Friday, 11 September 2015

Goodbye!

This will be the last post in Matthew's blog.  I feel a bit sad writing it because keeping track of his achievements has become part of everyday life, but the time has come to give Matthew some privacy as he grows older and starts spending more time with his friends and developing his own interests.  In these days of social media, although I've tried to be careful not to give away personal information, I don't want to cause him any grief in future by publicising his life - I noticed at his 7th birthday party last week his friend Ethan has an iPhone, as do a few other children of Matthew's age.  While I doubt they are adept at Internet searching and, even if they are, they're more likely to be searching for Ninja Turtles or Ben 10 than Matthew, I have a responsibility as a parent and also an 'information professional' to keep his life private.

I had intended to stop Matthew's blog when he went to school, and again when he turned 5, but having tracked his life since Louise was just 3 weeks pregnant I felt that it would be a shame not to continue.  Plus, so much exciting stuff was still happening!  Now, however, all of Matthew's key milestones have been passed.  He can even ride a bike, which I never could!  So unless I blog until he goes to secondary school or passes his GCSEs, there will never be a good time to stop.

I'm sure there are many more exciting developments happening in Matthew's life, but the difference now he's 7 is that these are much more likely to be with his friends or at school than with me.  He's hopefully now old enough to remember the highlights anyway, and what Matthew considers important may not be the same as I would think to include in the blog.

I still remember going to the first scan, and sitting outside the hospital room just before Louise had her caesarean, and I will never forget the moment Matthew was passed to me for the first time, and stopped crying when I held him.  He's learned to crawl, eat, stand, walk, talk, give up nappies, read, write, swim, ride a bike, and perhaps more importantly for modern life, use a TV remote, operate a touch-screen smartphone, use the DVD player, and raid the biscuit tin.

It has been an absolute pleasure to watch Matthew grow in confidence from a shy little boy unsure of his abilities (such as on rope bridges, bouncy castles and in play centres), which is why one of my proudest moments was when he started riding a bike earlier this year.  He's always showed signs of being intelligent and is one of the best readers in his school for his age.  Despite learning very little English so far in his Welsh medium school, he can now read simple English books and can read enough to tell what's coming next on TV, who the post is addressed to, how to do puzzles in his magazines, and so on.

One regret is that, since Daniel was born, I haven't been able to spend as much time with Matthew.  I guess this is the same with all multiple-child families.  I'm sure this is a sacrifice well worth making, though, as Matthew has a lot of fun with Daniel (even if he is reluctant to admit it), Daniel enjoys playing with Matthew (he told me this evening that Matthew is his 'best friend'), and both boys should benefit from having a sibling to turn to when they are older, especially given our small family.  I'm hoping as Daniel becomes more independent I will be able to gradually start spending a bit more time with Matthew on his own again - as well as spending time with Daniel as he grows up too. 

Some of my own favourite moments with Matthew have been taking him on holiday to Scotland, aged just under 2, when he was incredibly well behaved; watching the excitement as he opened his toy Action Chugger at Christmas; surprising him with a trip to Thomas Land; doing our first Easter Egg hunt; watching him enjoy the car fairground ride at Folly Farm; our first trip to Legoland; our first trip to the Dinosaur Park; going on the boat trip to Caldey Island and, more recently, our day out at Manorbier.

Next week, we'll start giving Matthew pocket money for the first time.  I guess it won't be long before he has his own bank account.  Maybe in another 7 years, I'll check back in and post an update... if he lets me!  In the mean time, I hope we'll continue to share a lot of good times together, and I now have a target to aim for - to take Daniel's blog up to his 7th birthday.


7 years ago, 11/9/2008
7 years old

Sunday, 6 September 2015

Matthew's 7th birthday

It was Matthew's 7th birthday yesterday, and to celebrate Matthew went to see family in the morning and had a party in the afternoon.  Before that, Louise got up early especially for Matthew to open his presents (she had worked the night before, and wouldn't normally have been up before 12).  Matthew had a Nintendo 3DS, which he was very pleased with, as well as Marble Run - something he'd asked for.  Louise went back to bed while I took Matthew and Daniel to see Grandma and Grandad, where Matthew opened his present from them and played at their house.  We then went to see Gramps.

In the afternoon, Matthew and 5 friends had a bowling party.  Matthew's friend Isaac surpassed everyone else at the bowling, getting a strike or half strike on almost all of the games and ending with a score of 141.  Matthew finished third but seemed to be more pleased that the boys beat the girls (there were 3 of each).  After the bowling, Matthew and friends played a few games of air hockey before dinner (sausages) and before his birthday cake was served (complete with dimming of lights and a strange 'chipmunk' like rendition of Happy Birthday on the tannoy).  Matthew seemed a little embarrassed by this, as he felt everyone was looking!  They were then able to play in the play area before they went home.

Matthew had a late night as we went over the road to our neighbours' for a takeaway.  He was able to play with Isaac, who was there too.  He went to bed at 10.30pm so was able to make the most of his birthday!






Thursday, 3 September 2015

Portacabin

Matthew went back to school yesterday for his first day in year 2.  When I came home from work, he was very excited to tell me that he's now in a portacabin and had a good day because they didn't do any work.  He's now the oldest in his class again - year 3 are now taught separately by a different teacher, and the new year 1 are being taught with Matthew's year 2 class.  Matthew's class is very small, hence the grouping, but last year he was with his friends Isaac and Ethan who are older and in the year above.  This year he's not with them so will need to make new friends again - today he told Louise that none of the others in his class like him and threw apple cores at him during the break but he told me afterwards that he made this up and didn't seem too upset so I think he is exaggerating.

Sunday, 30 August 2015

Shoes and stories

We took Matthew (and Daniel) to town this morning for his feet to be measured ready for back to school shoes.  His feet haven't grown since last time - but we bought him a new pair of shoes from Clarks as the buckle has broken on his current pair.  Matthew was offered the same shoes again, but he chose a Clarks pair to get the Jack Nano toy car and spent some time this evening playing on the app.

Yesterday evening we had an unusual night-time disturbance from Matthew (who usually goes to bed without any problems and gets up on his own in the morning), as he was frightened by a Charlie and the Chocolate Factory musical video that Louise showed him in the day.  He didn't like the scene where Violet turns into a giant blueberry, and then became scared when his toy Turtles began making noises in the night (the batteries are dying - they sometimes randomly call out phrases on their own).  Despite this, he is now keen to read the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory book.  

Matthew has been enjoying David Walliams' children's books for his bedtime story recently.  After reading Gangsta Granny, we read Demon Dentist and are now reading The Boy In The Dress.  Although Matthew's reading has improved a lot and he can now read simple English, we're reading the stories to him as the language is a bit too complex for him to read properly.

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Balance Champion



Matthew came home with a certificate from his last balance bike class today.  There are more classes starting, but he can't attend as they clash with his swimming lessons on Tuesday evenings.  In any case, the main objective has been achieved - Matthew can now ride his bike without stabilisers - so the classes were worth the money and effort.

Sunday, 16 August 2015

Dinosaur Park revisited


We took Matthew to the Dinosaur Park again yesterday, as he'd asked to go there during the summer holidays.  This time he was able to do some new things that he was too small for on his last visit (at age 4) - he drove a safari jeep, played a full round of crazy golf, and also went on the hoverboats himself.  We also went on the kart racing, Matthew on his own, while I took Daniel on.

Matthew enjoyed his visit, and came away with a soft rubbery toy dinosaur from the gift shop.


Thursday, 6 August 2015

New bike

New bike!

New and old bikes for comparison
As a reward for learning to cycle without stabilisers, Louise took Matthew to buy a new bike today - an Apollo Spektor.  The bike came from a local reseller who refurbishes and sells second-hand bicycles, so it wasn't expensive and it won't matter if Matthew damages it while continuing to learn.  It's still a very nice bike, though, with brand new tyres, reflectors, gears and even still has some of the original labels on so can't have had a great deal of use (or it has been well cared for).

It's quite a bit bigger than Matthew's old Spiderman bike - the salesman measured Matthew to ensure that Louise bought a bike that was the right size for him.  He rode it outside after coming home, but was a little unsure of it when he slid off, and so when I came home from work he said he didn't like the bike.  He didn't want us to take it back though!  Hopefully he'll get used to the new size and enjoy riding it.

Matthew has had a fun day today - as well as getting a new bike, Louise took him to watch the Minions film this morning, then they went swimming for Matthew to practise (he was still reluctant to swim in the big pool), had lunch in Debenham's and then went to see Gramps and had tea at McDonald's.

Monday, 3 August 2015

Cycling solo

Matthew has been practising his newly found cycling skills again today and can now start on his own and also steer the bike.  This afternoon, one of our neighbours saw Matthew cycling outside and invited him to join their family in the park, so Matthew came along and was able to practise in a much larger area.  This evening, when I came home from work, Matthew was able to show me his new abilities by cycling outside the house without any assistance.  He's still a little wobbly trying to steer, but that will come with time.  We now need to get him a new bike, as his old Spiderman bike is too small for him.

Sunday, 2 August 2015

No stabilisers!



Today was a big day for Matthew - he rode his bike without stabilisers for the first time.  Louise took the stabilisers off as he has been making good progress with his balance bike classes, and a couple of his classmates have begun riding recently.  To begin with he was quite wobbly and I wasn't expecting him to be able to ride alone today, so was hoping just to ease him in gently and help him feel comfortable riding by holding on to his back while he rode around.  After he'd had a few goes on the top lawn like this, Louise tried to let go and he actually pedalled on a few times before losing his balance and putting his foot down to stop.  The top lawn is quite uneven, so we decided to try the concrete in the back garden and, to my surprise, he was happy when we let go and continued to pedal on his own a few times.  As he's still learning to balance and steer at the same time, we found the back garden restrictive as it is on a slope and the paths are a bit narrow for cycling, so later on in the afternoon Louise took Matthew round to the front of the house where he pedalled quite a way along the sliproad.  He still needs help starting off, so the next step will be learning to cycle without any assistance.

Matthew's latest favourite phrase seems to be "better than a slice of sausage".  When he went to Grandma's on Thursday, he told me staying there was "better than a slice of sausage", as was his swimming and visiting the castle.

Friday, 31 July 2015

Sleepover

Matthew has returned tonight from another sleepover at Grandma and Grandad's house, due to the summer holiday.  He always gets excited about staying the night there, but every time complains that he hasn't slept well because of Grandad's snoring (he sleeps in the bedroom next door to Grandma and Grandad), and last night was no exception!

Despite this, he had a good time - he went swimming yesterday and spent 40 minutes in the big pool which would have been good experience for him, and today he visited Carreg Cennan castle where he had a banana milkshake.

Louise is on leave for the next couple of weeks, but Matthew will have another chance to stay with his grandparents at the end of August before he returns to school.