Double figures


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.


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 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

2 responses to this post.

  1. […] 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 […]


  2. […] results of Gabe’s mock 11+ have arrived. He was disappointed; I’m encouraged, and have tried to convey that to him. In […]


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