Parenting, profundities and humour

The Brothers — June 28, 2015

The Brothers


On a recent weekend my eldest and middlest were at Scout and Cub camp respectively. In the persistent, unrelenting rain.

This left youngest home alone. Well obviously home with hubby and I, not actually alone, that would constitute child neglect I am sure, but anyway you know what I mean.

To begin with she and I dropped middlest at Cub Camp, whilst hubby delivered eldest to Scout camp elsewhere, and I couldn’t get her to come home. She had embroiled herself in a soccer game that had started up amongst the Cubs and as regular readers will know this is her passion. And so she was gaily bashing a ball around.

Anyway I finally extracted her and on the short drive home we discussed what fun we would have over the weekend. She had a football game the next morning, her Grandma was coming over to stay to celebrate her birthday and she had a bowling party on the Sunday. Plus she had her parents all to herself.

It took precisely 20 minutes before she was sobbing gently into her bath about missing ‘The Brothers’. This is what she calls them. I tried again to stress the upsides. For instance that she could watch whatever she wanted to watch on TV the next morning and for longer than usual as we needed less time to get ready. Sole control of the remote- what could be better?

At this she relented slightly and admitted that she could probably stand the weekend without eldest but she was feeling the loss of middlest keenly. Apparently I had ‘rushed her off’ at the Cub Camp drop off and she didn’t get to say goodbye properly. I pointed out that middlest would probably not have wanted a hug in front of all his scouting friends. Although that is actually unlikely to be true as middlest will usually accept a hug from anyone, anytime, anywhere.

She was not to be consoled. And so she went to bed sniffing gently.

The next morning I came downstairs and found her sitting forlornly in front of the TV holding the remote control. It is evidently less fun to have ownership of that device when one has not had to fight tooth and nail for it.

She made the most of the day. She enjoyed the football match but wished eldest had been there ‘shouting from the side’. Grandma taught her a new game to play with a tennis ball against the wall of the house but really she wanted to ‘play penalties with middlest’. We went out for Grandma’s birthday meal and I think the mainly adult conversation got her down. The party offered some relief but then she had no one to gloat at upon receipt of a sweet stuffed party bag.

I did warn her as we left to collect middlest that he might be tired and not in the mood to play.

Then he got home and they built that den up there and laid in it to watch TV.

She was happy again.

So although they fight tooth and nail, bicker, physically assault each other and tease each other mercilessly when it comes down to it my kids love each other dearly.

It’s heartening to know that although I busted my pelvic floor having three kids in three and a half years it has paid off. Long may it continue.

Oh and good luck to youngest’s first boyfriend. He will have two tough acts to follow!


What do points make? — June 21, 2015

What do points make?


Every Bruce Forsyth fan (and I count myself amongst them, fond memories of watching idiots try to throw pots and ice cakes in 30 seconds on prime time TV in the 70s) knows the answer to that question, all together now


It is soon Prize Giving Evening  at my children’s school. All the teachers wear their university robes, which is a bit startling when you have only seen some of them in shorts all year. They get some old boy (there are not yet many old girls it being only 10 years since the school went co-ed) to present books with a plaque inside to children who have presumably shone in various areas.

We knew eldest would be there as he recently co-won the Year 6 Humphriss Prize for Music at the Music Prize day.

All three of mine took part. Eldest played the cello and clearly must have done quite well with his Tudoresque, semi quaver fest. Middlest played his violin and the piano (not at the same time) and got lovely feedback from the adjudicator but was pipped to the Year 5 prize by a wonderful flautist. Youngest banged out ‘What shall we do with the drunken Sailor’ in her pre grade piano way. I think the adjudicators words were ‘great enthusiasm’…

Then today the prize winners were awarded with their book tokens in assembly. Eldest has surpassed himself and also won the Robinson Cup for the Most Improved Sportsman and duly received 2 book tokens. Youngest won the ‘something something’ prize for best person at PE in Year 3- probably because she won the Cross Country for the Year 3 & 4 girls and also the ‘how far can you throw a rounder’s ball’ event at last week’s field sports day. And she can run up House Point Hill very fast.

And middlest won nothing. Nada. Which is fine. Unless you are middlest, sandwiched between your award winning siblings. He had some hopes for the Year 5 Science Prize as all his exams this year have been in the 90%s. But, no, clearly there are many brilliant scientists at their school.

And so here is the very fine tight rope that is parent hood in perfect relief.

I am of course pleased for eldest and youngest. Eldest works incredibly hard. He deserves that Sportsman prize as he regularly falls into bed in a state of physical exhaustion after yet another training session. He was determined to shine with that cello piece after (and maybe I am being a bit partisan here) the really harsh examiner in April provided him with barely a pass for it in his exam. It was better than that even then. Now after a few more weeks of practise we can play it in our sleep. And it showed on the day.

Youngest is a born sportswoman as I may have mentioned before. And whilst this prize may be for something she is naturally good at she does attend every sports club going and she did go out training for that cross country, including taking part in a very cold Duathlon despite being terrified. She has an amazing untaught mind set- when I asked her how she ran through her stitch during the 2k cross country she told me she merely thought about how good she would feel when she won. The rounder’s ball thing was a surprise though.

So I feel they deserve their accolades and want to tell them that. It is hard to do so without middlest in ear shot and actually he should hear it. But how to do that without middlest taking it all the wrong way. My kids cannot understand that when I praise one I am not automatically denigrating the others. That just because I say ‘Well you worked hard for that so you deserve it’ I am not saying ‘And you, you just don’t work hard and deserve nothing’.

Middlest works hard, he isn’t a natural sportsman but tries his best, he is a fabulous musician (who won over that tough examiner in his violin exam to get a merit and leads the school orchestra), he is a brilliant scientist. On this occasion though others were just that bit better.

I feel for him. I told him that in my entire school career I never won a thing. Ever. And yes it hurts. But then I turned out alright didn’t I? He looked a bit askance at this, as he thinks I am a bit mad, but I think it helped. A bit.

And yes this is life. Life is tough. Get used to it. And all such platitudes. But when he is dripping tears into his cottage pie I don’t want to say that. I want him to have a damn prize. Damn it.

Anyway by bed he had become more philosophical. He has decided he would win the prize for ‘Best at Never Winning Prizes’. I may buy him a book and put a plaque in it for him. Not sure I will use his category though… maybe he should just win a prize for being generally wonderful…because he is.

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