It is vital that you write down what your children say before you forget it. When it comes to looking back at the last year so much has happened that if I didn't start writing this post a few months before his birthday I might have forgotten some of the things he's done.
On the way to school, James and I walk to school often, James started singing this song.
Jingle Bells, Batman smells, Robin lost his willy
Robin lost his willly and then he lost his willy.
The way I remember this song is like this
Jingle Bells, Batman smells, Robin ran away
Batmobile lost its wheel and landed in a bale of hay, hey
That's not the way it goes. Robin definitely lost his willy. But as James explained this morning (being the 9th of September 2016), Willy was Batman's dog!!! He might have been a little inspired by his friend Reggie
Recently we had a conversation about gas(oline). He saw the petrol cap lever in my car and said "that's where the gas goes.". Being the not-so-American parent that I am, I told him that was an American word. We use the word petrol. "Oh!" he says. "It's the petch that makes the wheels roll." You can't beat that.
Another year and so many milestones have been passed. Last year he'd barely dip his toes in the sea, now he's in there. Not to the same extent as his brother, who is a veritable fish, but James gets stuck in. He loves swimming, he can now swim a full length as well and will swim until he is completely blue and shivering. He has perfected the "hammerheadsault" which is a somersault but called a hammerheadsault. Let's not forget the language. I am perpetually surprised by his vocabulary and his diction. He still meeds to do things but otherwise his grasp of the English language is substantial and continues to impress me daily. Whereas Oliver is an academic-like child with a voracious appetite for books, James is an artistic child. He creates sculptures (his definition) out of cable ties and string and gaffer tape and wood and paper and anything he get his hands on.
Where would James be without wifire. He's now learned to reboot the router when it chooses not to work. I remember one of the first words he learned to say was "buffering". Such is the digital age. Their digital addiction is so extreme that they have been limited to 30 minutes a day (longer on weekends) in front of TV or the equivalent. A standard request is to watch NyooTube. He watches lots of Lego videos on dinosaurs. He loves dinosaurs and is an expert on a wide variety of these strange creatures. We will go to the library and he'll desperately look for dinosaur books - unfortunately dinosaur books are very popular at the Rosebank library so we have to stock up on NyooTube.
And then there is sugar. "Is this sugarish?. I can't have sugar, hey?" James approaches things that he's not allowed to do by asking his parents and Thuli whether he can't do something. "I can't watch TV, hey?". No James, you can't, you've had your sugar and TV fix. He persists though.
James is very much a glass half-full child who gets excited by so many things. Every present he gets is greeted with a "I've always wanted this". He is loving and affectionate and can have the most intense conversations about some over-the-top topic with such earnestness that you can't help but laugh. Laughing is the wrong thing to do under these circumstances. Often you'll see two parents stifling laughter whilst a complicated topic is being elucidated.
This is his second last year at nursery school. He'll do another year before big school. He loves his school and adores his friends. There is a strange relationship with TJ, he was adamant that he didn't want to play with him and it seemed to be mutual, but they are great friends and spend a lot of time at school and after school together. Sadly TJ moves on at the end of this year, in fact a number of his friends at school will move out to big school. James will be fine, it's me I'm worried about. Over the last couple of years I have developed kiddie-party relationships with a number of parents and I'm going to have to start from scratch next year.
Happy birthday my precious youngest son. You and your brother light up our lives. I look forward to having you come up to my office after school and talking to me and telling me about your day and showing me things you've made at school. I love walking to school with you even though you tell me religiously that you don't want to walk to school. I love the stories you tell me on the way to school. Your absolute confidence in your knowledge when you are so patently wrong but won't listen to contrary opinions. I love how you shout Dad, Dad, Dad, DAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAD when you realise that you aren't going to get what you want. I love that you come into the bedroom almost every night and take over the bed (I've got to know James' bed quite well). I love reading you stories.
All our love for the next year JimJam, you'll be one of the oldest kids in the school and will soar. Your family loves you very much and can't wait to see you as a five year old.
There's been a resurgence of interest in James Phillips. The recent Radio Rats documentary "Jiving and Dying" features James rather extensively. There is so much to James that I have yet to hear. I bump into a number of people who knew at varsity and in the clubs and he was a hard living character. At the Jiving and Dying premiere they announced the James' mother was in the audience. I was a little overawed.
Most people associate "I'm so Glad" with Cream who covered it on the "Fresh Cream" album. The original version was recorded almost 40 years before Cream covered it. The story goes that Clapton, Bruce and Baker went out of their way to make sure that royalties for this recording were given to Skip James. James used the money to fight the cancer that eventually killed him (contrast this to Led Zeppelin). I think this is the definitive version, Cream sanitised it.