Harry is eight and I am freaking out, by Keris Stainton
I’ve always been fine about birthdays. The boys’ birthdays, I mean, not so much my own. I have a moment of “Wow, 5? Really?” or “I can’t believe Joe’s 3 already!” but then I’ve just got on with celebrating. But for some reason, Harry turning eight yesterday knocked me for, um, six.
Is it just that eight sounds so grown-up? Or is that mad? I mean, he’s eight, not eighteen. But eight seems so much older than seven. Seven seems to me like a little boy, practically six, which is almost a baby. Eight seems mere steps away from high school (which is then obviously a slippery slope to university and leaving home forever).
The physical changes don’t help. He’s grown about three inches in height already this year – the top of his head is now level with my nose. Yes, I’m short, but even so. He’s in the same size shoes as me. And he suddenly just seems to be all legs and arms and you can see the teenager in him. We were looking at photos the other night and as recently as last Christmas, he still had a babyness about him, now he’s very much a boy.
And as well as the teenage look, he’s also getting some of the teenage attitude. Yesterday, probably because he was the centre of attention and he’s still shy (although he will no longer admit it) he was frequently pretty obnoxious. After his rather challenging birthday dinner, I’d had enough and told him to smarten up. “Don’t worry,” he said, cheerfully. “Tomorrow I will be as delightful as a carrot!” And do you know what? He probably will be. (Whatever it means.)