A Lovely Day with James

Today was a really lovely day I spent most of with James, my eldest.  My parents are staying with us, so I was able to do lots with James while they looked after Ryan.  First we had James’s swimming class at 8.30am.  He idolises his teacher, Dillon, and this morning on the way out, James grabbed a few roses he had in a vase in his room and said “I want to give these to Dillon as a present!”  These were the roses that James had for himself and he chose to give them all away.  So when we got there he ran up to Dillon clutching his roses and said very excitedly, “Here Dillon, these are for you!”, handed him the flowers smiling then ran back to me.  It was such a beautiful gesture and so kind of him.  Dillon was very happy with his flowers and thanked James again while they were swimming which was nice!  James had a great time swimming.  When the kids were in the water, once of the other Mums said to me “James is always so excited and full of life – it’s so great.”  And it really is.  Sometimes when I’m busy and running after both boys on my own I don’t stop enough to appreciate the wonderful energy and excited, happy spirit James has in him.  He does have a wonderful infectious zest for life.

Then later this morning we made some fresh play-doh together and he played with my Dad for a while making things out of play-doh, while I made some gingerbread-man biscuit dough.  

While the dough cooled in the fridge I spent time with James in his room, playing with matchbox cars.  He lined all of them up in rows along my leg while I sat on the bed, explaining that the cars were my ‘eggs’ and I was the chicken and I couldn’t move because I had to keep my eggs warm so they didn’t crack!  We had a good conversation about the Easter bunny and how we will decorate an easter egg basket, and how the Easter bunny puts eggs in your basket and sometimes hides some in the garden for good boys and girls. 

Then James pressed some gingerbread men out and rolled out the dough…proceeding to eat a fair amount of the dough, very cheekily – he always eats the dough or cake mix whenever we mix something for baking.  After lunch he had two of his gingerbread biscuits which turned out well. 

Then he had a ‘rest time’ listening to a nursery rhymes CD.  He loves rhyming songs and knows so many now as we also have a CD of songs in the car.  He lay there for a good half hour with pillows, blanket and his soft toys listening to the songs and sometimes whispering the words repeating them to himself, to try and memorise them!

After that I had promised him for a while we would go back to the children’s botanical gardens.  I had a feeling it would be closed and sure enough it was today.  But instead we took a big walk through the main gardens.  I lifted him up at the iron gate to show him Gardens House, where Martin and I were married and explained on that spot of grass, that’s where Mummy and Daddy were married…and we had a party afterwards in that old house.  Then we walked down the hill (via various paths and around trees) to a main lake, where ducks and black swans swam right up to us.  James was desperate to touch the swan and said “oh I wish I could take a swim in that pond!” 

Very slowly we made our way back up the hill, James stopping to pick a few flowers and collect pods and seeds off the ground.  I explained to James this was a special garden and we can’t pick the flowers, otherwise other people won’t be able to enjoy them.  He understood this and was able to resist the temptation – which would have been very hard for him as he would like to pick every flower he sees.  So I told him he could collect anything that was on the ground that wasn’t attached to a plant – and he was quite happy with this.  Thus began a huge collection I had to carry for him, of leaves, small branches of leaves, a leaf off a large succulent that had jagged edges (“this is a knife, I’m going to take this home and cut my chicken with it, at dinner”), seeds and pods. 

It was very slow going as James stopped to inspect and / or collect most of what was on the ground around him.  But as we made our way back (which by this stage I realised was off track and we had a fair way back to the car), it was enjoyable as I slowed my pace to James’s pace (physically and mentally) and we stopped to look at trees and touch them and feel how they were different.  We made our way back through a rainforest section when the sprinklers were on, which was great fun, running through the mist and smelling the smell of the garden as if it had just rained.  We met two older ladies who James proudly showed his ‘collection’ to, who were very impressed with his keen interest in various leaves and plants.  “A botanist, perhaps?” one of them thought.  James then looked down and found a twig in the shape of a ‘J’ and showed them “Look!  It’s a J! J for James!” and they were further impressed!  Then he quickly found another twig that looked like a ‘Y’ and immediately James saw the ‘Y’ shape – “Look here’s a Y!”  The two women couldn’t believe it and said they thought he was very clever for finding letters in shapes he finds.  But most of all I could clearly see that they too saw this beautiful, bright spirit and spark that is our James.  He really made their day.

Tonight when I was saying goodnight, I told him I had so much fun today and that he was so kind to give Dillon his flowers and that he made Dillon very happy.  That it feels nice to make other people happy and James agreed.  We had lots of goodnight cuddles and he was so affectionate.

James my darling son, you may not know it but you made Dillon’s day today, made two ladies’ days that you’d never met before, and you made my day too.  I love you forever and ever.

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