Four years ago today, not long after midnight, our hearts just about burst for the third time when this little man lay on my chest, blinking at the brand new world.
He was early-ish, 38 weeks on the dot, but we were anxious to have him safely out and welcomed his impatience. Shortly before his pregnancy we had lost another tiny boy, almost halfway along, to the cruel lottery of 'cord accident'.
We never found out the gender of any of our babies during pregnancy but it was no surprise to us that here was another boy. We love three boys. We were meant to have three boys.
My Mum was at Clem's birth. It occurred to me part-way through pregnancy that it would probably be a pretty cool thing to see one of your own daughters give birth, and this was most likely the last time it would happen. We're not a really huggy-emotional family and Mum was all like "oh... no you'll probably just want Andy there," but closer to the time, she came around to the idea and I'm so glad. She and Clem have had a sort of mutual admiration society going ever since. Helped of course by him being the youngest grandchild by four years, and able to Work It.
At four, the notions of birthdays and years and age are still a bit hard to grasp.
"Is it still my birthday?"
"Is it my birthday all day?"
"It's going to be my birthday forever!"
Of course it's not helped by the nine year old who's explaining that technically, he's had five birthdays because you should count the day he was born, blah blah blah.
(Recently Clem pronounced "Mama, I know all the months of the week!")
Being school holidays, some of Clem's childcare friends were not around to invite for a party. So we were just doing a small family gathering, but had a stroke of luck when it turned out all the neighbours' kids were able to pop in. In the end, we had the 'party' without really having to plan for one. Heaven! There was cake and froggy jelly pond and party poppers and sparklers and candles (and bubbles for the big people) and really, what four year old needs much more than that?
Clem's birthday requests were a dinosaur egg that you put in water until it hatches, and all the party accessories as described above, that he made us ceremoniously give to him as presents (eyes closed, hands out, surprise! even though you brought them over yourself from the bench!) in the morning.
Of course when it came time to actually pop the poppers, Clem was too scared. But he's had a lovely time making a 'cup of tea' out of the empty little bottle and all the coloured streamers.
Charlie and Jasper had spent quite a bit of time, unprompted, making him lovely cards and presents. Clem announced with four-year-old grace that the bee Jasper made "hasn't got any face" and tried to open Charlie's delicate origami sculpture. Andy bought Clem a lovely set of Cray Pas and some sketch books to encourage him to draw some more, although it's Jasper who set about filling up the first few pages of sketch book.
There was also some bubble bath, which came in handy when all the friends had gone, and someone who was a bit distracted had a little accident in his pants, and needed freshening up.
Ah, four. Whatever that means.
"One two three four five six glitter glues! Grandma and Grandpa gave me six glitter glues! I'm six!"
- Jane x