Posts Tagged ‘tempers’

Piano fortissimo

Gabe

Gabe took the grade 1 piano exam and passed with a merit. As well as a stage for demonstrating his musical talent, the piano has become a bellweather of Gabe’s tempers. He will turn to the piano when frustrated and pound out one or both of the pieces studied for his exam: Tarantella and Gavotta. His nervous energy is channeled into his fingers tapping out the tune of one of these pieces when sitting watching tv, eating a meal, or even holding hands walking to school.

Robin

The arrival of Coco has stimulated in Robin a desire to have a rabbit. For a couple of weeks, he has asked regularly (hourly, at times) when he’ll be old enough to have a rabbit. The answers L and I provide do not satisfy and he turns grumpy. There’s a genuine desire there, which we’ll find hard to resist. One night, Robin etched with biro a rabbit on the headboard of his bed.

Eliza

Soon after her night-time trip to the hospital, Eliza’s coughing started up again. A few causes were considered: Coco, pollen, plain old viral infection. The GP was clear – asthma – meaning that she joins her brothers with that diagnosis.

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Minute test

Gabe

Gabe’s class does a weekly times table minute test. Gabe was disappointed before Christmas when he wasn’t the first in the class to get the full 45 marks, but he did manage it the week after. With a statistician’s touch, Gabe keeps a bar chart of his performance and calculates his average score.

Robin

L is painting the walls of Robin’s room. While the work is progressing, he has moved in with Gabe for the first two nights and Eliza the third. There was some spiteful competition between Gabe and Eliza for the honour of hosting him – more evidence of his popularity.

L didn’t buy Robin’s preferred shade of blue paint. This has enraged him and he complains loudly and regularly that the walls are too light.

Eliza

Eliza went to a roller-skating party, fulfilling one of her ambitions. She needed L to support her for her first circuit of the hall, but skated independently thereafter. Her pocket money (£1.50) will be put towards buying a pair of roller-blades which cater for feet 1/2 size larger than hers – but still the smallest manufactured.

Dads v Lads

Gabe and Robin

The boys were the junior members of a lads team (1 girl) that took on a dads team (3 mums) in a 7-a-side match at the park on New Year’s Day. Robin had cried before the game when Gabe told him he couldn’t play. He cried after the game when L and I insisted he changed out of his new football socks. He didn’t cry during the game when a dad back-heeled a fast moving ball slap into his face. He lasted the match and was pressed into service by the dads to take a penalty, which he scored after a couple of unsuccessful efforts were struck-out owing to players transgressing into the penalty area.

The Lads won 12-4, with Gabe netting a tidy hat-trick. A year has proven to be a long time as the result in this fixture a year ago was a draw, with the Dads easing up.

Eliza

Eliza’s Christmas holiday treat was to go skating – her second visit to a rink following a friend’s party almost one year ago. Despite such limited and quite distant experience, she went straight out onto the ice alone, allowing me to shepherd Robin on his first attempt. Her bravery continued as she picked herself up after numerous falls and carried on skating. We spent over an hour on the ice and while she didn’t move fluently, she shuffled along, contented and focused.

Long shorts

Robin

Robin has started school. He’s three days in – two short days and today his first full day. All has been smooth, but he was subdued after day one. L couldn’t get an explanation, but we wondered whether it had felt an anti-climax: no great change from nursery.

Robin is refusing to wear the school sweatshirt. He hates jumpers, he told me, having asked me to help him take it off, seconds after the teacher had made him wear it on leaving school on day 2. So he wears a polo shirt and traditional grey shorts that stretch down over his calves. They’re very eye-catching.

Ready for school

showing some calf

Eliza

Eliza has been moved to a new gym class. She’s the smallest, slightest and palest of a group of 20 girls aged up to 15. She holds her own in this company. On Saturday I saw her doing floor exercises and vaulting. She did a forward flip over the vaulting horse with straight arms and straight legs. It had been the first time she had been asked to do one.

Gabe

Two swimming pool visits in two weeks and two angst-ridden melt-downs over swimming trunks. The first over whether new trunks would be ‘acceptable swimwear’ – they were. The second over the state of his other pair of trunks which were spotted with tissue paper residue from the washing machine.

Stick insects

Eliza

Eliza won the right to look after her new class teacher’s stick insects for the summer holiday. Initially, Eliza was keen to play with them: taking them from their enclosure and holding them while they swayed and bowed to music. Her mood changed when one of the three insects died. She was fearful of killing her teacher’s insect collection and became reluctant to hold or touch them. Then one day, she spotted a baby stick insect and a week later another one. All looks set for her to return to school with a net increase in stick insect population.

Robin

So often carefree or brave, Robin has a fear of dogs. In the park he scuttles back to us when he sees a dog coming and cowers by my or L’s legs. He’s not suffered a fright that could explain this reaction and it is as severe for small dogs as it is for the many breeds that stand taller than he.

Gabe

Gabe has a deep-seated need to follow rules, even ones that only exist in his imagination. An infraction to which he is a party causes him enormous angst. I signed him up for an on-line game using a made-up email address – not wanting to use my one and his own was already registered but he couldn’t remember the password. He sobbed and fretted about what I had done – stealing someone’s email address – refusing to play the game, until I agreed to submit my own genuine email address.

End of the school year

Robin

Robin ends nearly two years uneasy association with St Anne’s Playgroup. As a fresh two-year old, he sobbed when left and didn’t want to play with the other kids. As time passed Robin moved from upset to indignance. Finding out it was a Playgroup day tripped him into a surly mood with complaints that he didn’t like the place. This hasn’t been the experience of the group’s staff who report him as active and cheerful. Will five days each week of reception be better welcomed by Robin in September?

Gabe

For the final month of term, Gabe’s homework has been to work on his project. This has given him nearly four weeks to procrastinate and put barriers in the way of getting on with the task. Then faced with a Monday deadline, he buckled down on Sunday evening and early Monday morning. He has produced, with strong moral and a little practical support from L, an interesting and well illustrated 16 page project on Spain.

Eliza

Eliza has ended the year just as she began it: by getting a Golden Book mention for being “really super at everything.” She showed unusual thrust in this final week. By responding fastest to the teacher’s enquiry, Eliza has brought home three stick-insects for the school holidays. They’re even coming to Devon with us.

Chop, chop

Robin

Somewhere behind Hollywood films, comes me in the list of influences over Robin’s speech. ‘Chop, chop’, I say, to hurry the children along. Robin now says it to others and to himself, to give a sense of urgency to whatever he is doing.

Eliza

Eliza has started attending an after-school club called Streetdancing. Inner City LA has come to our leafy Manchester suburb. Eliza explains that the music is fast; the children are arrayed in four lines to learn and execute moves; at the end of some dances the children strike a pose of their choice. Eliza’s poses are angular and involve pointing or crossing arms in front of her face.

Gabe

Gabe is an excellent pupil who copes easily with all that is required of him in school lessons. He does, however, seem to have early onset writer’s block. Monday homework usually involves some open writing task. It drives Gabe into a frenzy of anxiety and frustration. The time he spends finally completing the writing is but a small proportion of the time he spends fretting about what he has been asked to do.