Archive for April, 2012

That’s the life


Robin had his scheduled egg challenge at the hospital and cleared each hurdle: egg placed on his lip, egg mixed with chocolate mousse and egg with bread. He was monitored for over three hours, but no signs of ill effects showed. Increasingly restless – and hungry – he was happy to break out of the ward, to the outdoor play area where we played ‘three and in’ with an under-inflated basketball. “This is the life,” he enthused.

Eventually discharged, he celebrated with chips and ribena in the hospital cafeteria. Cake waits for another day. We talked about how patients stay overnight at hospital so nurses and doctors have to stay awake to look after them. “That’s not the life,” he reasoned.


Is this the life for Eliza? Taken by a friend’s mother for cake at Starbucks in the Trafford Centre and then a trip to the haberdashery department of a store. Girly but grown-up, civilised but gauche. I think she would prefer to be turning cartwheels.


Gabe’s life is punctuated with high pressure moments. To the entrance exams, Cup Finals, music exams and singing competitions is now added playing the piano to the mayor and an audience of 80 at a charity concert. He looked like he was about to faint as he prepared for the piece, The Military Minuet, but pulled it off well.


Gabe and Eliza had reached stalemate, vetoing each other’s wishes for how we could spend the afternoon while Robin was at a party. From one, quickly supported by the other, came the idea of cooking: a bake-off, like on television. They consulted recipe books, chose different sweets and drew up a shopping list. I was to decide the winner, and the thing I wasn’t allowed to do was call it a draw.

The baking took hours as they struggled with cracking eggs, chopping chocolate and whisking, while I only participated when heat or sharp knives were involved. The floor and kitchen surfaces were covered with detritus from the chocolate chip cookie and chocolate brownie making. The spoils came out of the oven while they had tea. I marked them on independence, clearing up and taste. Gabe’s brownies won by a single point.


Robin, perhaps returning to school after the Easter holidays, has shown a little more vulnerability than usual. A couple of nights he became upset, saying he couldn’t fall asleep and that his mouth was too small to yawn, which he showed with a fish-like gulp at the air. Another night, a book he had read with L about Planet Earth had made him fear falling off and into space. And in the playground in the morning he has clung to L or me, resisting the entry to his classroom.

Shattered and blistered

The Easter holiday has involved copious amounts of physical activity. All three children have had six days at the cricket club multi-sports camp, playing through sun, wind, rain and hail.


For Robin, multi-sports has really meant hours and hours of football played with boys older than himself. ‘Mikey said I’m the best mini-kid at sports,’ Robin reported one of the teenage helpers telling him. At home, before and after camp hours, Robin has been in the garden with a football, practising keepy-uppies (personal best: 3) or playing with me and..


..Gabe in emotion-filled games. Usually laughter as they tackle and tangle trying to score against me; or Gabe trying to head crosses from me past Robin into the net. And then when Robin is too shattered to know when to stop, and Gabe too tired to know when not to tease him, an outburst of anger.

At the camp, Gabe has been putting in the hours in the cricket nets and lording it as one of the oldest there by winning tournaments.


More reluctantly, occasionally as the only girl, Eliza has been at multi-sports, too. She avoids the football and plays tennis, hockey, soft-ball cricket or rounders. Then after a day of outdoor activity, she has been going to gymnastics for two hours (twice per week), ending up exhilirated and exhausted. Her first experience of intense practice on the bar has blistered her hand – a mark of her serious intent.

Forced on top of this exercise was a walk near Wrexham. Eliza describes it in her holiday homework:

My holiday story

Monday 9th

On Monday of my Easter holidays I unfortunately me, my mum and dad and my two brothers went to Wales. This was only because my dad wanted to do a walk there. Well there was goats, lambs, alpacas that I really liked and pigs that I didn’t like so much. And thre was places to collect stones and pottery. But the best bit of it was deffinately walking across the 40m aquaduct which Gabe didn’t really want to go across. We had lunch there and went in the playground and altogether it proved me wrong about the unfortunately thing at the start.