This week has seen a big milestone for N. Double figures. Yes, he’s now 10 years old. And suddenly it feels like he’s grown up so much. He’s still pretty mellow, no sign of pre-teen emotions yet, so he was happy enough to answer my birthday interview questions.
Extraordinary school year
Being 9 years old was a great age for N. It threw up challenges that no child or parent would ever have imagined. A full summer term learning at home, ending up one of only 20% of children not in school. Luckily he had the farm to keep him from missing his friends too much.
N is focused and always wants to do the right thing, working hard at school work. His maths was fine and his reading had come on despite him still not being a fan. His writing is a lot more accurate, although creative writing and making it more interesting than just mere facts is always going to be the area he has to work harder at.
Going back to school in September into the top class in school, he grasped it and didn’t take long for him to settle in. He loves being in class with older rather than the younger year, and he was recognised as a good role model student, being rewarded, becoming one of the Prefects.
Sports wise N has had a great year. First he was recommended for the County Tennis training squad for his age group, and was chosen to attend the 6 intensive training sessions. With only 8 in his age group chosen, it was a big achievement. Unfortunately only 1 session took place before Covid closures, and the rest had to be cancelled.
He’s made the most of playing tennis once the courts and clubs opened again. With a different coach for privates sessions over the summer, he’s changed his grip and footwork, and now has another coach – luckily for all sessions he attends. But it’s been an inconsistent year, and he’s not had much chance to play matches either. We don’t know when tennis will return again once restrictions ease.
Covid put an end to N’s swimming lessons. He was always going to finish at the summer holidays anyway, but the Saturday before lockdown 1 he was moved up to stage 7, having only been in Stage 6 less than 2 terms.
N also enjoys hitting a golf ball, he’s been learning to shoot an air rifle, and has discovered he loves hockey. Not enough to want to join the local club (it would clash with tennis anyway), but they played a lot in school. Hopefully they’ll get to play again next year for the autumn/winter school terms.
Apart from dog training, this year has been the year N wanted to learn to cook. Ever since he cooked bacon when camping a couple of years ago, he always cooks the bacon, but this year he wanted to learn to cook more. And cooking meals on his own. We’ve started gradually, but he can do a basic fry up, sausage and mash, cheesecake. He’ll decide when he wants to cook and we’ll decide what he’s going to make.
Level headed and happy
N is really chilled out. I do wonder whether he’ll end up rebelling in his teen years. He was an easy baby, and toddler (apart from not wanting to toilet train), and he’s still a happy pretty chilled out boy. He has his moment where he would get a bit teary just after turning 9, about what seemed like silly things. He doesn’t like not being able to straight away understand something in school.
He’s been lovely to have at home much of the year, working alongside me at the kitchen table. Home schooling was relatively straight forward. There was no moaning about cancelling our camping trip, and there being no other holidays or breaks. No moaning about being stuck on the farm.
N treated the changes to life with restrictions as he treats most things. Pragmatically. He watches the news as he always has done from young. Downing Street press conferences. And has discussed at length Covid, people’s reactions, Trump and the US, Brexit, and all manner of fairly intellectual topics for a 9 year old.
He’s never happier than when able to go out on the farm, and he’s had a lot more of that thanks to us being home pretty much permanently from March 2020. He’s built a great bond with the new puppy, and been the one to train her, taking her for regular walks around the fields, often by his own. He’s loved driving the Gator. And he’s made friends with new calves. His next aim is to befriend and halter train his new calf in the hope of maybe showing her when they’ve both grown a bit.
Whether it’s a return to remote learning, heading back into school, he takes everything in his stride. Not much seems to bother him. When it does, we’ll talk it through.
N’s birthday, like many people’s, happened under lockdown. His only request had been to have a Domino’s meat feast pizza. Luckily takeaways are still open, so we picked up our choice of pizzas. His presents weren’t anything big, just the things he’d been asking for. Random things. A laptop to tv cable so he can play farming simulator through the tv. Hand lotion as his hands have been suffering due to all the hand washing, sanitiser and being out on the farm lots. A journal. A colour changing light bulb for his room. He was relaxed about a cake too – he was happy with a victoria sponge – complete with 10 candles.
10th birthday interview
1, What’s your favourite colour?
2, What’s your favourite toy?
Farming simulator steering wheel
3, What’s your favourite food?
Hmm, yorkshire pudding
4, What’s your favourite tv show?
Police Interceptors (no hesitation there)
5, Where do we live?
Why is that a question. (rattles off our address)
6, What does Mum do?
Work as a project manager. Do puzzles, that’s what you do.
7, What does Dad do?
Obvious. You know what that would be, farming.
8, Who’s your best friend?
I think I’m going to go with H. No, my best friends are R and M (calves, see later!)
9, What do you want to be when you grow up?
Tennis player or farmer
10, What’s your favourite thing to do with Mum?
Board games, actually no, watch films
11, What’s your favourite thing to do with Dad?
Go and see R and M (his calves, he likes to scratch their backs)
12, If you could go anywhere, where would you go?
Wimbledon. Was thinking whether I’d like to go to Australian Open because it’s in a different country,, or Wimbledon.
13, What makes you happy?
R and M, giving them scratches. And (calf) number 49. But R and M because they have names.
14, What makes you scared?
What did I say last year? Seeing a bull running at me, that would be scary.
15, What’s your favourite sport?
Me: Is that really hard?
Yes, hockey or tennis. Tennis I like playing, but hockey I like playing for fun. Hockey and tennis
16, What’s your favourite film?
Middle School, the Worst Years of my Life (I’m surprised, I thought he’d say The Grinch or Christmas Chronicles)
17, What’s your favourite band or singer?
Linkin Park and Avicci. My favourite song is One more Light but the best rocky song of theirs is Faint.
18, What’s your favourite book?
World’s Worst Parents
19, What’s your favourite thing about school?
20. What’s your biggest achievement / thing you’re most proud of?
You can also read last year’s 9th birthday interview
How have your children dealt with lockdown birthdays?