Me and my girl. The chance to reflect on my daughter at eight.
We do have good days.
We have times where we really are the kind of pair most would want with their daughter.
Where we talk. And laugh. Where I am intrigued by the way her mind works. Where the conversation does not need to have a front. We are just us.At 8, she remains the most caring and thoughtful child. She shows and shares her love freely. She wants to be liked. And she wants to show kindness.
At 8, she wants to be herself. In school, the boy-girl friendships are no longer as accepted as they have been. She struggles with being teased that ‘she loves xx’ if she wants to spend time with a boy previously accepted as a friend. Now she’s 8, it seems this isn’t the case, to others.
We have conversations. That she is not to first question herself, rather to think about why others may be asking the question. Why would people think she shouldn’t be friends with a boy? Does that really make sense, given she knows some of mummy’s closest friends aren’t girls. Kindness aside. She’s far from perfect. Like me. She’s also honed ‘the look’.
She hides behind good reasons to hide poor behaviour. I was really surprised this week when she told me about something she had done in school. When I questioned her as to how she would have responded if a friend had done the same to her, her response was “But mummy, I was being fair, and that’s what’s most important.” Oh, for a great answer and friends as unhappy as I would be.
Her brothers are also picking up on her -isms. After a fantastic week spent with her, I got home after working away. That evening she uttered the words “You’re so much nicer to me when mummy’s not here; when mummy’s here you’re not as kind because you know she doesn’t love me.” Not only killing me, but she’d managed to bring me into her dad attempting to discipline her. Which of course meant this weekend one of the boys has said “you don’t love me”. Bliss. For her faults, she’s a child of simple pleasures. Ask her after-school what she wants to do, it’s one of two answers. Go to the skate-ramps to train for Ninja Warrior (unlike her brothers, BMXs and scooters are not necessary) or go to the beach. Weather is not an issue.
I learned this week that if she’s happy and Chase is happy, and I’m cold- that’s my problem, no-one else’s. Fair point.
She’s evidently not as savvy as some of the girls in her class. And I’m ok with this. Memory serves that she’s heading to the age where ‘the popular kids’ will become firmly established. And we might have struggles in the years to come, if memory serves. But I will be ok with whatever group she falls in. But I would like to hold her as an 8-year old for a little longer. A child.On our trip to London over half-term, her need for simplicity was enforced. I made the mistake of trying to plan things to do. CM’s needs were straightforward- to spend time with mummy when she was at work.
As we got off the train the man in front of us turned and said to CM “You’re right, you are bonkers. But usually I’d put my headphones in and listen to music to cheer myself up on the journey. But today I didn’t bother. You really are bonkers, and funny. And you’ve made my journey.”
I was so proud. And CM became shy.
I couldn’t believe how much fun can be created when trying to entertain an 8yo in a Travelodge. We bought a pack of eighteen teacakes played hide and seek with one hiding in the bathroom. Hide and seek was stepped up a gear with timings introduced.
On the second evening, with a ‘whatever you want to do, we’ll do’ option. We went to Boots and bought coloured hair spray, blue eyeliner, blue eye-shadow and pink lipstick. Of all the options available in the wonderful city of London, giving each other a makeover had been her response.
For all the times I play bad cop.
For mainly spending time with my daughter at the end of the day when we’re both at our worst.
Because term-time is basically about grabbed moments trying to maintain a relationship.
That at eight, my daughter is pretty amazing.
But like everything in life, if you don’t take the time, you’ll never know.