Posts Tagged ‘friendship’

Young hearts

Eliza

Year 4 girl chat seems abuzz with who’s going out with, or fancies whom. ‘Going out with’, as L pointed out probably means ‘walked around the playground once with’. Eliza fully participates in the speculation but admits no fancies herself and brushes off talk of any fancying of her. Splendid isolation persists.

Gabe

Gabe mentions girls at school only in the context of who said something daft in class or whose family is rich. I do know from driving some of his friends back from his party that others are more interested. It was then, a revelation when L found out from a friend with a daughter in Gabe’s class that he was the object of some young female interest. One girl had pestered the daughter of L’s friend, knowing that she was acquainted with his family, to get his home phone number. L’s friend declined and we were denied the chance of a special phone call (which we would probably have missed as the land-line phone is usually lost or out of charge).

Robin

Robin’s affections and emotions have been upset by the news that when he moves up to the junior school in September he won’t be in the same class as his best friend A. This wasn’t a surprise for Robin as he expected the new classes to be based on birth date. So when it was confirmed, Robin was phlegmatic. A few days later he admitted that he just couldn’t understand why A and he couldn’t be in the same class together.

 

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Sleep-over – home and away

Eliza

Eliza chose her birthday party to be an afternoon, evening, night and morning with her two best friends. They visited a craft cafe to make pots, ate ice cream and then back at home, watched tv and two videos, before the serious stuff of chatting in bed took hold. A word from L at 12.30am and they quietened down and slept until.. 7am when they soon had energy for indoor kickstone and spying on the rest of us.

Gabe

Gabe was invited to a sleep-over at his friend’s house the same night. The day before he mentioned that they would be playing Call of Duty, an 18 rated game. Not so fast, I said. Gabe was upset when L and I set our terms. he said there would be nothing for him to do there if he wasn’t allowed to play. The next day I called his host’s mother and said that he wasn’t allowed to play the game. She consulted with her son and called back saying, a little archly, they would find something ‘within the rules’.

He wasn’t effusive about the sleepover the next day. We seem to have found a fracture with some of our peers over their willingness (and our refusal) to let pre-teen children play violent video games. I wonder if Gabe mentioned to me the plan because of his discomfort with it.

Robin

Robin followed L into the loo and said it smelt of her. By which he meant it smelled of washing. Explaining more, he said I smell of rice – as I always make it; Eliza smells of ‘in my pockets’ – as she’s always playing with them; and Gabe smells of sweat – as he’s always playing football.

Back to three schools

Gabe

Gabe has begun life as a secondary school pupil. From day one he has walked, dressed in blazer and clip-on tie, to school, without adult company – something he never did at primary school. He meets three friends part way and so avoids the awkwardness of arriving in the playground alone.

On his second day, I was on duty and watched him leave. He turned at the end of the drive and ran along the road. He’s never walked anywhere by himself, I reflected. By week two, he had the self-possession to walk up the road.

Eliza and Robin

Gabe leaves first and so Eliza and Robin have time to themselves to play in the morning before school. Walking to school, they each hold a hand the whole way there and we chatter. There’s a hint of reticence about school. Eliza is no longer in a mixed class with pupils from the year above and two of her best friends (big A and little A) have left. Robin has said he wishes he could move schools, up the the junior school, this year.

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.

Sixth birthday; first tooth lost

Robin

Robin marked his sixth birthday by losing his first tooth. It fell out in the day, letting him avoid having to negotiate his birthday pizza with a very wobbly tooth. His party was in the leisure centre and involved games of football and play on a bouncy castle.

Gabe

Gabe can seem mature for his age: chatting to dads at Robin’s football about City and United. And he can seem naive: not really up to speed with his friends in the car on the way to football practice, as they talk about asking girls out, wrestling and taunting each other.

Eliza

Eliza didn’t make it into the school choir. But she always has a song on the go, which gets sung repeatedly. Right now, we hear the first three lines of Ain’t no mountain high enough over and over again.

Head Boy

Gabe

At the leavers’ assembly on the last day of term, the ‘jobs’ were handed out to the year 5 pupils. Gabe had expressed a hope to be football captain, though what he really wanted I can’t be sure. It does seem as though he wasn’t expecting the top job, as the music teacher had to prod him from his place amongst the recorder players to go to the stage for the handover from this year’s Head Boy. Duties are a little vague, but do include a lot of public speaking at school events and assemblies.

Eliza

Immediately school broke up for the summer, L and the kids headed to London, joining me, to visit friends. There Eliza met up with S, our friends’ seven year old daughter. There ensued extreme, competitive, co-operative, demonstration monkey bars in Hampstead Heath playground. S matched Eliza swing for swing and the two girls revelled in their common ability to traverse the playground, hanging by their hands.

Robin

It’s the holidays and Gabe sleeps in and Eliza reads to herself in the mornings. Robin heads to me when he wakes up. He cuddles for a few minutes, but is too awake to settle. Sometimes he tries to start a conversation. One morning this week he asked, “Daddy, why don’t you put your shoes away? It makes Mummy very cross.” Another morning, my day began with the challenge of understanding what lay behind the question, “Daddy, how did ants live in the First World War?’

Sandy

Eliza

Sandy is Eliza’s new hamster, received as a seventh birthday present. Eliza is charmed by having him and is counting the hours, often frustratedly, until she is allowed to hold him – 4 days after coming to live with us to give him time to settle down. In the meantime, Sandy is shy, spending daylight hours buried under a shield of fluffy bedding and sawdust that he has piled on top of his bedding.

The day before Sandy was chosen, Eliza had a trampoline party at a local leisure centre. She and eight friends bounced and played games on trampolines under the instruction of a team of three gymnasts.

Robin

Robin’s popularity with his siblings’ older friends was obvious at the party. He managed to win musical chairs and was held aloft on the shoulders of Eliza’s guests and carried across the room.

Within hours of Sandy’s arrival, Robin showed why hamsters are unsuitable pets for four year olds. L found Robin trying to rouse Sandy from his nest by tooting a party blower into the cage.

Gabe

Ahead of Eliza’s birthday, L discussed with Gabe the idea of his younger sister having a hamster. She won him over by pointing out that he would be able to play with the hamster, but not be responsible for cleaning out the cage. She also conceded that he could have a hamster for his next birthday. Gabe managed to keep the secret and was given the honour of breaking the good news to Eliza on our way out of the house to the petshop.