On Friday LV, our eldest son, turned eight.
Being an August baby, he has seen almost every single one of his classmates have their birthdays come and go throughout the school year, but he has stayed the same age. It feels like he was seven for years!
In all his eight years, he has never once had a big birthday party.
Yes I know, we are awful parents! Every child deserves at least one big birthday party right? But we had been to other August parties and very few school friends were ever there. People would be away, or it would slip their minds due to the long holidays. The last two years he has actually been given the option to have a party and he has chosen not to.
Instead, we have always done some activity of his choosing, like swimming. A few years ago we even went camping. This year though he was getting a big surprise, but I’ll tell you more about that in a bit.
An eighth birthday is a very special day in our house, much more special than parties and piles of gifts. This birthday marks the first day of a (slightly) freer childhood. One that shows our children we trust them.
Their eighth birthday is the day they are allowed off our street to play.
Don’t get me wrong, he still has limits and isn’t allowed to wander freely but he’ll be allowed as far as his school. There are a few parks along the way that he can play in with his friends.
He has been waiting
very impatiently for this days since he was six and has reminded me at least once a month!
It is also the day they become the proud owner of a new mobile phone.
Actually, to be honest, we have to wait a week or so for the new range of cheaper phones to be in stock and it will just be a way of us keeping in touch while he is out. But he is so excited that he is now finally grown up enough to get his very own phone!
So back to his big happy birthday surprise
LM had an orthotics appointment at 2pm to get her new boots fitted so we left the house to get lunch early. After the appointment we took him to Halfords to choose his new bike to pick up the next day then wasted time wandering around the shops for a while. Everyone else knew about the surprise so nobody moaned or questioned us when we jumped back in the car and headed down the motorway towards Cardiff. LV had obviously had enough about ten minutes before we arrived and started wondering where we were going.
‘Dadi needs to, errr, pick something up for work?’ I said
He didn’t question it.
Within minutes we were driving on a fly over past the huge letters BOULDERS emblazoned on the side of a massive building. He still hadn’t cottoned on, even though we had been talking about this particular activity on and off for months.
We pulled up in front of the building and everyone turned in our seats to look at him. He was still none the wiser!
It took plenty of questioning for him to finally realise that we were doing the only thing he had been asking to do for his birthday. Rock Climbing!
We had paid for them to have a 90 minute private lesson and I’m so glad we did. It was pricey, at £80, but they had a fantastic teacher who was really encouraging and after the first few climbs to get the hang of it, allowed them to choose whatever climb they wanted to do in the entire place, as long as it had a rope. We wouldn’t normally spend so much on an everyday activity but being as a party would probably cost well over £80 we have no issue for special occasions.
Both LV and E were a bit wary of being near the top, but both managed it on more than one occasion. LM was happy enough climbing up and down, but really paid for it as she was in agony with her Hypermobility Syndrome even by the time we got home, in her words “It was so worth it!”. Ff was completely in her element. She even managed some of the harder paths up the walls that even the teacher was surprised at!
The 90 minutes went by really fast but they did plenty of climbs, even some harder ones up ropes and tyres. By the end they were all hot and tired but very, very happy! In all it was a great day and I’m sure all of the kids will be wanting to this for their birthday activities in the future! Here’s a clip of LV scaling a wall, sadly the sound didn’t record so I had to put some music over the top.
Have you ever been or taken your kids rock climbing? Do you think eight is too young to let your kids off the street or have their own mobile phone?