Posts Tagged ‘clothes’

Crazy hair/own clothes day

The country’s co-ordinated day of giving to the less fortunate finds expression at our schools with relaxation, at a price, in uniform rules.

Robin

The infant school encouraged its pupils to come with crazy hair. The boys entered more fully into the spirit with coloured hair and gel shaped mohawks quite common.

Robin’s hair-do was unique. Its style mimicked the Prodigy. Eliza and L jointly made 16 little ponytails across his head. Passers-by stared on the walk to school and his classmates told each other to look at Robin in the playground.

Eliza

Eliza was allowed to wear her own clothes to school. A red dress and sparkly tights were striking. She carried her uniform in a bag for that evening she was taking part in a contest as part of the school orchestra and recorder group. Both outfits won, although the opposition was thin.

Gabe

Own clothes meant anxiety for Gabe that he may wear something that would make him distinctive. He worked his mobile hard before leaving for school. A text came in saying that one friend wasn’t wearing chinos. The permission to wear a hoodie wasn’t clarified definitively, but he took the chance anyway.

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Second skin

    Gabe

The demands of playing football outdoors through the winter are a little less severe on today’s young lads. A ‘skin’ is a tight polyester shirt worn underneath the football top, which seals in their body heat and insulates them from the cold and wind of the playing field. Gabe used to hunch and look so reluctant when playing in bad weather. In his skin, he no longer bows down to the conditions. After the game, L or I have to help him out of his skin, which clings to him. I pull a cuff, and he withdraws an arm, fighting the suction of the sleeve. More dramatic is taking his head through the collar. It catches his ears and pulls the flesh up his cheeks before, with a quiet pop, he is freed.

    Eliza

Eliza has moved to the books of Michael Morpurgo. She has just finished Private Peaceful. I’ve read extracts with her at bedtime, each of which has upset me: death of a father, saving a young child from a falling tree; a cruel Grandmother chasing away the animals looked after by a lad with learning disabilities; life amidst the mud, rats, lice and shells of a first world war trench. It ends, she told me this morning, with the execution of a young man for refusing to leave his younger brother, when injured in the war. ‘Did you find it a very sad book?’ ‘Yes,’ she said, but didn’t seem upset by these gritty, harsh tales.

    Robin

Robin wants to do what I do. I pruned the plum tree and broke the branches into sizes to fit into the ‘green’ bin. Robin insisted and persisted until I relented to be able to use the saw. Carefully and ever so slowly, he got to saw into a branch. Later, hanging new curtains in L and my bedroom, Robin appeared, eager to help. I placed him on the window sill, from where he could just manage to stretch up and hook the curtains onto the rail, with me marking him tight so he couldn’t fall and while holding up the curtain.

Wrong way Robin

Robin

Over-heated and in the thick of his second match at football practice, Robin won the ball on the half-way line. He paused, put his foot on the ball, turned and began dribbling at pace with teammates and opponents in his wake. There were a few shouts of ‘wrong way’, but Robin pressed on until seeing his own goalkeeper in front of him he veered left and cleared the ball from his own attack. Stung with embarrassment, he threw himself back into the game and scored a goal following another strong, this time correctly orientated, run.

Eliza

Eliza wears her school skirt as a mini-skirt. L reassured me: she has adopted that style so her legs are free for cartwheeling.

Gabe

Gabe’s snoring has been silenced. An ENT physician looked up his nose then gave him four allergy spot tests. Within minutes, one of the tests had raised a red wheal on Gabe’s arm. “That’s great news”, the physician claimed, “dust mites. The only allergy that you can remove. And you can tell your Father that you cannot clean your room, as it could make it worse.” Prescribed a nasal spray and anti-histemine, within days Gabe’s sleep became quiet.

World Championships of Trampolining and Tumbling

The week-long celebration of Eliza’s birthday ended with a trip to Birmingham to take in the World Championships.

Eliza

Eliza, fittingly as the intended beneficiary, was the most engaged of the kids by the action. She was happiest when watching from a position on L’s lap and so able to natter to her Mum. Her highlight may have been the visit to the kit shop at the arena. She tried on several leotards and blew her birthday money on a black outfit with silver and purple swirls.

Gabe

Gabe was made anxious by the visit to the arena, the crowds at the Christmas market and by the stay at the hotel with partying youths in a nearby room. He relaxed and revelled in the trip to Brum’s Sea Life Centre, dashing between exhibits and lapping up fishy learning.

Robin

Robin’s thrills were a slide down a helter-skelter at the Christmas market and a climb to the nose-bleed seats at the top of the arena. He stayed up late and woke early at the hotel and didn’t stop moving until we began the drive home, which he slept through (but denied).

 

Young grammarian

Gabe

Two sets of results in three days, and two more comfortable passes, for Grammar South and Grammar Central, the secondary school of choice for Gabe, L and me. Gabe got the latter result well into the evening after football practice. He was delighted and ever so chirpy. All sorts of hopes and plans for the next phase of his schooling came tumbling out, suppressed up until now for fear he may not have achieved the pass mark. Understandably, he marvelled at his maths score, which, allowing for the inscrutability of the score normalisation process, looked a lot like 100%.

Eliza

Eliza’s skinniness makes her look fragile, but not frail. She showed her wiry strength when arm wrestling with Gabe. She pushed his arm to the carpet with very little struggle, despite his several years and stone advantage.

Robin

Robin has been a proper member of the football club since September, playing in its under 6 squad. With that comes the right to club kit. L took him to the local sports shop to order the kit (small, small and small), which was to be presented to the squad one Saturday morning. Each night and often in the morning and during the day, Robin asked how many days it would be until he got his kit (squad number 30). Naturally cautious, I gave long lead times, but several of these came and went. Finally, on Saturday the kits were handed out. Robin changed into his immediately he got home, wore it again on Sunday, after school on Monday and tomorrow gets to wear it at football practice for the first time.

Present opening

Christmas morning

6am – stirrings from all rooms, but the kids are on a strict 7am curfew

6.30am – intercepted on the way to the bathroom, I’m challenged as to whether the kids can open their stockings without L and me. I confiscate the stockings and take them with me back to bed. L sends me to the kitchen to find fruit, which had been missed out of the stockings.

7am – our room is invaded. We relocate to Eliza’s room and in 15 minutes Santa’s stocking – the present aperitif – has been gorged.

7.30am – breakfast is eaten at pace. Gabe, in particular, struggles with the nag interdiction. L and I finishing our tea and toast stands between the kids and the main meal: the presents under the tree.

8.15am – one-by-one, taking turns as if playing a board game, we open our presents, express delight and thanks. The living room floor is covered with torn wrapping. Eliza skids and wipes out trying to cross the floor.

The aftermath

Eliza changes straight into clothes she was given: spotty tights and a new top.

Robin changes into his Spanish football top and wears it and blue shorts for the next four days. He spends Christmas morning chasing Slithery, a remote control rattlesnake, around the house.

Gabe lingers in the living room, willing and chipping away at having set up the centrepiece of the 2010 Christmas – the Wii. In the five days since Christmas Day, the Wii has been Gabe’s default activity. It feeds, but not yet sates, his competitiveness. Eliza and Robin thrive on it too, but with lower intensity.

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.