I can’t believe DD and her giggly friends have got to the end of Year 1 at school already. How did that happen?! It seems like only yesterday I took those photos of her on the front doorstep of our old house, dressed in too-big uniform, pigtails, barely four years old. And now she is a tall almost-six-year-old, and she can read beautifully, and add up, and tell jokes, and almost swim, and has a dark little head full of amazing facts about rabbits, and the Olympics, and Big Ben.
She likes watching the television weather report, loves her Friday Night Disco where she gets to choose two tracks from her Shuffle to dance and sing to in her PJs (especially Olly Murs, Jessie J, Lady Gaga and the Black Eyed Peas), is very good at cuddles, is addicted to olives, likes playing Star Wars and Lego with her little brother (who she adores), still sleeps with her flat bear, and has an insatiable appetite for any creative activity – especially junk modelling her number one invention, Robot Kittens (TM).
She has a best friend at school, J, who is just as giggly and creative and lovely and bright-eyed. They run into each others’ arms and hold hands like long-separated lovers, even when they saw each other half an hour earlier. They write each other love letters that come home in book bags: one of J’s last week said ‘I love you so much, you are so funny, you make me larf’. I told DD I thought that was one of the nicest things anyone could say about you.She’s also stayed loyal to, and deeply in love with, her other two gorgeous, clever, funny, best friends outside school, whose mums are helpfully also my best local mummy friends, and not averse to a glass of prosecco on a Friday teatime with the ‘leftover’ Mummy Fishfingers.
Her school report this week made me swell with pride: it’s very gratifying when a teacher thinks that your small person is almost as special as you know they are. She’s friendly, and popular, and empathetic, and a good listener, and has great ideas. She tries hard at everything and gives it what Simon Cowell might call 110% (NB NOT POSSIBLE, COWELL). What you see is what you get with DD: as far as I can tell, she’s pretty much the same person at school and home, especially now her weekly Performdrama classes have boosted her confidence in all ways (much to my relief that the morning tears have finally stopped – worth every penny, even if I had to give up yoga to pay for it!). She tells me about her day in great detail, and always has a fascinating fact to impart. (This week, it was ‘Did You Know Usain Bolt is the fastest man in the world?’)
I have a tiny niggle for discussion with her teachers about her rated standard of writing, spelling and numbers. She’s doing absolutely fine and just needs a bit more practice, but there is now a no-homework policy in Key Stage 1, so it’s very difficult to keep track of progress, and I would have liked to have some direction about how me and DH could support her at home rather earlier, rather than finding out at the end of the year. And there’s a bit of Competitive Mummy thinking “how dare anyone call my extraordinary child ‘average’ ” in there, obviously…
So my amazing daughter continues, some time after I wrote my tribute to her on this blog, to be amazing. I can honestly, without exaggeration, say that I am in awe of her, probably more than any other human being. I can’t say our relationship is without its complications – what mother and daughter relationship isn’t? – but we learn from each other every day. I try and be honest with her about my own failings and feelings, and apart from the odd flouncing episode with bottom lip stuck out (me as well as her, ha!), I think she’s astonishingly emotionally intelligent. As you know, I’m a big fan of Byron Katie’s work, and me and DD have both found her book for children, ‘Tiger Tiger Is It True?’ extremely useful for dissipating those ‘it’s not fair/nobody listens/everybody else…’ rants.
Last week, DD issued the proclamation that when she grows up, she wants to be ‘an artist’. And then, more quietly, and with some squirming, ‘I want to be better than David Hockney’. Gosh. Work hard and aim high, my darling. As Oscar said, ‘We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars’. I’m lucky enough to look at two bright little stars every single day, DD and DS. I haven’t told you much about him yet. I’ll introduce you to my adorable little gingerbread man in my next post.