Friday, 25 October 2013
Mind the gap!
On Monday my youngest daughter, Maggie will turn 6. She wants Playmobil pirates and penguins and a mermaid birthday cake. The following weekend she's having a party with the usual Pass the Parcel and Musical Statues games, with her whole class invited.
Talking of parties, tomorrow night my eldest daughter, Lorna is going to the party of a sixth form boy. She is fourteen. There will be drink there and sixteen, seventeen and eighteen year old boys. I am taking deep breaths! She is going with friends and I know I have to trust her to make the right decisions.
This is what life is often like when you have children with a larger age gap between them. I can spend my evenings swapping between listening to Maggie read an Oxford Reading Tree book to helping 11year old Connie remember her lines for a Year 7 Drama lesson, to assisting Lorna with revision before an assessment. It's a house with the giggles and tears of a small child, the door slamming and craziness of a preteen and the sarcasm and wit of a teenager.
Days out aren't always easy, the rosy view I had of being out with my family together turns out not to be as straightforward as I'd imagined. One of them is almost always bored. We have realised it's often better for everybody if one or two are left behind (with grandparents in the case of the younger two). Maggie really doesn't enjoy shopping and Lorna hates tagging along on day trips meant for younger children. Enforced togetherness just for the sake of it doesn't work. That said when they are all out together it can be wonderful, I was watching them on the beach in France earlier this year. They'd marked out a long jump track and were taking it in turns to see how far they could jump but were mostly just laughing with each other.
When Lorna is taking her A levels, Connie will be in her first GCSE year and Maggie will still be at primary school in Y4 and I will probably be asked to organise a Victorian Day costume with two days notice again.
I've been reading The Gruffalo and Monkey Puzzle before bed for years, have seen infant TV crazes go from the Teletubbies to the Tweenies to Balamory to In The Night Garden to Mike the Knight. I know the words to all the songs from Tangled, can name every member of One Direction and know who Tyler Oakley and Zalfie are.
And I wouldn't have it any other way.