I have been a bit quiet of late – building up to and then convalescing from an operation. But it’s all over now and I’m going to write about that in a separate post. In the meantime, I have been very remiss about writing a Happy 18th Birthday post for my youngest and naughtiest child. I did it for the other two and given that my third child has barely any baby photographs, no album of his first year, no memory box and lots of hand-me-downs, I thought the least I could do was a post on him now that he has successfully reached adulthood. I now have three adult children, but in these modern times, that does not mean that our parental duties are over. Apart from the fact that we will probably have them living with us for another ten years, the issues we now help them with are the bigger life issues surrounding finances, love and happiness. All intermixed of course with the ability to still tell them not to pick their nose when they think no one is looking or wondering how you can have let them hold their fork like that back in the day. We will eternally look for signs of improvement in our children – my mother still does and so no matter what age they are they will always be my children and I love that.

Here he is at 10 (can’t find earlier pics, will add later!)

He was born at over 10lbs and I remember the midwife telling me that I was very good at having babies given this was my third and he was HUGE. They rushed him off for diabetic tests, but no, he was just big. He didn’t like breastfeeding at all, it made him gag, so we swiftly gave up on that and moved on to bottles as he was always so hungry. Not an easy baby, but very cute and I was often to be found dealing with a tantrum in the supermarket. I’m so proud of his development – he was always large, but during the formative, troubled years he turned to food as a comfort and was always, always baking cakes. His weight made him miserable but we tried to avoid making him feel any more bad about it than he already did and he kept persevering with his football despite struggling at times. The schools and doctors were always trying to flag it up as an issue, despite me feeling that we needed to maintain his self-confidence as much as possible and putting young children on diets is never a good thing. My mother always said “don’t worry about him, he’s going to be tall and will grow. As soon as he starts being interested in girls he will take himself in hand and sort it out” and she was so right. It’s all very well announcing that we have an obesity crisis with children in Year 6 aged 10 to 11 – test them again aged 14-16 and you will probably find that things have righted themselves.

So HAPPY 18TH BIRTHDAY to my gorgeous, handsome, kind, funny youngest son. I can’t believe you finally reached that milestone. You’ve behaved as if you were at least 18 since you were 11, so it’s been a long time coming and the journey nearly killed me. But I couldn’t love you more and thank you for being you!!

It has most certainly been challenging – you weren’t compliant and obedient like the other two. In fact very often you were a bloody nightmare and finding ways to manage your personality was never easy. You were the one who found the divorce the hardest and I know how difficult it was for you. There was a long period of time when you were extremely unhappy, but you found your way through it with the support of your friends and family and have come out the other side, bearing your scars with pride and being a better person for it.

Having been brought up in Hong Kong and always feeling like the twelve animal signs of the Chinese zodiac always rang true, I need look no further than the description of a Dragon child. I get it because I too am a Dragon and so was my father.

It explains everything:-

The childhood and youth of the Dragon are difficult for during these periods his need for support and his stubbornness will cause many problems with his family and friends. The gap between his ideal and reality will often make him extremely dissatisfied.

The Dragon is a sign of luck and truth: it is therefore advantageous to be in close contact with a person born under this sign. Male and female dragons are extremely overpowering and therefore you must either be their friend or their rival.

They possess intellectual wisdom but their actions are not always wise and because they are made for exceptional situations Dragons are usually bored and dissatisfied as they wait impatiently for the next storm to arrive.

The young Dragon is independent and inventive. Although not a daredevil like the Tiger, he needs to be given the freedom to experience things on his own and to assert himself. A routine, a precise timetable or a strict discipline should not be imposed on a Dragon for they would only lead to a lamentable lack of communication.

He is capable of being an excellent student because he’s intelligent but he does not work very hard and detests being told to “work now, play later,” often appearing stupid because he is bored and can’t be bothered to answer the question or the teacher has irritated him. His relations with teachers are often very difficult, for he is insolent, provocative and very annoying to those in positions of authority.

He does not accept any controls and does as he wishes and only accepts advise when it is given by someone he has not met before and who therefore seems exotic to him.

He is both protective and indifferent towards his parents – the ideal for him would be to just be given food and logging and to be left just about free of everything else.

This is difficult even in our permissive time, but if treated with tolerance and generosity, with nothing required in exchange the little Dragon will become more human and blossom accordingly.

He has his first sexual experience at a young age, but there is no need to worry because Dragons never allow themselves to become involved in emotional adventures over which they have no control.

When we went sky-diving together, he was 13

and then, he suddenly shot up and grew an extra mile:-

Here he is on his 18th birthday, the day when football was truly coming home:-

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