their reports were so good

Am I allowed a moment of not-so-quiet maternal pride?

My first and second-born brought their school reports home today.

They were both bloody excellent. Lots of fantastic comments about their strengths and, just as importantly, about their efforts to succeed in areas where they’re not such naturals. Loads of social feedback too, mainly about the fact that they’re both considerate, kind, funny and engaging, with a strong sense of fairness and team-play.

I’m so proud of both of them. Is it okay to say that?

It wasn’t all welling up with tears and swelling up with pride though. There was a laugh to be had; well a quiet smile anyway. On the section of the reports where they’re able to write for themselves what they feel their strengths and favourite things are, there’s a section asking them to say what they feel they’d like to get better at. Reading? Writing? Maths? or Other?

Both of them marked ‘Other’. My son, it seems, would like to get better at football. Fair enough. Lord knows, there’s money enough in it. And I always had a yen to call him Pelé.

My daughter, however, who carries her digital skipping rope with her everywhere, would like to get better at….skipping. Seems that the Skip2Bfit day at school had quite some impact. But once I’d recovered from my quiet chortle, I was rather relieved! I feared I’d put her off skipping for life when I was getting back in to shape after the birth of my third child: without the ability to get out of the house for decent running sessions, I did a lot of Tabata and HIT skipping in the presence of the children. There may have been an instance or two where one of them came too close to me, and consequently to the wildly rotating rope. Hey, I was a house-bound woman on a weight-loss mission. It wasn’t intentional. Honest!

Anyway. Reports. Twirly Toes P and C-Meister-C: I am massively proud of both of you.

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she admired his skills

Sitting in the sun on Peckham Rye with my 5 year old son, I suddenly spy a familiar face nearby. She’s someone I know from a few years ago, from a seemingly endless but happy round of baby groups, toddler gyms and One O’Clock Clubs, places I frequented, especially on wet days, when I had “3 Under 3” children.

My son has scoffed his lunch so as to maximise football time and is practising his ‘skills’. It’s been a recent thing, this passion – and, actually, talent – for sport. Cricket, football, rugby. All of a sudden he’s into, and good at, all three of them.

The woman I recognise is watching him as she walks towards us. I assume it’s because she vaguely recognises him from toddlerhood and is trying to piece his identity together. When she gets closer, I’ll call out to her.

She looks startled when I wave, holding her hand up to shield her eyes from the sun and squinting at me. “Hello! I didn’t see you there!” she says. And then she glances from me to my son. “Is that..? Oh my goodness! He looks so grown up. I was just admiring his footballing. He’s very good, isn’t he?”

I feel a ridiculous swell of pride. He is very good. It’s not just that though; of course it’s nice to have your children admired, but there’s more to it than that. There’s the pleasure I feel in knowing that his dad is a good’un; one who spends time with his children, plays with them and fosters their enthusiasm about a diverse range of things. And there’s the fact that my brother was, or maybe still is, a brilliant sportsman; he’s always lots of fun with the children when we see him but I can’t now help but look forward to when we next visit him (he lives overseas) and the fun he’ll have with them, and they with him. All up, it’s a good feeling. And so nice to see a familiar, friendly face from a time that, despite not being all that long ago, seems to be rapidly receding in the face of the hectic pace of my current state of motherhood.

Master C playing Beat the Goalie at a summer fair

Master C playing Beat the Goalie at a summer fair