Posts Tagged ‘shy’

Is it a school day?

Robin

Most days, sometime between waking and lunchtime, Robin will ask, “Is it a school day?” He lives life so fully in the present that clues such as dressing in his uniform of grey shorts and white polo shirt or watching tv for an hour after breakfast, aren’t compelling enough to answer the question for him.

Gabe

Walking with Gabe down the road, even in silence, is an insight into his personality. When he walks alongside you, he nudges and butts your side. His line veers into yours like a train track making repeated junctions. Ahead, he walks at a pace that leaves you shortening your stride to avoid his heels and ankles. And if behind, he bumps and clips your legs with his bag. There’s a need to have his presence acknowledged, to be reassured that you know he’s about.

Eliza

The infant school’s Got Talent show returns. Eliza has had the idea that she could perform a solo gymnastics routine. But that is a challenge to her shyness. So, Eliza has written L a note before going to bed asking for help being brave enough to do gymnastics at the show. L provides the support and all is set for next week.

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.

Splendid isolation

Eliza

Walking with Eliza down the road leading to her school, a car pulled up and a young lad shouted through an open window from the passenger seat, “Eliza, Eliza”. She didn’t flinch, head held forward and not a sign of acknowledgement. I asked if she knew him – yes – then why didn’t she say ‘hello’. I got a slight shake of the head and pursed lips, but broadly the same treatment as the schoolboy.

Robin

L bought Robin a lego Star Wars plane. Gabe assembled it for him. He played with it throughout the afternoon, took it to bed with him and played again at breakfast, once the pieces had been recovered from his bedding. I’ve offered to buy him another one if he lets his finger nails grow.

Gabe

Gabe took a morning off school to sit his first piano exam – pre grade 1. It was held in a large old house and was taken on a grand piano. Gabe rated it the second most nerve-wracking thing he has done this year – after the choir competition in St George’s Hall. Nonetheless, he performed well and received a certificate with complimentary comments.

Behemoth and Churchill

Robin

Prominent among the stopovers from L and my wedding anniversary party was the Behemoth and his partner S. Robin wallowed in their attention and found great joy riding back from the park on the Behemoth’s shoulders. He fell asleep in the car on the way to the station and cried when back at home: “I want Churchill”, mispronouncing S’s Italian name.

Eliza

Amidst the mid-evening chaos of the anniversary party, Eliza was overwhelmed. Children were dashing around with water-guns, adults talking loudly. Eliza didn’t know what to do. L took her to bed and read stories, but she came back down and quietly took part into the late evening.

Gabe

Gabe’s level of interest in the World Cup deserves a better tournament. As well as watching the games, live where possible, or in repeats, he predicted the result of every game (Spain to beat Brazil in the final), recording the actual scores, collecting cards. Maybe the knockout stages will provide a return or maybe football everywhere is reward enough.

Tooth fairy

Eliza

Eliza lost her first tooth, quickly followed by a second. She placed each tooth under her pillow to exchange it with a currency gift from the Tooth Fairy. The morning after losing her first tooth, Eliza found me in the bathroom. She was holding a pound coin. ‘I have a one….’ she said, not knowing what it was called. What really excited her was that she thought she read her name on the coin where the monarch’s name is engraved.

Gabe

Gabe went to Sale Cricket Club under 9 practice for the first time. There were 9 other boys, mostly bigger and probably a little older than he. The session was run by Rick, who had given Gabe some coaching in the autumn. They began with a game that crossed netball with cricket. Gabe stayed mostly on the margins, but his confidence grew. The second half of the session was a cricket match where each batter faced one ball at a time. Gabe scored some runs and played some nice front-foot shots. In the field, he came close to the catch of the day. He has said he enjoyed the session and can’t wait for next Sunday.

Robin

An enduring peculiarity of Robin’s speech is his fondness for the word ‘take’. It replaces ‘put’, ‘switch’ and other action verbs. So he ‘takes’ his shoes on, lights off and TV on.

Two binkies

Robin

Robin takes great comfort in his binkies (aka dummies – see Anne Tyler ‘Digging to America’). Strenuous efforts have restricted him to just three binky times: in the car, in the pushchair (now almost unused) and in bed. Maybe trying to capitalise on these last preserves of his great pleasure, Robin now insists on having two binkies, particularly in bed. This has become his entitlement. Twice this week, I’ve been woken by his shouts. When I’ve made it to his bedside, I’ve found him scrabbling around in the dark looking for a binky, with another sucked tight to his lips.

Gabe

At bedtime, Gabe asked me whether the world would get too hot in his lifetime. I, without convincing myself, reassured him it wouldn’t, but reminded him that we needed to think of his children, too. Gabe stated that he wouldn’t have children, nor was he going to marry. He explained that he was going to live with his friends. ‘I want to be gay’, he concluded.

Eliza

Eliza’s teacher chose her as one of the class’s representatives on School Council. Eliza was given a metal badge, which was pinned to her cardigan, and which she should wear every day. She attended her first meeting, armed with Gabe’s suggestion for compost bins. But she didn’t speak at the meeting, finding herself too shy.