. He’s a mix of almost adolescent and little kid. Very occasionally, he will ask me to lie down with him when he’s going to sleep or ask me to sit beside him on the sofa, but most nights, he prefers to put himself to bed.  Even though he sometimes gets frustrated, he wants to do most things himself (with the possible exception of cutting his meat).

Some days he drives me so crazy, I want to run away from home and not look back. But when he gives me a hug first thing in the morning, it makes me smile all day.  He is my greatest joy and I treasure every day with him.

Happy birthday M.

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