Archive for May, 2011

Go fish

Robin

The urge for a rabbit has passed and in its place has come the desire for a fish. ‘Daddy, I love you, can I have a fish’, he tells me when I get home from work. He makes a pouting fish mouth as I wake him up in the morning, following it up with, ‘Can I have a fish?’ At school, yesterday and today, he has made me illustrated notes, out of which a surprisingly clear message emerges: ‘I want a fish’.

Eliza

Eliza doesn’t slip into sleep so easily these days. She tries to delay L or I leaving her room, but will often settle to read. Sometimes she appears later in the evening, wanting the landing light switched on, or some reassurance. One night this week, I went up to her on the landing to wish her goodnight and steer her back to her room. Standing two steps above me, she asked for a French kiss. I shook my head and offered my cheek. She kissed me with lips pressed to my cheek for 20 seconds. It turned out that a French kiss meant nothing more than a longer duration.

Gabe

The results of Gabe’s mock 11+ have arrived. He was disappointed; I’m encouraged, and have tried to convey that to him. In numerical reasoning, he scored 41/45 (average score 28). For verbal reasoning, his score was 52/70 (average 46). For non-verbal reasoning, 39/67 (average 35) – this test as challenging as those I have seen set for adults.

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Up for the Cup

Gabe

As the football season neared its end, Gabe  expressed a preference for Manchester City to come fourth in the league (and so qualify for next year’s Champions League) rather than to win the FA Cup Final. His very modern sense of priority may have been challenged by 24 hours during which he watched on tv City win at Wembley and played a part in his team, the Jets, winning the under 10 cup final against the league champions.

City’s triumph was viewed with Uncle S and me during our trip to North Yorkshire.  The next morning, Gabe and I left soon after 6am to get back to Manchester for a 9.30am kick-off at the ground where the Jets had lost on penalties last year. The Jets took an early lead, which was soon doubled. Gabe played the second period and some of the third. He made an impeccably tidy performance, playing right midfield, reluctant to venture far forward. The victory came unexpectedly comfortably: 3-0. Gabe received a winner’s trophy, took his turn to lift the cup and lined up with his teammates for a series of victory photos. Gabe has taken this double-success graciously and with quiet satisfaction.

Robin

In Yorkshire, Robin was cousin F’s favourite. She followed him around, adopting the same posture as him, sometimes trying to repeat his words, as if her own. Robin took this well, but was not as charmed and pleased with his role as Eliza would have been.

Eliza

Eliza has taken up the violin. Benefiting from a grant, the school has acquired enough violins for eager 7 year olds to take one on loan. So far, Eliza has been taught plucking and so we haven’t yet had the tortured sound of a learner mishandling bow and fiddle.

Miss Green’s reading club

Eliza and Robin

As one of the class’s stronger readers, Eliza is part of her teacher’s reading club. On Friday, club members were asked to read to children in nursery or reception. Eliza chose reception class. It was arranged for her to read to Robin and two of his closest friends; H and A. Eliza read a story about a dog and a basket. The boys listened well and when the story was over, Robin clung to his big sister and wouldn’t let go.

Gabe

It is SATS week. Seemingly unhindered by his tiring weekend, Gabe has been performing well at his year five tests: maths x 3, reading comprehension, short and long writing and science. Yet, he had not been satisfied, up until Friday, when he finally got what he sought in the last maths test: full marks.

Double figures

Gabe

Gabe turned  ten today. The party, of his own devising, involved a pairs football tournament in the park with seven friends and then a pizza-based lunch at home. The tournament was mostly played in good spirits, but the disappointment of defeat was too much for a couple of friends.  Gabe was delighted with the party and presents, which were mostly £10 notes. Around him, a changing cast of L, Robin, Eliza, an older friend and I continued to play football in the garden, using his new metal framed goal, for the rest of the afternoon and early evening.

tournament official photo

All was well until bedtime. His old fear of not sleeping had resurfaced the previous night and kept him up and distraught until midnight. Once here, it takes some banishing and so his birthday evening, after such a happy day, has been spent in torment as time passes and sleep passes him by.

Gabe spent the morning of the day before his birthday at a local secondary school with several hundred other children of mostly middle-class parents. The occasion was  a mock 11 plus exam – four months before the real things. He managed to complete one of the time-pressured papers despite taking a toilet break in the middle.

Robin

One of Robin’s youngest child grievances is that the other two have better beds. That may change soon. A few nights ago, after sitting on his bed reading a story and finding the bed a little saggy, I knelt down and leant on it to say “goodnight”. The bed collapsed. Robin denied jumping on it, but my suspicions remain. For the moment, he sleeps on his mattresses on the floor beside his bed, which looks like the exposed skeleton of a large, dead mammal with its flesh picked off.

Eliza

Eliza has been invested into brownies. The ceremony featured some concocted ritual: repetition of rhymes, stepping over a mirror and jumping over a toadstool. Only then did she go to Brown Owl and make her pledge.

to do my duty to toadstool and the queen