H is the youngest in her year at school, scraping in by a week pretty much. She copes fine with everything and is in the top band for maths and literacy, and became a free reader in Year 1, such is her bookworm-ness. (is that even a word?)
She worked out quite early on this year that it’s good to get the work done, otherwise you get moved onto ‘the thinking side’ – though you get a chance to put things right before you’re losing five minutes from your playtime, so she gets through it and seems to be happy enough with it.
She’s also now one of three School Council reps for her class, something she always wanted to do.
But somewhere in all this, there’s still a little unconfident girl in there. Sure, she’s only just six, so it’s to be expected, but I do wonder how much of how she is comes from watching me.
Chatting with friends about my school life, it has made me realise a lot of things about myself I never really noticed. I went to Grammar School, a system I don’t want H to go through if she’s still unconfident. Our class stayed together, nobody was streamed by ability. So every lesson the clever people got to speak out, and the shyer, less confident ones like me stayed quiet. I hated reading out loud in class, and would rather hide underneath my desk than speak.
I used to have days off sick when they were dissecting locusts or eyeballs. Someone left a dissected eyeball (in a bag) in my desk. Actually, the people who did it felt terrible on our 30 year reunion as they thought they’d put it down my back, so I was quite pleased to reassure them it never happened. Just the desk, thanks.
But I lacked confidence. I liked what I liked, and that was mostly sitting, writing down the Top 40 every week. Music was my thing. I couldn’t play the guitar, but I wished I could, but I didn’t have the confidence to tell my mum, or to learn in a group of children who had already had lessons. By the time I got my guitar and had a lesson he wasn’t teaching me what I thought I’d learn, so I gave it up.
Which is my roundabout way of saying I’m doing everything I can to make sure H doesn’t have the kind of confidence issues I had. But she’s the youngest in the year. But she can keep up for most things.
Then she surprised me. We’ve sorted out her After School activities for this term – and she announced she would like to do Street Dance. She has shown ZERO interest in this up to now, when asked saying she doesn’t fancy it at all. All of a sudden she does. All of a sudden we have activities four days in a row. Whoops. So I booked her a place. It will involve a performance.
Which takes me back to when I did ballet. Every Saturday I’d have lessons, and eventually got a part in Peter Pan as one of the fairies, wearing a delightful orange sequinned leotard. Photos do not exist of me, thank god. Which makes me wonder how H will be performing. She’s not a natural performer, but she gives it a go – heaven knows she really goes for it when she has football on a Saturday. But this is different – something where she’s the centre of attention with her group of dancers. It’ll be interesting to see how she gets on.
Oh, and that Peter Pan performance? I called in sick. I had a cold. I remember stagefright and not being able to deal with it. So it never happened. The orange sequinned leotard lived in the loft for the next however many years.
But already she’s speaking up about things she’d like to do. She wants guitar lessons but I’m going to wait until she’s a little bit older – maybe another six months or so. There’s only so many days in the week, anyway.
But you can take her to a party and she’ll hide behind me, too scared to join in. Until yesterday. I took her to the toilet (oops, forgot to go before we left home), and she sat with a girl she knows from Rainbows. Actually, there were about six girls from Rainbows there – and I got a thumbs up, so we backed out of the room. She didn’t need me there.
So maybe after all that her confidence isn’t the issue. Maybe it’s me? Or maybe she’s growing. I’ll take the latter, thanks.