Inigo’s piano teacher has a busking license for Parramatta, and today we had an opportunity to join her and her daughter and some of her other students.  I explained what busking was to him, and he was mad keen to do it – to the extent that we did a marathon practice before we went out this afternoon.

Unfortunately we haven’t been practicing much over the holidays, and he was a bit rusty, but he had a ball!  He played three times, for a total of about 10 minutes, and he made $17.20.  Most of what he needs to buy this – The soundtrack of Star Wars V, The Empire Strikes Back.  Which right now, is what his little heart desires most.

The blue plate


A few months ago we instituted a new family ritual, the blue plate.

When one of us has a significant achievement, an award, a promotion, a triumph over a difficulty, that person gets to choose dinner, and eat off the blue plate.

Tonight, he went to mums to spend the night, but he was “owed” a blue plate after getting his award tonight. I rang mum to see if she had a special plate that could stand in, and loo and behold, she did.

All hail the silver salver 🙂

More great Squishy news

Inigo gets his first bronze award

Yesterday Mrs D told me that she was going to move him up to Fairy Penguin numeracy level after the holidays.  Apparently, as well as showing her how well he can read, now he is also starting to show her what he can do with numbers, and comprehension, and vocabulary, and all sorts of other domains as well.  Which is a HUGE relief.

Once he finds his level at school, I know he will be happier and more engaged with is learning, and (hopefully) that will set the pattern for the rest of his educational life.  I feel (still) so amazingly lucky that we found Mrs D, and that she is working so hard to bring out his best.

She mentioned that she thinks he may be “gifted”.  That label leaves a very bad taste in my mouth for several reasons.  Mostly because it is used by parents to brag about how special their kid is.  Every kid is the most special kid in the world, and labeling them can be really destructive.  The only label a kid needs is “loved”.  The other worry I have is that children labelled as gifted are sometimes difficult for schools to handle, and difficult for other kids to relate to.  I’d welcome input from other parents (or teachers!) on this, but as long as Squish has a teacher that is able to keep him engaged, I don’t see the need to define him.

Of course I have always thought he was gifted – I thought it was a miracle the first time he smiled (almost a week after the books said it should happen), when he crawled for the first time most of his cohort were already walking, and when he walked they were already climbing fences.  But I saw what he put into each step, I watched his little face as he concentrated on balancing, and I celebrated his effort.  I never felt sad that his milestones were “behind” others, because they were his, and he is perfect to me.  Every little milestone, every achievement has been amazing in my eyes, because I am his mother, because we made him, because the sun shines when he smiles and the world cracks when he is hurt.

Yesterday we had some great car conversations.  We’ve been talking about viruses, and why you need to cover your mouth when you cough, so you don’t share the germs and make others sick. He asked, “mama, how did the first person get sick?”.  Between us, we decided that mutation of viruses was probably the culprit, but I had to think on my feet.

He also asked about “the bit of you that isn’t your body”, and what happens to that after you die.  I said that there were many different theories.  He said, “maybe you go into another body and become a different person”.  He discovered reincarnation!

And then – “mama, I know how you turn left and right, but I’m going to need to know how you make the car go backwards and forwards”.  So he can complete world domination ahead of schedule 😉

Boys with long hair

I should be working on my essay (1500 words on why health intentions don’t always translate into health behaviours – I could write the book on that one!), but a friend tweeted this to me.  What’s the big deal about boys with long hair?

We were told endlessly that we would “have” to cut his hair before he started school.  People worried about teasing and bullying.  I worried about teasing and bullying.  But not because of his hair, because of his sweet and gentle nature, and because of his preference for narrative play over active play, because of his quirky interests, because of who he is.  The hair issue didn’t raise a blip on my radar.

A few weeks into school, he told me that another boy with long hair in an older class had approached him and told him how cool he is for having long hair.  And until yesterday, that was the only time it had come up.

Yesterday, he said he wanted to cut his hair because he doesn’t like it when people call him a girl.  There are people who make honest mistakes, and there are people who do it deliberately.  There is one boy in his class who we have known since they were babies.  He’s a nice kid, and I like his parents (and his older brother), but he continually refers to Inigo as “she”, despite knowing that he is a boy.

This was one of those days when I was glad Inigo and I have practiced talking about feelings. It transpired that this kid is the one who is upsetting Squish, and we talked about how to deal with it.  On Monday, Inigo is going to say to him, “Please don’t call me a girl, because it upsets me”.

He also said that he doesn’t want to cut his hair because it might hurt, so that is a whole ‘nother conversation 🙂

Bronze Award

Guess who is the first kid in kindy to get ten commendations, and earn a Bronze Award?

Yup, Mr Squish.

Parent teacher interviews didn’t bring any surprises, but it was a chance for Mark and Mrs D to connect.  He’s now been finally assessed as being at level 9 for reading (kindy kids are expected to finish the year at or above level 8), but for numeracy he still isn’t showing Mrs D what he is capable of.  Last week he started adding and subtracting three digit numbers, but he still hasn’t shown the teacher he can count backwards from 30 to 0.

So he’s still super awesome, still working hard, but he’s going to have much more fun if he can show off his talents and start to do some more interesting work.  My concern is that if he isn’t challenged, he will fall into the same rut as both of his parents and skim through school without ever learning to put in the effort required to reach his potential.

It’s still early days, and he’s made wonderful progress.  Great kid.