Above : Woody blowing out his birthday candles image courtesy of Katy Lunsford Fine Art Photography
Woody has just turned 5. I can’t quite believe it either, nor the incredible young man he is growing into. We waited an age for this little boy to come into our lives, while everyone around us proudly sported bumps, then second bumps, some, even third bumps. For us, nothing. We came to terms with the fact that we would probably spend the rest of our lives just the two of us together and that our kitchen would not have little people eating runny eggs with soldiers at teatime around the table.
We properly gave up. Then one October day, we set off on holiday to my parents home in Southwold and praised ourselves for the fact that at least we wouldn’t have to hang out in those dreadful ball park places or eat in KFC. Surely a life of cocktails, sunbathing and lie ins was what destiny had mapped out for us. But a few days in Mr Love French Style became suspicious when I took to visiting the ice cream stall twice a day at the end of the road and couldn’t stomach his delicious fillet steaks nor even the smell of him cooking them. He took me to the pub instead but I was slurring and borderline narcoleptic after one glass of wine. The following morning I stepped out the shower to a pregnancy test on the side of the bath that he’d sneaked out to get without me knowing. I couldn’t quite believe my eyes when the result not only read positive but showed 6+ weeks gone! I was almost 10 weeks by the time I had my first scan.
From the moment Woody arrived he radiated something special, he was born tanned and everyone used to say he looked just like a golden peach! That’s still our pet name for him today. Mr wasn’t allowed in theatre when they whisked me off for a caesarian but the anesthetist who had a reputation for being miserable held my hand and whispered ” isn’t life magical ” as they pulled him out. I can recollect every second of that special day although if ever there was a successful publicity campaign not to pull blokes when under the influence of drugs then this is one. The man I remembered being tall, dark and handsome was actually short fat and bald when I recently met him again with Woody in the same clinic. I was so touched that on the day we left, a line up of the midwives and nurses came into our room and said, ” We shouldn’t really say this but the day you had your baby was one of the funniest we have had at work here! ”
And so, from that day on, we were three.
There have been many runny egg suppers, the ones we thought we would never know, along with messy lunches and numerous puking incidents. We feel so grateful for all of them. I’ll never forget the time he threw up on me in a Little Chef all over my hair and face and the dumb waitress carried on as normal and asked whether I had decided between the sausage roll or the pasty. I was so enraged I stripped off in the car park for all to see on the side of the A12. I also arrived in Jersey once dressed in not much else but an XXL Guinness publicity t shirt after he chundered all over my Boden top minutes before we arrived on the ferry.
On the beach in Jersey
I think it’s a fair assessment of our one and only child to say that he does things his own way. He is spirited and feisty and when he gets in a bad mood he marches about like John Cleese waving his arms about and cursing. As a tiny toddler, Woody used to talk and sing to snails with his big red glasses on, I took him to baby gym but he ran round and round in circles while the other kids did as they were told. At horseriding he was an overnight natural but now says he doesn’t need to go anymore because he already knows how to do it.
Image courtesy of Katy Lunsford Fine Art Photography
With every day Woody presents us with a new challenge and a new joy in equal measure. After a terrible assessment with the French school nurse he was referred for having language and communication problems, deafness and partial sightedness. He was born with a squint so we knew all about that. They took no notice of the fact that he has French as an additional language nor the fact that the shouting in French in the classroom made him switch off. My blood was beginning to boil. I am a good girl though so I followed the advice and got him assessed by a French speech therapist who told me his language skills in French were on a par with his school peers, if not better. She told me he is very bright indeed but that he’s also cheeky so probably just didn’t like the nasty nurse or want to speak to her. His temporary deafness was down to a cold and he has just been operated on in Paris for his squint with success. All went swimmingly well apart from refusing to wear the hospital gown because it made him look like a “chav” and on waking from the general he could be heard from the operating block screaming at the top of his lungs ” I hate Paris, this place is absolutely dreadful!”
He’s certainly not afraid to speak his mind. At the end of last term his teacher sent him home with his first drawing of a person, only it had no face or hair, or even hands but all it’s internal organs drawn neatly in place, including a gall bladder.
Oh, our little Woody, how we love you so. Big 5 already. Although if you ask him his age he will tell you he is 19, lives in London and drinks beer with his dinner. The teenage years are going to be predictably challenging I fear, but then again, you never know with Woody, he is full of surprises x
Above : Woody with his best friend Wilbur the sausage dog puppy.