Posts Tagged ‘bedtime’


Over the years, L & I have called on friends (other Mums), teenage girls and visiting family members to babysit the kids while we have an evening out. The teenage girls have now either gone to university or have busy lives of their own to lead on a Friday or Saturday night. But when they have been available, it has begun to seem inappropriate and embarrassing for Gabe to be babysat by someone he may see in the school yard. 

We have just started a new era, where Gabe is in charge. For the first evening, L & I were having dinner five minutes drive away. A few weeks later, we had an anniversary meal in a restaurant 15 minutes taxi ride away. Our concerns were two-fold: 1) what if Gabe were spooked by a noise, or someone knocking at the door? 2) what would happen if Eliza and Robin defied his authority, or needled him as they often do. Neither of those situations occurred. When we got home, Eliza and Robin were in bed asleep and Gabe untroubled watching TV. 

We asked Eliza the next morning how things had been. “Fine” she said. Gabe had stayed in his room on his X-box while she and Robin watched TV. He had come downstairs once to ask if they were ok, then went back upstairs again. A very relaxed babysitter. 

Trophy hunters


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.


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 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.


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.

Degree of difficulty


After months of performing more advanced gymnastics in the living room than at her gym club, Eliza was moved to a new class following some prompting by L. She went along for the first time tonight. The two hour class began with a lengthy conditioning session. Then onto bar, vault and rope. A far more physically demanding class, Eliza ached all over at the end. L said she looked enthralled and she did seem excited although said she was annoyed that she couldn’t do everything they practised.


World Book Day was transformed by the junior school into a day to come to school dressed for sport. Gabe went as a cricketer. He came downstairs for breakfast in his whites and padded up for his cereal. Gloves and helmet went on for the trip to school. He stayed in the full kit all day at school, only taking his helmet off for lunch and recorder lesson.


In place of a bedtime story this week, Robin has opted for games of connect-4. He’s keeping in nick for an ongoing breaktime competition with his classmates. He explained today that his next game is four days away. Robin’s described how the matches attract an audience who whisper and chat about what the next move should be.



Eliza is capable of dense sessions of reading, usually in bed. This week she has finished two Roald Dahl novels (BFG and The Witches) in single gulps, coming downstairs long after her bedtime to let us know another book has been completed.


Gabe made his return to competitive cricket, playing for Sale in an indoor 8-a-side competition. Of potential significance was that I was coach. But it seemed to neither inhibit nor embarrass him. It was no dream reintroduction: he bowled one complete over of wides and another with four wides. All ten signalled by me. I could see the angst in him, but couldn’t do much to help. He recovered and played some nice strokes when batting.


Some wise words from Robin:
[Early morning. Robin has climbed into bed with me.]
R: Will you be embarrassed when you’re bald?
Me: No
R: I would be. I’d wear a hat.

Robin on national dietary differences:
English people eat the most crisps of anyone in the world. In Switzerland, they eat the most chocolate.. at every meal, like we have ham.