Archive for January, 2011

Hall party

Robin

We held Robin’s fifth birthday party in a large, traditional wooden-floored, community hall. He and nine lads keenly contested running, dancing and spinning games, while two girls clung to their mothers. The party-goers kept up the pace for two hours and remained good tempered and well-behaved throughout. Not a single tear of frustration, upset or anger was shed. Most of Robin’s presents were jigsaw and/or Star Wars themed, as they had been at his family birthday tea two nights earlier at Pizza Hut. In fact, Robin was irked at any presents that didn’t stick to this theme.

Eliza

Eliza and her friend A provided my highlight of the party. They performed a dance routine to a tune they know from school ‘Wake up and shake up’. They sashayed from left to right, spun and kicked. Ten little boys competed with focus and fervour to match the older girls’ moves and win the prize.

Gabe

The series of Gabe’s excellent school reports continued at L and my meeting with his class teacher. Mr R, gently camp and sporting knitwear, enthused over Gabe’s ability, speed of learning, attentiveness, general knowledge and openness to a challenge. He indulged himself, but even more, us, with a speculation about what Gabe could be in 20 years time: a chemist, a linguist, a mathemetician, anything. He was as surprised as every teacher has been when we’ve mentioned how overwrought Gabe can be about school, and homework in particular, and promised to speak to Gabe about this.

Flag game

Gabe

The flag game involves naming the country from a card-sized picture of a flag. Gabe challenged L, Grandma, Grandpa and me to a game when visiting St Andrews. He trounced the four adults, calling correctly the flags of countries as diverse as Bhutan, Yemen, Norway, Guyana and many more. This knowledge isn’t the outcome of some recent cramming, but has persisted with little refreshing over the two or three years since he was gripped by flag fanaticism and studied and coloured the flags of the world.

Robin

We headed out on our usual walk from Grandma and Grandpa’s house. Robin and Eliza raced through the woods. At the top they climbed and jumped around the clinker pile. They skipped and swooped along the tree lined lane. Robin then raced down the hill, charged along the West Grange Road and all the way back to the house, completing a mile long run without pause.

Eliza

On the East Sands, Eliza made a beach mii, using a shiny pebble as her hair grip and shells as butterfly decorations on her sandy dress. Earlier, she had gone on a treat trip to town with L and Grandma for a hot chocolate in a coffee shop.

Minute test

Gabe

Gabe’s class does a weekly times table minute test. Gabe was disappointed before Christmas when he wasn’t the first in the class to get the full 45 marks, but he did manage it the week after. With a statistician’s touch, Gabe keeps a bar chart of his performance and calculates his average score.

Robin

L is painting the walls of Robin’s room. While the work is progressing, he has moved in with Gabe for the first two nights and Eliza the third. There was some spiteful competition between Gabe and Eliza for the honour of hosting him – more evidence of his popularity.

L didn’t buy Robin’s preferred shade of blue paint. This has enraged him and he complains loudly and regularly that the walls are too light.

Eliza

Eliza went to a roller-skating party, fulfilling one of her ambitions. She needed L to support her for her first circuit of the hall, but skated independently thereafter. Her pocket money (£1.50) will be put towards buying a pair of roller-blades which cater for feet 1/2 size larger than hers – but still the smallest manufactured.

Penmanship

Robin

Just as Robin has turned away from stories, there has been a great flourishing of penmanship. It started with his drawing of footballers, a thread that culminated in his picture of the full Spanish football team. He has drawn animals: cats, dogs and monkeys. Robin has been writing, too – his name, sentences dictated to him, and the letter y, in its most curly format, across the bottom of the Observer’s holiday crossword. At Christmas, I saw him trace the letters of curlywurly along the packaging of his Cadbury’s variety pack.

Eliza

Eliza’s new bed has been delivered and assembled. She’s had three satisfied nights sleeping in it. It’s a full size single bed, with a second mattress stored below, which can be rolled out, elevated and made into a double. Stretching out, Eliza covers no more than one-sixth of the single bed’s area. Curled up asleep, 90% of the bed is left empty.

Gabe

A letter home announced the start of sex education lessons for year 5. Gabe appeared reluctant and when asked, he explained that it was “rude”. I made some attempt at reassurance – more information has to be better. Gabe has come across nuclear weaponry in a book. He was alarmed and upset, and sought more information. How many bombs would wipe out a country? How many countries have nuclear bombs? Do they have one bomb each? Would a bomb on Manchester destroy us? Will there be a bomb in his lifetime? Can we move to the country? I wasn’t sure how to reassure and am not convinced that more information is beneficial.

Dads v Lads

Gabe and Robin

The boys were the junior members of a lads team (1 girl) that took on a dads team (3 mums) in a 7-a-side match at the park on New Year’s Day. Robin had cried before the game when Gabe told him he couldn’t play. He cried after the game when L and I insisted he changed out of his new football socks. He didn’t cry during the game when a dad back-heeled a fast moving ball slap into his face. He lasted the match and was pressed into service by the dads to take a penalty, which he scored after a couple of unsuccessful efforts were struck-out owing to players transgressing into the penalty area.

The Lads won 12-4, with Gabe netting a tidy hat-trick. A year has proven to be a long time as the result in this fixture a year ago was a draw, with the Dads easing up.

Eliza

Eliza’s Christmas holiday treat was to go skating – her second visit to a rink following a friend’s party almost one year ago. Despite such limited and quite distant experience, she went straight out onto the ice alone, allowing me to shepherd Robin on his first attempt. Her bravery continued as she picked herself up after numerous falls and carried on skating. We spent over an hour on the ice and while she didn’t move fluently, she shuffled along, contented and focused.