Tonight I kissed a nine year old girl goodnight and tomorrow I will have a ten year old sit at breakfast with me. Yes, indeed, herself will be 10 tomorrow.
She has been reading “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother” Amy Chua [who knows why?] and reporting to me on my parenting failures. Has she performed in Carnegie Hall? I fear not. But if reading were a competition she would star. On Sunday she had a prayer of the faithful to read out in front of the congregation: “For those who think that that the Christian faith is incompatible with compassion and kindness”. I thought that incompatible might give her pause but not a bit of it.
She is very happy in school. Her teacher this year doesn’t seem to be as good as those she has had in previous years (alas) but the Princess is doing well (except for her continuing atrocious handwriting). She is in fact breezing through school and she is lucky because she happens to enjoy the things that are valued in schools. I do worry that when she is actually required to do work to keep up – which is coming – she may be in for a salutary shock.
The school has a considerable social mix and her classmates’ parents come from all walks of life which is one of the things that really appeals to me about the school. It’s also small and most of the children know each other and all of the staff know each and every child in the school. Herself has become pally with some of the older children and looks out for some of the younger ones.
She likes to climb mountains and she likes to swim but physical activities outside of these two are anathema to her. She is utterly brilliant at inventing games for her brothers to play and stories to tell them. They regard their parents’ efforts as paltry by comparison. Unfortunately, she is capricious and sometimes her favours are withdrawn. Oh woe.
She loves to eat meat which is great but I wish she would expand her vegetable repertoire beyond raw carrot. She has a sweet tooth. She is brilliant at arguing the toss and she never lets go. She did not get this from her mother. She is obliging and kind and has a reasonably developed sense of duty. She is lovely and loveable and she has made me a better person (though definitely also a tireder one).
I just looked at last year’s birthday post and I said most of the same things. I suppose she hasn’t changed so much or maybe I’m not paying proper attention. I do have a slight feeling that it is all going a bit faster than it was and I want it to slow down a bit. I want to know her better as she is now and I feel that I never have enough time (though I have just this instant refused to go upstairs and chat and chased her back to bed so I am not entirely consistent in this). I think the biggest difference between us and our children is how quickly time goes for us and how glacially slowly for them.
As attentive readers will know, we moved house last Friday and, although the new house is great, she misses the old house. One evening she said, “I want to go home.” I know what she means. It feels a bit like we are in a holiday house or adrift from our moorings. We spent nearly 5 years in the old house which is half her life to date. It feels like the end of an era. But, I suppose, the start of a new one.
Happy birthday, my beautiful girl.