Posts Tagged ‘writing’

Singing in the rain

Eliza and Robin

Once Infant pals, otter pups, these two spend less time together as one is drawn to football and the other to nail varnish and hair styles. But occasionally the sibling chemistry sizzles.

After school today, they were bubbly and hyper. In the wet garden, Robin demonstrated how he had sung and danced in the rain at school. Eliza joined in and soon they had choreographed moves to Singing in the Rain. I joined them under the dripping silver birch where we danced and sang until Eliza wanted to go somewhere dry where she could do the splits. They continued with a dance competition in the living room to Another One Bites the Dust. For the first time in ages they had a bath together, singing to their chosen YouTube videos.

Gabe

Gabe recently had a burst of interest in my blog and found Touchline Dad. He complimented me on it. At the weekend he asked me to help him set up his own blog. First titled ‘Goals ‘n’ balls’ it will comprise reports of his matches and debates about sports issues. We set it up together, he published the first post and the blog is renamed ‘NO BALL GAMES’.

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Stream of Robin-ness

Robin

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”.

Gabe

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

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.”

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.

Go fish

Robin

The urge for a rabbit has passed and in its place has come the desire for a fish. ‘Daddy, I love you, can I have a fish’, he tells me when I get home from work. He makes a pouting fish mouth as I wake him up in the morning, following it up with, ‘Can I have a fish?’ At school, yesterday and today, he has made me illustrated notes, out of which a surprisingly clear message emerges: ‘I want a fish’.

Eliza

Eliza doesn’t slip into sleep so easily these days. She tries to delay L or I leaving her room, but will often settle to read. Sometimes she appears later in the evening, wanting the landing light switched on, or some reassurance. One night this week, I went up to her on the landing to wish her goodnight and steer her back to her room. Standing two steps above me, she asked for a French kiss. I shook my head and offered my cheek. She kissed me with lips pressed to my cheek for 20 seconds. It turned out that a French kiss meant nothing more than a longer duration.

Gabe

The results of Gabe’s mock 11+ have arrived. He was disappointed; I’m encouraged, and have tried to convey that to him. In numerical reasoning, he scored 41/45 (average score 28). For verbal reasoning, his score was 52/70 (average 46). For non-verbal reasoning, 39/67 (average 35) – this test as challenging as those I have seen set for adults.

Brownies

Eliza

Eliza has graduated from Rainbows to Brownies. Four weeks in and she is still in mufti, awaiting her chance to take the Brownie pledge. She’s learnt the words that require ‘allegiance to my God and the Queen’, and reads the Brownie introduction book in bed at night. There seem to be more games and less craft than Rainbows and Eliza has already experienced a Brownie disco. She has called one of the leaders ‘Evil Owl’ – not an abusive elder, but a mispronounciation of Eagle Owl.

Robin

L met Robin’s teacher for a de-brief on his first two terms of school. All is going well and he appears bright, active and happy.  L was shown a letter that Robin wrote at the teacher’s suggestion when two balls were kicked into a neighbours garden. He managed a ‘sorry’ and some faltering explanation of balls over the fence. His first literary production.

Gabe

Over a week of constipation and paranoia about not going to the loo ended with a medication assisted trip to the toilet. Gabe reported that he had ‘the sorest but happiest bum in the world.’

Penmanship

Robin

Just as Robin has turned away from stories, there has been a great flourishing of penmanship. It started with his drawing of footballers, a thread that culminated in his picture of the full Spanish football team. He has drawn animals: cats, dogs and monkeys. Robin has been writing, too – his name, sentences dictated to him, and the letter y, in its most curly format, across the bottom of the Observer’s holiday crossword. At Christmas, I saw him trace the letters of curlywurly along the packaging of his Cadbury’s variety pack.

Eliza

Eliza’s new bed has been delivered and assembled. She’s had three satisfied nights sleeping in it. It’s a full size single bed, with a second mattress stored below, which can be rolled out, elevated and made into a double. Stretching out, Eliza covers no more than one-sixth of the single bed’s area. Curled up asleep, 90% of the bed is left empty.

Gabe

A letter home announced the start of sex education lessons for year 5. Gabe appeared reluctant and when asked, he explained that it was “rude”. I made some attempt at reassurance – more information has to be better. Gabe has come across nuclear weaponry in a book. He was alarmed and upset, and sought more information. How many bombs would wipe out a country? How many countries have nuclear bombs? Do they have one bomb each? Would a bomb on Manchester destroy us? Will there be a bomb in his lifetime? Can we move to the country? I wasn’t sure how to reassure and am not convinced that more information is beneficial.

Copyright

Gabe

Gabe has knowledge and scepticism in abundance. Yet belief in Father Christmas has survived well into his tenth year. Today he asked L whether Santa would bring something as expensive as a DS game. L said he probably wouldn’t. Suddenly Gabe’s knowledge burst in: how can Santa get over the copyright problem of making and giving DS games. Do parents give the presents, he suggested. L, suppressing laughter at the proto-lawyer’s concern for intellectual property, failed to apply the coup de grace and innocence was preserved.

Eliza

Eliza has written her letter to Santa:

Dear Father Christmas I would really like… a neclase that is the same as my other one but if there isnt the same one just one that is like it. And because I lost the ring that you gave me last time can I have a butterfly ring please. And can I have a few chocolates. And can I have a new cup for my lunch box. Love from Eliza

Eliza responded to Robin’s 25 metre badge by earning her 50 metre badge three days later.

Robin

Robin took the day off school. A temperature, a headache, but nothing very serious. While I managed my work emails, Robin sat in the kitchen drawing the Spanish football team. Eleven little figures, each with spiky hair, jazz hands, cylinder bodies and stick legs, distributed across three sheets of A4, playing under two suns; ten with red shirts and blue shorts and one all in green.

4-3-3 formation