Harry is my 3 1/2-year old son, the youngest of three children.
When he was born, we felt confident. We already had a boy and a girl. We knew what to do with babies as we had already successfully kept two of them alive to eight and ten years respectively. I work with children and babies a lot of the time so overall, we thought we knew what to expect and how to deal with it.
We didn’t get what we were anticipating with Harry.
Harry was born with muscle definition, at birth I seriously wondered if he had been working out during my wife’s pregnancy. He would have made a great Spartan child. If you remember the legend, it is said in some places that Spartan children, after being bathed in wine at birth to test their strength were left on a hillside over night if lacking in constitution.
If we had left Harry out on a hillside over night, I believe he would not only have survived but he would have made a fire, caught and spit-roast a bison, raised a small army and annexed the neighbouring country.
It is almost as if he arrived announcing “This is my world, I have come to claim what is rightfully mine.” He is a warrior child, a quick hug is all I get when I come home and in no time at all he is attempting some kind of fight with me. There’s nothing he likes more than a good rough & tumble with me or Jacob, or for good measure, both!
Very quickly, we had to throw our rule-book out of the window. The ‘how we do babies’ that worked with Jacob & Lily was entirely useless. I remember within a couple of weeks, despite having done it twice before, I thought to myself; “I have literally no idea what I am doing!”
Strength and Character
Harry is overspilling with character, not only is he funny but he also knows it. He combines a continual verbal monologue with a vast range of spectacular facial expressions to illustrate what he is trying to articulate.
These fantastic expressive faces are accompanied by physical feats that a lot of people wouldn’t credit a 3 1/2 year old capable of. Harry is a very physical child. A ball of pure energy, there is nothing he is afraid to attempt and he seems to genuinely believe that he can do anything that Jacob (12 yrs) can do. Most of the time he is right so he is often mixing it with the older kids and comfortably holding his own.
While we were doing a lot of building work, it wasn’t uncommon to find him up a ladder or sliding down a scaffold pole like Fireman Sam!
That’s Harry, a bundle of fun and games and three and a half of our most enjoyable years.
What can we learn?
From a health perspective, it shows that good nutrition; wholesome home-made, organic where possible food and plenty of fairly unrestrained physical exercise helps a child develop a sure and steady foothold in the 3D environment.
I put a lot of his balance and strength ability down to letting him find his now physical boundaries, deliberately not helping him climb / jump etc. He has, with rugged determination, just got on with it and ended up the stronger for it.
Limiting time in front of a screen has allowed him to develop physically, have great core stability and really good hand-eye co-ordination. I think it has also assisted his language and intellectual development. We also read books a lot and research has suggested that this can make a huge difference to the developing child.
I suppose in reality, who knows how he might have turned out if things had been different. It might be a huge amount down to nature too and he might have just got all the best, strongest genes we had available!