Birthday

Henry was 10 on Friday and, as usual, his birthday was accompanied by a mixture of feelings – pleasure at the progress he’s made in the last year and a heightened awareness of the vast gulf between him and a typical ten year old. We started mentioning his birthday a few days before and, for the first time ever, this information got a response: ‘cake’. Being on a gluten, dairy and, until recently, egg free diet has meant that Henry has had the same birthday cake for six years – a hollow papier mache creation filled with sweets, made by his older brother and me from an Art Attack annual. It’s a bit Miss Havisham these days, but seems to act as an object of reference for birthdays.  On the morning itself, the cards, presents, banners and balloons were ignored as usual – on being wished ‘happy birthday’ he said ‘cake’ – so even though he was getting a real cake this year we dusted off the cobwebs and lit the candles at breakfast time.  The photo below shows another first – Henry trying to blow out the candles – even if it was from such a distance away from the scary burning things that it barely made them flicker.

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