The Princess turned six on Easter Sunday. She seems very big all of a sudden. When choosing books for her to read, I find myself hesitating. Is this picture book too babyish for her? When she holds my hand, I am conscious that she may not be doing so for much longer. She is almost too heavy to carry upstairs. She still has her doggy, though.
Archive shot of the household’s favourite dog:
I take my hat off to the Irish school system (or possibly, my daughter is a genius, I am reluctant to dismiss this possibility out of hand). After seven months in its care, the Princess can read and speak a new language. Her Irish is really quite fluent and so is her reading. Perhaps because she started to read relatively late, she has picked it up very quickly. Only a couple of months ago, very basic texts were hard work and now she is reading proper stories though it is still hard work. I was reading her “Lotta” by Astrid Lindgren who was a big favourite of mine when I was a child. She stopped me and said “I know what happens, she goes into the dentist but doesn’t open her mouth”. This was exactly what happened. I asked her father had he read it to her. He had not. I was amazed. This seems extraordinary to me for a child who a very short time a ago was struggling with “The little red hen”.
She received some “Hannah Montana” and “High School Musical” material for her birthday. I am a little disturbed by this stuff. Her favourite present is a remote controlled robot but a close second comes a pen which plays a snippet from “High School Musical” with which I am now only too familiar “Towels imported from Turkey/Turkey [or possibly jerky] imported from Maaaiiine/I want fabulous that is my simple request/I want fabulous that is my simple request/All things fabulous bigger and better and best/All things fabulous bigger and better and best”. In third place is a Hannah Montana normal room which transforms into a stage set. She likes fiddling with that though rather than anything else. She also got a booklet of questions from highschool musical: “Is Sharpay fabulous?” [Your guess is as good as mine but I can tell you that she wants fabulous] ; “Can you draw your favourite animal?”; “What boy would you like to kiss?”. Spot the question which I would regard as inappropriate for a six year old. I remember when “Grease” came out we all talked about it all the time (though I can still feel the mortification I endured when I was first asked had I been to Grease and I replied innocently, no we always go to France) but we were 11 and my mother wouldn’t let me go anyhow. I don’t want to take her to see “High School Musical” but I don’t want her to be the only child in her class who hasn’t seen it either. I gather that Hannah Montana the film will be reaching us shortly. I can’t wait.
She gets on well with her brothers when she wants to. She lets them into her room as a reward for good behaviour and they would never dare to venture in at other times. She can get them to do pretty much anything and sometimes when I am desperate, I will say, “use your powers for good and persuade your brothers to come up here and wash their teeth”. Yes, I know, excellent parenting.
It must be pointed out that managing her brothers presents her with considerably more difficulty than it did when they were first in her life:
She guards her bedroom with terrifying ferocity. I am not allowed in without permission but I venture inside nonetheless. Since I spend my time in there tidying up, my passage is always apparent and she is very cross with me. “You know that you are not allowed into my bedroom without permission.” My response is always the satisfyingly motherly “I will stay out of your bedroom when you keep it tidy and I do not need to go in to clean it up”.
We continue with the smiley face regime where each evening we review her behaviour during the day and she gets a smiley face, a straight face or a sad face. If she gets five smiley faces in a row, then she gets a treat. Though she often appears to be indifferent when we talk (standing on her head, lying on the floor, playing with a toy), I think it does make a difference. One of the questions on her High School Musical booklet is what makes you happy and underneath she had written “when I get five smiley faces”.
Sometimes, I feel that we have an adolescent in the house. She rolls her eyes at us. Recently when balked on some front, she announced “I hate my Mummy and my Daddy”. But mostly, she adores us.
She never wants to leave the house. Every proposal that we go on an outing of any kind is met with a request to be left at home. Is this normal? When we do go out, she usually has a great time. We went to a playground with an enormous rope pyramid recently and she climbed up and down without any difficulty. I was very surprised how daring she has become for a child who was very cautious in the past.
Mr. Waffle has, foolishly, told her that there is no Easter bunny. The other day, she said to me, “If there’s no Easter bunny, is there a Santa Claus?” I do not want my six year old to doubt the existence of Santa. “You have to tell the truth,” she said. “Of course there’s a Santa Claus.”
She still hates mass. My parents got her a Bible for children for her birthday and she read it at mass on Easter Sunday [I have to go to mass on my birthday?] – this may be the way to go as she sat quietly reading instead of hanging upside down on the pew begging to go home. I note that her Bible skips over some of the more difficult parts of the Old Testament – Garden of Eden – yes, Cain and Abel – no, Jacob’s Ladder – yes, Abraham going to sacrifice Isaac – no [I must check that the plagues are in – her grandmother asked her to be sure and read them as they were her uncle’s favourite part of the Old Testament]. The Garden of Eden story when stripped to the level a six year old will understand looks like a quite powerful indictment of female curiousity and desire to learn, doesn’t it? Between the Bible and Hannah Montana, I feel that we are covering a wide range of gender questions.
Our girl loves to talk. She is companionable, when she is not imperious. She is kind and loving. She is stubborn but she is funny. She loves to laugh. She is endlessly curious. And, my goodness, she is six. Happy birthday my darling girl.