At nearly 4.5 LLC scrums like a trooper, has perfected her growl of indignation and fears not the mud but she’ll do this all in a pretty frock with her party socks on. Or else.
My little lady loves a dress, and she loves her bling. Every night she decides which of her 20+ dresses she’s going to wear tomorrow. Is it wrong to be jealous of my daughter’s wardrobe? I could only hope for so much choice! Then she lays out various necklaces, bracelets and rings for easy access.
By the time Chris or I stumble into her room the following morning she’s often dressed, with jewellery and hair clips by 6:30/7am. Her hair is probably not brushed, but we’re moving in the right direction.
While I wouldn’t have classed LLC as a tomboy her rough and tumble nature never made me see her as a particularly girly girl either. She has developed a love of ‘the princess’ but I wouldn’t describe her as princess obsessed. But she’s definitely got an eye for clothes and accessories and more than ever it’s a struggle to convince her to don trousers or leggings!
What’s more she’s projecting her fashion sense onto me. ”Mommy”, she’ll say. ”I love your dress.” (I often wear dresses to work). And on days when I’m not in a dress (often those I’m at home, crawling around on the floor with children) she’ll say the likes of, “Where’s you dress mom? I love you in a pretty dress. Wear the one blue/green one with the sparkly bits.”
Fortunately she hasn’t got a full on shoe habit yet, but I’m sure it’s only a matter of time. My bank balance is crying.
Last autumn I encountered the hurricane that is school applications. It blows in, screws with you and then blows on, leaving a wake of maybe not destruction, but certainly apprehension and often frustration. State or public school? (For any American readers, public school in the UK is private school – this is confusing enough!).
For us it was state school all the way, but the prevalence of private education in our area did give me pause for thought…will our kids be at a disadvantage in the state education system?
So then there was the whole state school lotto system. Create a preference list. But with catchments as small as 0.2 mile where we live, do I really have a choice? Oh and Ofsted has identified some ‘issues’ with the school LLC is most likely to get a place at. Word on the street is that the school does have negatives, but that the positives outweigh them. Plus I liked the setting. Did I? Yes, I think so? But it’s hard to tell on an Open Day full of 100+ other parents.
All I want is a safe, stimulating environment for LLC that will teach her, challenge her and ensure she enjoys learning. I think she’s bright. I know that we teach her things at home, so do I need to stress about the school that much as she’s young and this is still primary education? But isn’t primary the foundation for the 11+ exam and wait, what is
that? I’m not from this country….what is Key Stage 1 and 2? And so on…..it’s a whole learning curve in itself within the general learning curve of being a parent and it’s made worse by the fact everyone goes on about it. Like me right now!
Back to the title of this post, we are not enrolling LLC in the Lycée Français in South Ken – ha! We are considering sending her to a new, ‘free’ state French primary school on our patch (if she gets a place there). It’s an English curriculum school that embraces
a bilingual teaching approach. Core skills like writing and math will be taught in English first, though French language will be used in parallel with English from the start.
LLC and LMM have both been exposed to French from an early age through our neighbor who babysits them. While neither of them run around speaking French on a daily basis, they understand a lot and have a foundation in the language. I personally believe that learning another language from an early ages wires a capacity into the young brain for both picking up language, and approaching ‘the new’ with confidence. So after initial (in hindsight foolish) apprehension, I couldn’t be happier that my two have had the luck to learn a new language from such an early age.
Then a friend told me about this new school opening and I started to seriously consider it as an option for LLC. It’s currently being set up, so I’ve had to apply for a place alongside the Council’s lotto system. She’ll get a lotto place regardless, and if she gets a French school place, we’ll have the luxury of a choice.
My main hesitations:
- I don’t speak French. Will I be able to properly support LLC with her homework, etc?
- It feels like a bit of punt – LLC would be in one of the opening year reception classes, a guinea pig of sorts. The leadership and teaching will all be untested.
- Lack of a ‘school culture’ – the first pupils will help create this from scratch – can something so new feel nurturing to little ones?
On the whole though, if she gets a place, I’m inclined to want to send her there. I like what I’ve read and learned of the proposed ethos/methods of the school and isn’t this a fantastic and reasonably rare opportunity to grow her language and learning skills through the state system at such a young age.
We’ll find our own way in the end, but I’m always interested in your thoughts…
This afternoon I was having a really nice, relaxed chat with LLC and LMM in the kitchen. They were having a late lunch, we weren’t rushing off anywhere, peace reigned….
Somehow we got on to the topic of what they wanted to be when they grew up.
LMM said: A car. Surprise, surprise…. Should I take that to mean a mechanic, or a Formula 1 Driver?
LLC said: A hairdresser. Or a princess. A hairdresser princess. And a mommy. The first two? Typical LLC. But the mommy - I must be doing something right then….or maybe it’s just LLC’s obsession with having ‘six’ children. Apparently they will all sleep in her bed and life will be great.
LMM is a feisty little fire and can usually be found bashing or splashing something he’s not supposed to. After hearing me tell him off time and time again, LLC is now donning her ‘parenting hat.’
No LMM, she’ll say. You must not spit your water on the table. It’s not acceptable and if you keep doing it there will be consequences.
Recently after one of her disciplinary speeches I said: LLC, thanks for trying to help LLM understand what is not good behavior. But you must stop trying to discipline him yourself. I’m the mommy, so let me do that. Then I went into my own little diatribe that summed up amounted to I’m the mommy, so I’m the boss who gets to make disciplinary decisions for my children. When you are a mommy one day, then you will be the boss.
To which LLC simply replied: Well now, I’m the little boss.
Why did I even plant that seed? I had to laugh though…
I’m prone to telling my kids that I’ll eat them up, I love them so. Of course Where the Wild Things by Maurice Sendak is completely to blame and celebrate for this.
This fantastic book, about the repercussions of cheeky antics, headstrong children, frustration, imagination, solidarity and love is one of our all time favorites. My two were captured from the start when young Max runs through his house chasing his dog with a fork and wreaking general havoc (they’d never dream of doing that to Rico!….hmmmm).
Max is sent to bed without supper and enters a dreamland where he tames and rules over ‘Wild Things’ not unlike himself. Ultimately of course he feels a bit lonely and misses his family so returns home, much to the dismay of his new subjects. And there awaits a plate of hot supper.
We love this book because it is fun, creative and easy for my kids to relate to without them even consciously recognizing it.
Interesting accordingly to Wiki Sendak said that it took a couple of years for the book to be widely accepted after an initial critical reviews. It went on to gain much acclaim, winning the Caldecott Medal and numerous other plaudits.
Max, you hold a special place in our hearts.