Tag Archives: birthday

a letter to my youngest son on his third birthday

My gorgeous boy,

You are my third child, my youngest son and most definitely my last baby.

You have two big brothers and, when I was pregnant with you, many people speculated about your gender. Some couldn’t seem to help but make assumptions about what we’d want and about what would be ‘ideal’. There seems to be a notion out there that it is best for families to have children of both genders, you see, so this time round a girl would be perfect, right?

Wrong. Oh, so wrong. You see, YOU, my lovely boy, have always been the perfect third child for this family. Before you were born I used to hope for a ‘laid back’ baby – one of those ones that sits around smiling and isn’t bothered by anything much. I didn’t seriously think I’d get a baby like that though… not really, I mean, how could I be that lucky?!

joanne mcneil photography maddy bennett 2013-6338

The five of us on a rainy walk. Photo by Joanne McNeil Photography

But from the moment you made you entrance into the world (after nine days of stop/start labour – see, you’d already decided to take things slow!) you were so chilled-out I could hardly believe it. The moment of your birth was by far the calmest of the three I’ve experienced (let’s just say I don’t give birth easily!) You didn’t even cry. You were immediately placed in my arms and just gazed up at me with a rather serious, inscrutable expression. I cried. You pooed copiously. We laughed. All was well.

When you came home, your brothers fell in love with you immediately, and as soon as you were capable of anything other than gazing inscrutably, it was clear you loved them too. To this day your big brother claims “you gave me your first smile” and I think he might be right. You fitted in to our family like a jigsaw piece – once missing, now found. Absolutely that calm, happy baby I’d hoped for. Ok, sleep was an issue (for two and a half years… ) but during daylight hours you were Mr Laid-back, takes-it-in-his-stride, ‘I’ll just lie here and watch everyone, and bestow smiles and gurgles’.

brotherly love change

Your big brother wrote this for you when you were a baby. Translation “X’s cute, best of all he always smiles, he’s the best baby brother in the world. Specially he loves all of us.”

Your middle brother started school when you were six months old so you and I have spent a lot of quality time together these past three years. You’ve been such a good companion – happy to just be with me at home, ‘helping’ (?!) with the housework and always perfectly content to come along when I meet friends for coffee. In fact, once you got old enough, you even started requesting “We go for coffee?” as soon as we’d dropped your brothers off at school! “You wouldn’t even know he’s there!” is a comment I’ve heard about you in many a cafe as you sat calmly chewing some toast or playing with your toys.

Of course once you hit the terrible twos you got… an opinion on things. I don’t want to pretend you’ve been perfectly reasonable at all times. But then you’re a little person with big emotions, so stroppiness is bound to appear at some points. You’ve always impressed me with your ability to get over tantrums quickly and your insistence that “I’m not naughty, I’m happy!” has been enough to win me over in your difficult moments numerous times.

You’re such an imaginative boy and are able to entertain yourself for ages. Listening to you playing with your toys always brings a smile to my face. Toy cars for you aren’t just vehicles they’re little people with personalities who talk to each other. Last week I overheard a taxi and a london bus having a chat about “going to the shoppings” (one of your favourite pastimes) to buy “bread, crisps and chocolate mousse” – your cars clearly have good taste!

boys doing shape challenge

Your other favourite activities (aside from casting magic spells by yelling “I got a zebra!”) are doing jigsaws and drawing. It’s lovely to watch you and your brothers sitting side by side, concentrating on your art work. You mostly just scribble but have now begun to proudly put your pictures on the fridge yourself. You even managed to draw a picture of me the other day where I had a recognisable form. When I say ‘recognisable form’ I do of course mean I looked like a hammer with a moustache… but you’re getting there!

You are so loving, so sweet and so funny that your Dad and I can’t help ourselves but say “He’s so cute!” far too often. I know it’s ‘far too often’ because this morning you put some teddy-bear slippers on, admired your feet and said, beaming “Oh, I’m so cute!”. I should probably stop calling you that so obviously but, well, you just are!

Now you are three and I’m certain that three boys was exactly right for me and for all of us. I wouldn’t change a thing. I couldn’t be luckier than to have my three little guys and I’m so very glad you’re you.

Lots of love from your doting (and very sentimental but it is your birthday) mummy.




My littlest guy turned two this weekend. TWO – how on earth did that happen?! Is it me or does it feel like the more kids you have, the faster they age? I’m pretty sure he was only born last week but somehow two years have gone by!

2nd cakeMuch of the last week has been taken up with preparations for the big day. My older two boys made him lots of cards and presents, drew him pictures and generally got really excited about the idea of a party.

My seven-year old has helped me lots with the preparation, coming to choose food and party bag presents with me and spending hours making buns and the cake. He announced on one shopping trip: “It’s lots of work getting ready for a birthday isn’t it? Did you know that? I never knew that before but now I do!” and then on the morning of the birthday, “Today is going to be a lot of work isn’t it Mummy? I really think you’re going to need my support!” Love him.

The day went without a hitch… oh, ok I was up to my elbows in icing, still frantically sticking Peppa Pig toppers to the buns as the guests were arriving and my son was hoovering (did I ever tell you he rocks?) so we weren’t completely on top of the organisation but hey, the birthday boy had a great time. I’m not sure he really knew what it was all about but he was thrilled by the cake, shouting “Canoo, hot!” at the candles and he loved opening all the presents.

It was lovely to see our friends too – we met while pregnant with our firstborns so have been through nearly eight years of parenting side by side and all our kids have pretty much grown up together. The twelve of them made a lot of noise rushing around the house but they were all very happy and the grownups even managed a bit of a chat over the ruckus!

Once songs had been sung, food had been devoured and little feet had danced their socks off, the guests left and our three boys collapsed, exhausted on the sofa for a big cuddle. They almost went to sleep that way – like a heap of contented puppies – before we’d even got them upstairs.

When they were finally all in bed and we had poured ourselves celebratory glasses of wine we heard our (newly) two year old’s little voice over the monitor singing himself to sleep. Guess what he was singing?

“Hatta doofay to you, hatta doofay to you… ”

A sure sign he’d had a ‘happy birthday’ I reckon.

Little Hearts, Big Love