Monday, 23 March 2009

Get Your Skates On

Yesterday was Matty's ninth birthday and, as you will know if you have or ever have had children, there is nothing quite as exciting as a nine year old child's birthday. We have been building up to the day for months and scientists have yet to devise a device that can measure the vibrational frequency of a boy on the eve of his birthday.


Matty has been choosing his presents for months, with every piece of moulded plastic being carefully analysed and discussed in the playground. In truth he would have been happy if all his gifts came on shiny discs that slot in to various games consoles and computers and that give life to colourful animated hedgehogs and other super-powered creatures. Unfortunately for Matty his mean old parents don't consider unplugging one console and plugging in another sufficient exercise for a growing boy. This is why, along side the shiny discs, there was a large box containing roller-blades and enough knee, elbow and hand pads for him to safely play American football if he should so wish.


It was a beautiful Spring day and so we all trooped outside, after the half hour or so it took to strap and nail on all the padding, to watch Matty glide gracefully around the cul-de-sac. To be fair to him he did really well for a first-timer, managing to mostly stay upright. A friend, Emma, was passing and remarked that he looked like a baby gazelle, which is exactly what he did resemble, a new born gazelle, a tangle of legs, taking its first gangling steps on the Savannah. You half expected a lion to leap out and eat him. To help him gain confidence and to fend off predators we found an exciting new use for my wheelchair. With Matty holding on first with both hands but soon with only one, I towed him up and down the road with him shrieking with laughter and shouting “I'm doing it, Mum. I'm skating!” at the top of his voice. And with his little brother circling him on his scooter cheering him on, it was a joyous occasion.


To add to the excitement yesterday was Mother's day and both Polly's mum and mine had come to visit along with my aunt Megan. Also, my brother Simon came over with one of his boys, Oscar and their puppy, Mini the Minx, leaving his eldest son, Oliver, behind, stapled to a desk to complete a chemistry homework assignment. Mini, some kind of terrier, I think, was wonderfully cute and I was once again relieved that her brothers and sisters had all got homes because Polly was looking decidedly tempted. And to complete this stellar line up, my sister Helena was able to join us having flown in from Malaysia on her way to a business meeting in Houston, Texas. It was lovely seeing everyone and it made Matt's birthday especially special. It was a birthday that seemed to have gone on forever.


On Friday, after school, Matty had invited several friends home for tea and to watch Igor (a CGI animation) on DVD. They decorated cakes and ate popcorn and hot-dogs as well as playing the odd party game. Then on Saturday he and three other friends had gone to see Horrible Histories – The Woeful World War II at Wimbledon theatre after a Happy Meal fuelled lunch. All in all, a birthday to remember.


Sam, who will be five in May, has been planning his birthday since about last July and now that Matty's is out of the way is preparing to step up to the mark. Every other sentence he utters begins, “when it's MY birthday...”


Meanwhile Matt has a whole army of Glatorian Bionicles to build and organise for battle in the arena with their Thomax. And if you don't have a young boy-child around that last sentence will be utterly meaningless.