Archive for October, 2014

Telescope

Gabe

Gabe’s astronomy class, one hour per week after normal school hours, has been boring, difficult and entirely theory. That changes next half-term, with the need to complete three observations. I ordered Gabe a telescope and together we assembled it (a lot of cajoling required). There was a problem with the eye-piece which slotted into place too securely and couldn’t be removed. I decided to unscrew the eye-piece casing, found that I couldn’t, but neither could I resecure it, leaving the telescope rattling inside with nuts I must have dislodged. Next stop: find a telescope repair service for the telescope that Gabe hasn’t even used yet.

Eliza

L headed to St Andrew’s for the half-term holiday by train with the three kids. It was the day after Eliza had been at a sleepover party at her best friend’s house. Eliza was tired and grumpy. The train on the final leg of the journey north of Edinburgh was crowded and they had to stand. “I’m not having it!” declared Eliza, who lay down on the carriage floor and shut her eyes.

Robin

Robin’s football team had a successful start to their first season of inter-club football. In the top section of the district they began with a win and a draw that they should have won. Since then, they’ve been beaten every game. Robin has taken this equably. He notices that more goals are let in when he’s off the pitch, but no longer sulks when losing or after a defeat. Within minutes of a game finishing, he and his teammates are happily larking about.

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Success (and tears)

Eliza

Three letters from the three schools where Eliza had sat entrance exams arrived on the same day. One-by-one, L opened them: Pass, Pass, Pass. A clean sweep and a free choice for Eliza.

A couple of hours later a text arrived from her best friend’s Dad. E had failed by six marks. The best friends wouldn’t be going to secondary school together. Eliza went silent, cried quietly and stayed upset for the afternoon.

Robin

I was walking Robin to football when L called us with the news. Robin danced for joy and hugged Eliza when he saw her later. At school, he made her a present in art class to mark her achievement.

Walking with L a few days after Eliza’s news, Robin said he would like to go to the same school as Gabe and Eliza. L said he would have a good chance if he worked hard. Robin said he knew he could work hard, but wasn’t sure he could pass the exam.

Gabe

Gabe has become the guru of grammar school, offering advice and answering Eliza’s questions. “Do girls wear cardigans?” is my favourite. When she was at her most upset at her friend, E’s, exam result, he did the most to reassure her: “You’ll make new friends at school and still have a best friend out of school.”

Battle lines

Gabe

Battle lines between older son and parents exist on these territories: food (diversity thereof), tidying room, doing homework, getting things ready for the next day, use of digital devices, putting dirty clothes in washing basket, general courtesy in conversation with family. There’s also a struggle over the timing of washing. It’s not that Gabe won’t wash, he’s increasingly self-conscious about his appearance and his use of deodorant is a threat to the ozone layer. He wants to shower in the morning. Most days this is fine and sensible. There are days, however, like this Tuesday, when he went from school football match to club football practice, when washing before bed is imperative. At least, that’s what I think. Battle line. Maybe I should retreat.

Eliza

Parents evening with a new teacher. The discussion begins at a low key, with the teacher explaining levels and targets. Suddenly she leaves the educational jargon: “Eliza is a dream to have in class.” She tells us how Eliza will be challenged to do a high level writing paper, how she leads her mixed ability table, helping them with maths and how she keeps out of all the trouble and name-calling in the playground.

Robin

Robin has tended and harvested a grievance since the start of term. He’s reading books at a lower level than he believes he was last year. He has to be persuaded to read from his allotted book and mumbles the words to indicate his annoyance. At parents evening, L raised this with his teacher who said she would move him straight on to the higher level books. At bedtime, I gave him this news. “What? You told her? No.” I wonder if the grievance was more important to him than reading books at the right level?