Posts Tagged ‘breaking things’

Double figures

Gabe

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.

Robin

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

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

Advertisements

English children abroad

Robin

Robin at four remains solidly and attractively an infant. There’s no precociousness, but much charm. He walks, swinging both arms forward and backwards together. He runs, then skips and reverts to running. He waves with his forearm extended away from his body and a fast, little rotation of his open hand. Waiting for a train to take us into Rome, he asks, “How do trains know where we want to go?”

Gabe

A great enthusiast for the very few foods he eats, Rome gave Gabe the chance to eat pizza at least once a day for a week. He did just that, having adult portions, and showing no signs of sating his passion for pizza.

Eliza

Eliza’s holiday pleasure was encapsulated in the Rome snow-storm paperweight she chose as her souvenir. She guarded it closely, fearing other clumsy fingers. But dropping her bag at the airport on the way home, she smashed it and pleasure was transformed, for 20 minutes, into sobbing and despair.

You’ll never walk alone

Gabe

Gabe’s school choir sang at the Liverpool Performing Arts Festival at St George’s Hall. As the choir from Manchester, their competitors came from across Merseyside. They were amongst the last to sing in the first class, with a high standard set. But the harmonies and crispness of their singing set them apart. An audience of partisan (Scouse) parents was moved by ‘You’ll never walk alone’, with L and the other Mums of the kids shedding tears. They were awarded a joint gold medal. In the second class, for hymns, their richness of their singing lifted them high above their competitors. They won a second gold – outright.

Back at school, the choir were met by their classmates, who made them a guard of honour to progress through. Gabe was proud and delighted. He admitted to nerves and fearing forgetting the words when up on stage. I hope he can remember the occasion and the delight of being part of such a beautiful, controlled musical performance.

Eliza

Eliza’s second parents’ evening of the school year confirmed that she is making good academic progress. The most touching comment was that several times she has gone up to her teacher, looking forlorn, and asked for her Mummy.

Robin

Robin roamed the garden in the spring sunshine. He walked up to his baby tricycle and gave it a push. He kicked the plastic basket behind the seat, cracking it and then with another kick broke it and then walked away. L and I were watching. I asked him later how it had been broken. He didn’t own up to it.