Posts Tagged ‘spelling’

Atypical teen


Two colleagues have season tickets for City in the family stand. They qualify for tickets there because they take their nephew. This 14 year old is in a full-on teen awkward spell, which includes not wanting to go to football matches. Hence, I was asked if Gabe would like to go with them. Gabe accepted.

And so there have been rave reviews of what a fine chap Gabe is. He was great company, happy to chat, a pleasure to be with, would he like to come again?

Indeed Gabe has been very good company in recent weeks, all through Christmas and into the New Year. Much has changed and will be changing for him at this time. But one factor was that he broke his mobile phone before Christmas by knocking it into the toilet. He had to wait for Christmas to accumulate the funds to replace it, which he did by upgrading to an iPhone. I shared this observation with him. He agreed that he would spend less time on his phone. That would make him an atypical teen.


Eliza has a cause: the French spelling bee. The paper on which the words she must learn are printed is crumpled with use. ‘Test me!’ she implores and delights in remembering the French words, and even more in spelling them with the letters in French: double-vay; y-grec, etc.


Our sodden winter turned cold for a weekend. On a walk by a canal the kids bounced stones along the iced surface, listening to the ethereal plimp noise made by the skimming, skidding stones. Then tried to hurl stones through the ice.

Even better, it snowed the following night. Robin was awake at 7am and by 7.30 had sized up the conditions. ‘Come to my room’ he begged, wanting us to open the curtains and behold a snowy garden. He woke Eliza, dressed, gulped some breakfast and then was out in the garden. For 45 minutes, there were snowballs and a snowman. He came in for more breakfast and soon after that the melt was happening.



Stream of Robin-ness


Robin writes. He writes on paper or on a phone. He writes stories, but most often he writes about football or our family. He writes without hesitation; without fear of making a mistake or a misspelling. His letters are clear with exaggerated loops. He writes that “Mummy wants lots of hugs and cises” and “Daddy is rearly cool”.


My recollection of a series of football stories, name and author forgotten, that so engrossed me as a child that I read them over and over again prompted me to research. Michael Hardcastle’s Mark Fox books seemed the only candidate. I ordered First Goal and my research was rewarded. I offered it to Gabe who was non-commital. I began reading it to Robin, but I could see he was finding it difficult to follow.

When Gabe next complained of having nothing to read I suggested he try the book, acknowledging he would find it old-fashioned. He finished it in one night, before I could read any of it with him, as I had hoped to do. He has asked for the others in the series, which are on order.


Eliza stood up in the bath and struck a pose, “like those ladies in the pictures”. “Which pictures?” I enquired, wondering what this may reveal. “You know, the ones in churches.”

Mastering language


A conversation reported to me by a friend driving four boys to football practice. A mispronounciation and giggles in the back of the car about hearing ‘gay’. Gabe steps in and explains that gay means two men who live together. His Dad’s best friend is gay. Two women who live together are called.. ‘What are they called?’ Gabe asks the adult in the car. Lesbians, the adult in the car clarifies, the conversation soaring way over the other boys’ heads.


Shopping with L in Monsoon, Robin saw some sparkly Christmas outfits: ‘Strictly dancing dresses, Mummy.’ Onto Laura Ashley: ‘Old people’s shop Mummy, don’t like it’.

Later that day, L took Robin to the fife concert at Gabe’s school. Robin objected to going and was placated with sweets. Sitting on the front row, when the music started, Robin clamped his hands to his ears. Periodically during the show, he turned to L, hands still in place, to bellow above the music and loud enough for him to hear with his ears covered, ‘Nother sweety, please’.


Eliza’s spelling at school is moving beyond the green (phonetically predictable) words to the red. With precision, but not always accuracy, Eliza is applying this knowledge. On a card drawn for L and me, she wrote: To Mummy and Daddy, you are so nighce. Yesterday, she spelled out how she wanted to travel to Gabe’s football: by b-i-g-h-k.