Archive for May, 2010

Gappy smiles

mind the gap

Eliza & Gabe

Eliza lost one of her top front teeth eating corn on the cob. There was sobbing, a little blood spat into the sink, a tiny white tooth and soon a gappy smile. It annoyed Gabe, as it meant that Eliza had overtaken him in the number of milk teeth lost (3 v 2). He regained the lead three days later, when both his top front teeth were extracted at the dentist’s. They had remained in place despite the arrival in front of them, shark-like, of one new adult tooth. Injections were used to numb Gabe’s mouth. His struggles in the face of the needles were easily suppressed by the dental nurse.

Robin

Robin sits at a developmental crossroads – wanting to tell us a story runs forwards, but crossing that route comes remembering what has actually happened. When butter was found splattered on the kitchen floor, he denied involvement. Under closer questioning, a story of knocking the tub from the shelf tumbled out. It fitted the facts. But last week, he came downstairs after bedtime complaining of crumbs in his bed. And his sheet was covered in granules – from toast eaten in his bed, he said. They weren’t crumbs, however, but grit or sand, for which he had no explanation.

Advertisements

Chop, chop

Robin

Somewhere behind Hollywood films, comes me in the list of influences over Robin’s speech. ‘Chop, chop’, I say, to hurry the children along. Robin now says it to others and to himself, to give a sense of urgency to whatever he is doing.

Eliza

Eliza has started attending an after-school club called Streetdancing. Inner City LA has come to our leafy Manchester suburb. Eliza explains that the music is fast; the children are arrayed in four lines to learn and execute moves; at the end of some dances the children strike a pose of their choice. Eliza’s poses are angular and involve pointing or crossing arms in front of her face.

Gabe

Gabe is an excellent pupil who copes easily with all that is required of him in school lessons. He does, however, seem to have early onset writer’s block. Monday homework usually involves some open writing task. It drives Gabe into a frenzy of anxiety and frustration. The time he spends finally completing the writing is but a small proportion of the time he spends fretting about what he has been asked to do.

Cup final

Gabe

Gabe’s U9 team played a cup final against a team who had beaten them 8-1 earlier in the season. The match was played at a local non-league ground, on around 1/4 of the pitch area. Both teams defended solidly and despite some flowing football, there was no score after the first third, the second third, the third third, and two periods of extra time. And so to penalties – surely not necessary for 9 year olds – where the other team’s nerve held. Consolation came in the form of a boot-shaped runners-up trophy.

Eliza

Eliza has the skipping bug. In the house, she turns scarves and ties into skipping ropes. Outside, she jumps over ropes. She prefers to have the rope turned for her, so she can time her run into the rope’s orbit and start jumping. She likes a routine where she turns 90 degrees with each jump, which for some reason accentuates her leg length making her foal-like.

Robin

When playing ‘pretend’ games with Eliza, Robin isn’t simply the obliging stooge any more. Whether the game is horses, or school, or whatever subject matter, Robin now has a say in the progress of the game. Learned from Eliza, the game’s next step is always announced with ‘Pretend’, or when coming from Robin, ‘tend’.

Messi-Kaka

Gabe

Gabe celebrated his 9th birthday with 7 friends, me and another Dad at lazer quest. His nom de jeu was MessiKaka, eschewing the superhero and shoot’em up names on offer. The boys also took on the climbing wall – a 10 foot high construction with a wall rotating like an upright caterpillar track, which speeds up and tips from near vertical to beyond vertical. Gabe and his friends were tough and determined, clinging on and climbing longer than I would have imagined. A noisy burp-fest of a birthday tea comprising pizza and fizzy drinks concluded a good humoured party.

The previous night Gabe played his first competitive game of cricket. He bowled well, picking up a wicket and having some close shaves. His highlight was a catch on the square leg boundary, taken coolly.

Eliza

Eliza showed her political colours (at least, those of her teacher), when she asserted during the election campaign that she wanted Gordon Brown to win as the others would close down schools.

Robin

Robin endured a brief bout of sickness. When struck for the first time, he showered the entrance to Gabe’s school. Back at home, each time he was sick, even when in bed, he managed to dash to the toilet. He stayed stoical throughout.

Several days later, L was hit by something similar. Robin lay in bed next to her. He advised her that, if she felt sick, she should run really fast to the toilet.

Sleeping and not sleeping

Gabe

Gabe has entered a relatively harmonious patch: he no longer needs L or I to visit his room at 20 minute intervals or becomes frantic, despite repeated reassurances that sleep will come his way. He does nag to stay up, but has become content to go to bed, reading a book and listening to 5 live (football commentaries preferred). Once asleep, he stays that way until either early morning if there is something on tv he wants to watch, or he is woken up to get ready for school. A period of loud, sinus-scorching snoring, seems to have abated.

Eliza

Eliza often begs us, clinging to us, to stay in her room. But it is short-lived and soon after she will be asleep, perhaps after reading. Asleep, she curls up, usually with duvet pushed off her, often with a cuddly toy on her shoulder and her hair strewn across her pillow. In the middle of last night, I woke with her standing at my side. She had had a bad dream. She slipped into bed, a narrow boney body at my side. I dozed and woke sometime later and told her it was time to go back to her bed. She acquiesced, but with me walking her back across the landing to her room, tucking her in bed and tugging the curtain to let some pre-dawn light into her room.

Robin

Robin is the most active at night. Sometimes he rolls off his mattress onto the floor, without waking. If he wakes, as he did last night, inadequately covered by his duvet, he shouts for assistance – causing my third waking of the night. A quick straightening of the duvet and hug placated him.