Posts Tagged ‘awards’

Trophy hunters

Robin

Robin strops magnificently. He was in a quiet strop straight after his football team lost in the semi-final of a tournament, having won eight straight games that morning. His gripe wasn’t that of the over-involved parents (that the best player had been put in goal) but that he wasn’t going to get a trophy. Still looking thunderous he was rolled out for the third place play-off, which was won, with Robin scoring the opening goal. And then came the medal and a trophy and a return to good humour.

The following week was the club presentation evening. There Robin and 40-odd other six year olds were given awards the size of the old Jules Rimet Trophy simply for having played. Amongst the delighted faces and shrieks of pleasure, Robin kept a serious face. The smile came when he was given to keep for the summer the trophy which his team had won at a tournament in the spring. Back at home he aligned his career haul of five trophies on his window ledge, carried them around the house, returned them to the ledge for bedtime, but had the curtain left open so he could admire them from bed.

Gabe

Five years of junior football have left Gabe’s window ledge crowded with trophies. He collected two more at his presentation evening this week – one for being part of the team and one for Coach’s Player of the Season. James the Coach praised Gabe for his vision, making passes others couldn’t see. James went on to say that when Gabe joined the team at the start of the season, the other players weren’t on the same wavelength as he, but gradually they were connecting. Fine words for the lad.

Eliza

Eliza has become very close to a new friend this year at school. Little A is Hungarian (although speaks English) and for some time has known she is returning this summer to live in Hungary again. Her mother, who struggles to communicate in English, invited Eliza to tea on their penultimate day at school. Little A’s mother promised she is a ‘kitchen fairy’ and made all of Eliza’s favourite foods. Little A, touchingly, had presents for Eliza.

Eliza’s long-time close friend Tall A is also leaving the school. Friends since they were three and living walking distance apart, Eliza and Tall A will continue their friendship. I imagine, though, that Eliza will notice a gap when she returns to school in September.

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Easter Island bonnet

Gabe

All pupils at Gabe’s primary school are given the homework task of making an Easter bonnet, which are paraded at a special prize assembly. Gabe picked on a chance comment about Easter Island and decided that would be the theme of his bonnet. Its construction involved the usual amount of angst he experiences when making something. While it featured a recognisable Easter Island stone head, in L and my eyes it lacked evidence of real commitment. Nonetheless Gabe seemed convinced it would be a winner.

L received, and dismissed as a hoax, a text from a friend announcing that Gabe had received an award. Only when Gabe came home from school with an Easter egg, was the truth of his achievement appreciated. The novelty of his idea – when all around them were chicks, nests and flowers – had swung the judges.

Surprise victor

Eliza

We tracked down a roller-rink in the locality, where Eliza can pursue her roller-blade passion. Situated in a warehouse on an industrial park, the rink sits anonymously, without signage to draw customers. Fittingly, then, it should be a hidden gem. A throwback to the middle of the last century – from its tiny ticket booth, to its paper decorations hanging from the ceiling, plastic covered booth seats around the rink, cheap tuck shop and most of all, its polished wooden rink. And it was a venue for skaters of all ages; many of the most elegant were of retirement age.

Eliza herself was as much a spectacle. She has an easy, graceful style. But what strikes most are her spindly, stick legs rising from her chunky boots with blades. She is much less fragile than she appears, but the worry remains.

Robin

Robin is progressing well at school and showing a facility for learning. Yet, there remain some odd blind spots. Whenever he reappears in the room after a trip to the loo, L or I ask whether he has flushed and washed his hands.  He pauses, before trotting back to complete the task that continues to seem just a little beyond him.

Double gold (again)

Gabe

Gabe returned to the Liverpool Performing Arts Festival at St George’s Hall as part of the school orchestra and recorder group. The latter won their competition, facing no opposition whatsoever, with Colonel Bogey and Calypso Carnival. The orchestra came top of their group, winning a distinction for playing Tordilion and The Sound of Silence. L and I got to see the school assembly celebration performance. The music was precise, controlled and really arranged and played with real sophistication.

Robin

Pancake day drove Robin to distraction. Because of his egg allergy he wasn’t in the group that made pancakes on the first day. Furious on leaving school he turned on L: “It’s your fault, you growed me.” With forbidden pancakes made at home, he kept up the bad temper for the rest of the day. Back at school, he finally had pancakes that he could touch, made with our soya egg substitute, and found he liked them.

Eliza

The new year at gymnastics has seen Eliza performing forward rolls on the beam and hanging from the wall-bars with her legs stretched out parallel to the floor. Her favourite new manouevre is the kick-over. From a crab position, she kicks her legs up and over, flipping herself over and landing the other way up on all fours. Initially the crab was with feet elevated on a support, or sofa when practising at home. But, with concerted practice, the kick-over is now essayed with her feet starting on the floor, on a level with her hands.

25m badge

Robin

Robin has moved up to the yellow cap swimming class. No flotation aids are used. This week, the teacher began by pacing out 10 metres along the side of the pool and asking his charges to swim to the marker. Robin managed it. The kids were sent back and challenged to do it again. This time as Robin reached the marker, the teacher encouraged him to keep going. Robin was heading to the deep end, with the teacher’s metal pole waving ahead of him. Robin moved with a mix of paddle and breaststroke. He stopped every couple of metres to breathe and then sank below the surface as he pushed himself forward. And so, at his first effort, Robin swam a full length. At the end of the lesson, the teacher shook Robin’s hand and gave him a form, which we cashed in for a 25m badge and certificate. Robin said it was his first trophy.

Eliza

Eliza went to school on tuesday dressed in a white ankle-length skirt and with a woollen shawl wrapped around her. It was Victorian Day. Eliza and her classmates had a special assembly, held by the headteacher sporting a moustache to make the point that women didn’t fill such roles. In class, the children played with slates and baked Victorian biscuits.

Gabe

Gabe has begun preparing for his 11+ exam next year. We spend an hour each week looking at test papers. He enjoys the test, scoring highly but is quickly discouraged if he doesn’t know the skill being tested.  He also tends to rush into a question, falling into traps laid by the question-setter.

Double gold

Eliza

Eliza’s gym class had an end of term competition. Eliza was in a group of 5 – the youngest girls. She was last to perform the floor routine, which involved cartwheel, forward roll, splits, crab and lifting herself off the ground from a seated position. She was precise and sharp, managing to perform every exercise and smooth transitions between them. She won enthusiastic applause from the audience of families. Eliza’s second discipline was a vault, which was across the hall from where we sat. The judges gave her gold for the floor routine, silver for the vault and joint gold for the overall competition. Each award required a trip to the podium – twice to receive a medal. She looked too skinny and scared to smile. Her pleasure seemed to come afterwards, knowing how well she had done and showing her medals to us and her friends when less exposed than when in front of a crowd.

Gabe

Gabe asked to make lunch for everyone: toasted cheese sandwiches. He buttered the bread, arranged the cheese slices and, with a little help, handled the sandwich toaster. Eliza wanted a normal cheese sandwich, which he also made. She complained that there was too much butter. Gabe apologised. L and I stopped him, wanting him to see that making meals is work that should be accepted gratefully by others.

Robin

This week’s freezing weather has gradually broken down Robin’s resistance to warm clothing. First went the shorts. Then came gloves and zipping up his coat. Finally, he has worn his hat. He is no keener on snow now than he was during the great freeze in January.

Sandy is dead; long live Crystal

Eliza

Sandy turned out to be not shy, but ailing. Rarely seen, never going near his wheel or chewing the bars of his cage, the big clue came when he didn’t eat his hamster muesli. He was still alive when L returned him to the petshop. The kids were told and Eliza sobbed. She asked to visit him and thought this particularly important if she was to accept our offer of a new hamster. He died before visiting became an issue.

So we went on a hunt for a new hamster, avoiding the pet superstore from where Sandy had come and been returned to. We found a grey Syrian hamster, twice the age and three times the size of Sandy. Crystal has a bit of rat about her, which should make her more resilient. She was ready to be handled straight away and Eliza is bonding with her, even allowing for the nip on the finger she got today.

Gabe

Gabe was as upset as Eliza, finding it difficult to go to sleep the evening he was told about Sandy’s illness. The next day, knowing that Sandy had died, Gabe felt better, explaining that it was Sandy being sick that had made him so sad. He did want a detailed explanation of Sandy’s illness and worried that L’s efforts to disinfect the cage wouldn’t be sufficient.

Gabe’s school underwent an inspection. His literacy class was observed, with the inspector sitting close to Gabe. At the inspector’s insistence, Gabe was given the ‘Star of the Day’ award, for being particularly bright and helpful.

Robin

Robin is now revelling in being one of the older boys at his under-5s football club. In the short match at the end of the session, he scores regularly, gets stuck in making tackles and even heeds his brother’s advice to find space when a teammate has the ball.

End of the school year

Robin

Robin ends nearly two years uneasy association with St Anne’s Playgroup. As a fresh two-year old, he sobbed when left and didn’t want to play with the other kids. As time passed Robin moved from upset to indignance. Finding out it was a Playgroup day tripped him into a surly mood with complaints that he didn’t like the place. This hasn’t been the experience of the group’s staff who report him as active and cheerful. Will five days each week of reception be better welcomed by Robin in September?

Gabe

For the final month of term, Gabe’s homework has been to work on his project. This has given him nearly four weeks to procrastinate and put barriers in the way of getting on with the task. Then faced with a Monday deadline, he buckled down on Sunday evening and early Monday morning. He has produced, with strong moral and a little practical support from L, an interesting and well illustrated 16 page project on Spain.

Eliza

Eliza has ended the year just as she began it: by getting a Golden Book mention for being “really super at everything.” She showed unusual thrust in this final week. By responding fastest to the teacher’s enquiry, Eliza has brought home three stick-insects for the school holidays. They’re even coming to Devon with us.