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Twenty Seventh!

Princess had her very first Cross Country yesterday. These are an institution here in New Zealand. I remember my own school cross country races fondly. I grew up in a relatively rural town, so our cross country race involved running through the bush, scaling fences, all the while wearing either bare feet or, if we were feeling fancy, jandals.

It’s nice to see nothing has really changed. I mean, they had to wear shoes, but it still brought back memories of my own races. The line up to start. Taking off, running their little hearts out.

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Princess was really excited about this race, she couldn’t stop talking about it. She selected her clothes specifically, laid out the night before with her running shoes. She had been doing a lot of training at school, and even received a certificate last week for her “improvement in school athletics”.

I couldn’t believe how excited I was about the race. There is something about seeing your child participate and do well in something, that just melts your heart. Now, I’m no Tiger Mom, but I do want to see my kids do well. Did I want her to win? Hells yes, that would have been awesome! But more than anything, I just wanted her to do her best. I know, right? I’m such a grown up some times.

And so, it was time. They lined up all the Year 0 and Year 1 girls together (there were a million of them) and boom, they were off. And by “off”, I mean, they disappeared out of sight. Down to the river, to run along the river bank. The race was only 500m so I was surprised at how long the kids were gone for!

We waited … and waited … and then we saw a little girl emerge from the bushes. Was it Princess? Goodness, no. This kid? Usain Bolt, I tell ya. She was miles ahead of anyone else. MILES.  And then came more. And more. And more little girls, all wearing, it seems, the same as Princess. I began to wonder if I’d missed her. I looked towards the finish line – nope, not there. More girls came, and there she was. My heart? It died. It puffed up to six million times its normal size. There was my big kid, running her hardest. She wasn’t winning, but by gosh was she trying.

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She overtook a couple of kids on the home stretch, and ran across the finish line.

I won’t lie. I was yelling. Calling her name, jumping up and down in a manner that will most certainly embarrass her in years to come. I mean, no one else is going to cheer for my kid. That’s my job. 

I was so happy, I nearly cried. Ridiculous, really. But it’s that crazy pride thing that we parents get. That crazy pride thing that makes us nearly lose our minds at times, I swear.

And, as Princess ran up to me, beaming from ear to ear, she proudly held up her hand and said, “Look, Mum. TWENTY SEVENTH! That’s MY number!”. And with a kiss and a giggle, she was skipping off to her class with her friends.

Did I want Princess to win her race? Sure, that would have been nice, for her to get up onto the podium and get a certificate. But she is 6. She doesn’t yet have the drive to need to win, and that’s great. She had a wonderful time, she later said to me, “I’m so proud of my race, Mum”.

And you know what? So am I. As far as I’m concerned, she might as well have won that race. So we went out for celebratory frozen yoghurt, and Princess got extra sprinkles, because she came TWENTY SEVENTH.

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Homework

I thought I was a patient person. I thought I had all the time and tolerance in the world for my kids.

And then came homework.

Reading.

Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s great that Princess gets homework. Home reading. I just … I’m ashamed to say I simply do not have the patience to sit through it. You would be surprised at how long a five-page story can drag out when a six year old is reading it.

Not to mention the subject matter of some of the stories! A book about how spiders EAT flies. A non-fiction book detailing the life cycle of a frog. I mean, nature blah blah, I know. It’s important. But to me, it’s just gross.

And, her most recent one. “Coco’s Bell”. It’s about a cat who catches a bird in her mouth, so they need to put a bell on her. And they take the injured bird inside, and put it into a warm box. And take good care of it.

“Look Mum, I’m going to turn the page but you need to know it will be sad, don’t cry ok Mum. Are you ready, Mum? Are you ready to be brave?”

“Yes?” I answer tentatively, having no idea of what is happening. I mean, they won’t kill the bird off, right? It’s a kids book.

A FREAKIN KIDS BOOK.

“The bird is dead. Mum? Can you see? It’s dead. See Mum? D-E-A-D. That spells dead, do you know?”

They. Killed. The. Bird.

I just can’t even.

Princess has a reading journal, with points and stickers awarded for consecutive reading nights. So, every night, we sit down for reading time.

“The …….. d-d-d-og …….. w-w-w-w-ent ……… to ….. the ……….. plane? Picnic? Park! The dog went to the p-p-p-p-p-p-ark”

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“There ……………………………………………… is a ………………………ssssssssssssssslide ……………at ………………the ………………………..park”

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“There ………………………….. is …………………………………….a ………………………………..swing …………………………….at ………………………….the ……………………………….park. I like parks, Mum. Did you know Michael in my class went to Australia? I ate my yoghurt at school today. Can I have a piece of toast please?”

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“I think I’ll read the book upside down now Mum”

“Please just read it normally”

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“Thar dooooooog lyyyyyyykes tharrrrrr parrrrrrrk” *giggles*

“Please read it in your normal voice”

“I like taking my dog to the park. That’s the end, Mum.

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I think Dad can do the reading tomorrow night.

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The Unbeatable Argument Styles of a Nearly 6-year-old Girl

Princess argues with me. A fair bit, I’ll admit. I can tell her teenage years are going to be a blast.

She has a way of arguing that is not unlike that of her father. She is right. Regardless. Which makes disagreeing nearly impossible.

And, just as when her father and I disagree, I end up backing down. They both read my backing down as giving in. It’s not – it is merely that I cannot be bothered arguing any longer.

The difference between her and her father is this – with Mr T, it is often a matter of opinion as to whom is correct. With Princess, nearly every time I can say with full confidence that am correct. But she stands her ground, so I back down. I probably should work on that!

Here is a prime example of one of our arguments. This took place last Friday.

Me: You don’t have school tomorrow, that’ll be nice to have a break.

Princess: I do have school tomorrow

Me: No, you don’t, sweetie – it’s Saturday.

P: I go to school on a Saturday.

Me: No you don’t, it’s the weekend.

P: I do.

Me: No, you don’t. It’s the weekend. You go back to school on Monday.

P: No, you are wrong. I go to school on Saturday.

Me: No, you don’t.

P: I do. At my old school I went to school everyday. You said I go to school every day.

Me: You go everyday except on the weekend. That’s Saturday and Sunday.

P: So, I do go on Saturday. You just said.

Me: *sigh* No. I said you go everyday except Saturday and Sunday.

P: But at my old school, we did news on a Saturday. Why would we do news if we didn’t go to school?

Me: I’m sure you didn’t do news on a Saturday.

P: We did. You don’t know. I did news on Monday, some kids did it on Thursday, some did it on Saturday.

Me: I …. I just don’t think you did.

P: I did do news on a Monday.

Me: I know .. I just … hmmmm.

P: So, I do have school tomorrow. On Saturday.

Me: No, you don’t.

P: I do. You said.

Me: *silence*

P, smiling smugly: I am right. It’s ok, Mum. You can’t be right every time.

Me: *facepalm*

One day I’ll learn.