Posts Tagged ‘things said’

Nut intolerance

Eliza

Staying with our friends, S&L, in London, we had strawberry cheesecake for dessert. Soon after eating a slice, Eliza complained of unpleasant feelings in her mouth. L helped her swallow an antihistamine capsule. The cake base had pistachio nuts and a vaguely suspected intolerance of nuts was raised again. Eliza felt unwell through the evening. Her unease heightened by what she describes as a phobia of being sick. 

Soon after going to bed she was sick. We moved her to our room and an hour or so later she was sick twice more. The palest girl was even paler. 

Years after the boys shook their allergies (bananas and eggs), it seems we must once more be on the alert. On the other hand, Eliza confronted her phobia and was not found wanting. 

Gabe

Two Mondays in succession, England matches have coincided with Gabe’s German lessons. Each time we’ve only realised when the only option was a late cancellation. Twice we offered Gabe that option. Twice he has declined and sat in the kitchen doing German language exercises with his tutor for an hour while the match has been on in the living room. 

Robin

Conversations with Robin are punctuated with him uttering ‘Wait!’ It’s an all purpose expression that enables him to communicate surprise, contradiction, clarification, emphasis and, occasionally, that we should wait for him. 

-ington

Eliza

An idiosyncracy of Eliza’s, perhaps picked up from her new group of school friends, is to add in jovial conversation -ington to any words she wants to emphasise. “Time for breakfast-ington.” “Can we go in the car-ington?” “That’s annoy-ington”. Which we have all come to agree with.

Robin

Robin whistles as he flits around the house, buzzes around outside, or sits not very quietly doing his homework or eleven plus preparation. There’s not usually an identifiable tune, just a shrill breath.

Gabe

Gabe will be whistling soon as well. He has started a referee course, which has the dual attraction of fulfilling part of his PE GCSE and earning him money. He returned home from the first day of the course unenthused. There had been a lot of standing around – witnessed by Robin and I when we were playing football on the same field. For up to an hour, Gabe and his peers were stood apparently practicing meeting the captains and tossing the coin.

Sleepover in the living room

Eliza

Eliza and four friends occupied our living room as her birthday treat – after a meal at an Italian restaurant. Mattresses, duvets and pillows stretched across the room’s floor. The girls watched a film or two, a bit of TV, and then settled down to a long night of chatting. That was continuing when L and I fell asleep around midnight. The party, Eliza confirmed, was a great success.

Gabe

Gifted and talented in five or six different subjects, according to a letter from school. Gabe was dismissive of maths and science and pleased that music had been added to his list this year. But history is his favourite subject.

Sitting on a table across the restaurant from Eliza and her friends at her party, Gabe engaged in passionate discussion about the origins and military tactics of the First and Second World Wars. It’s conduct I feel I should, but can’t quite, recall from my youth. He has confidence in his opinions – the sort of confidence that precedes an understanding of the historiography, let alone the original texts, of an era. And in between his declarations, he’s probing for more information, aware there’s material out there he doesn’t know.

Robin

Daddy blah, blah, blah. Daddy burble, burble, burble. Daddy, waah, waah, waah. Daddy rhubarb, rhubarb, rhubarb. Daddy…

This is what Robin’s company sounds like to me. Urgent, frequent repetition of my name, followed by a mumble of questions or statements. Humbling to be forever on the tip of his tongue.

Telescope

Gabe

Gabe’s astronomy class, one hour per week after normal school hours, has been boring, difficult and entirely theory. That changes next half-term, with the need to complete three observations. I ordered Gabe a telescope and together we assembled it (a lot of cajoling required). There was a problem with the eye-piece which slotted into place too securely and couldn’t be removed. I decided to unscrew the eye-piece casing, found that I couldn’t, but neither could I resecure it, leaving the telescope rattling inside with nuts I must have dislodged. Next stop: find a telescope repair service for the telescope that Gabe hasn’t even used yet.

Eliza

L headed to St Andrew’s for the half-term holiday by train with the three kids. It was the day after Eliza had been at a sleepover party at her best friend’s house. Eliza was tired and grumpy. The train on the final leg of the journey north of Edinburgh was crowded and they had to stand. “I’m not having it!” declared Eliza, who lay down on the carriage floor and shut her eyes.

Robin

Robin’s football team had a successful start to their first season of inter-club football. In the top section of the district they began with a win and a draw that they should have won. Since then, they’ve been beaten every game. Robin has taken this equably. He notices that more goals are let in when he’s off the pitch, but no longer sulks when losing or after a defeat. Within minutes of a game finishing, he and his teammates are happily larking about.