I had feared that when my eldest turned eight the gushing tap of affection that has been overflowing since he was a tiny mite would just switch off as a surly, pre-teen claimed my precious little boy. But after a weekend of birthday celebrations I am happy to report that the rumours of the demise of my cuddly little boy are greatly exaggerated. While the sulky strops are becoming more frequent, they are certainly no worse than the toddler tantrums of yore and I am still feeling the love just as much.
Take his birthday party - an orgy of activities designed to appeal to small boys from quad biking to a high ropes assault course, all powered by copious amounts of chips and sweets hosted by the fabulous Essex Outdoor Activities. A great time was had by all boys who took enormous pleasure in crashing their bikes and dangling precariously from ropes hung high in the treetops.
Must admit not my idea of fun, but my day was made as I strolled behind the birthday boy and his best friend from school. The friend turned to my boy and said "Which person here is your best friend of all?" clearly fishing for compliments. My son replied, quick as a flash: "My mum". Awwww. When I relayed this conversation to my husband I pondered how long it would be before he was mortified by the very concept of his mum being his best mate, and even if he wasn't when he would rather die than admit it to a school friend.
I must say I am happy that the days when I become an embarrassment haven't arrived just yet. He still begs me to take him down to line up for class in the morning, although he did blush bright pink and shrug me off when I declared a bit too loudly "Love you gorgeous" as a parting endearment. Note to self, must keep sweet nothings to whispered tones in company.
Then there was his family birthday party on the big day, a Halloween extravaganza planned and executed single handed by mummy. Despite my aching feet and extreme exhaustion, it was all worth it when my lovely boy flung his arms around me and said the biggest thank you for the best party with a little shine of tears in his eyes. Suddenly all the hours of cooking, traipsing around party shops, pinning up banners and trying to get the blasted steaming cauldrons to steam seemed worthwhile.
I know my days as number one girl in their lives are numbered, but I am storing up each and every one to keep me warm in the chilly teenage years. Although I have a sneaking suspicion that even then, as long as no one is looking, my boys might still have a cuddle and a kiss for their old mum every now and again.