Over the past few days, we’ve been celebrating young Master M’s 8th birthday. It’s hard to believe that it’s been that long since he first crashed into our world and whilst the time hasn’t been easy, it certainly has flown past fast. The last 8 years have been filled with a lot of laughs and smiles and it’s exciting to see just how our “little bean” is growing up. Obviously, we’ve had a lot of health worries along the way – this blog wouldn’t exist without them – but those haven’t overshadowed the joy and good times of having M as part of our family.
M has become a little boy with a big personality. Like most other boys of his age, he loves everything Lego, Star Wars and Angry Birds and is a keen member of our local under-8s football team, where he can be found most Saturdays running around the pitch and even occasionally kicking the football. He loves discovering new things and although he’s not the most academic of children, his passion for new facts, knowledge of the world and probing questions have been flummoxing his teachers for years. M does struggle due to his dyslexia and dyspraxia, but the strides he has made since we got the diagnosis last year are amazing and he never lets them stop him being an active participant in class. He enjoys school now more than I ever thought possible and is keen to get there each morning to spend the day with his friends.
He adores his big sister and even though he spends most of his spare time planning new ways to wind her up, he will be the first to leap to her defense or comfort her when she’s upset. He will go off to search for a scrap of her “rag” when she’s in tears, though he will also hide it from her when he’s in one of “those” moods. They love nothing more than playing together in the garden and enjoyed most of the weekend’s sun by washing my car with M’s brand new super-soaker.
Perhaps more unusual is his flair for all things theatrical. M has never been backwards in coming forwards and I have photos of him stepping up to perform karaoke age 4. He loves to perform and is always looking for the next opportunity to do so. His current favourite musical is “Singing in the Rain”, though he’d probably also mention “Lion King”, “Matilda” and “Oliver!” in no particular order. M has a dedicated dressing-up wardrobe and has fancy dress to meet every occasion. No matter what character you’re looking for: be it “Odlaw” from Where’s Wally, “Bert” the chimney sweep from “Mary Poppins” or the “Ringmaster” from “Ninja Meerkats”; I can guarantee that M will have already been there and worn that!
When it comes to coping with his EGID and his diet, M is a trooper. He takes his medicines with the minimum of fuss and accepts the food restraints with relative good humour. He’s not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, far from it, and really struggles at times with frustration and anger that this is his lot in life. Yet he nearly always bounces back and keeps going with a positive attitude. The latest challenge of no potatoes has been one of the hardest M has had to face and he has really found it difficult to accept that he might have to avoid them longer term; but even he has had to agree that things have improved since we whipped them out of mealtimes and is now hoping that our next GOSH appointment will bring a food trial instead.
To celebrate in true style, I once again attempted to bake the double and created 2 cakes for M to enjoy – one for our family dinner and one for him to share with his friends at his party. The first he chose from my cupcake decorating book and the second was inspired by G and M’s current passion for all things “Despicable Me”. It took two long and extremely late nights, but I achieved my goal, was pleased with the results and, more importantly, so was the birthday boy himself.