Mostly Katie

Report Card

Before I settle into the deep, soothing waters that is the content of Katie's end-of-year report, let me tell you about the report itself. Without reading a word, this is already the best report card I've ever seen. It is seven pages long (A5 for our English readers, half-sheets for those dialling in from America). It is bound with card and one of those triangular plastic slidey thingies. Pretty sure that's the technical term. So already I know this is One to Keep.

Then we get the joy of actually opening the thing. Now, at this moment the joy is somewhat tarnished because Katie's Naughty Little Sister has scribbled across the first two pages. This is not a huge problem, as she chose pencil as her weapon of choice. Vast improvement on black paint.

I'll give you a short excerpt from each section, but keep in mind each section is one or two paragraphs of wonderfulness. My comments in parentheses.

Mathematics
...She is able to count in twos, fives, threes and tens and can recognize and name all the basic two and three dimensional shapes... Katie is highly motivated, listens well to explanations and instructions, and her progress is very pleasing. (For me the highlight of this section is the gorgeous omission of apostrophes in twos, fives, etc.. I like Katie's teachers to have a good grasp of grammar. I suppose there could be some hyphens after for "two- and three-dimensional", but I suspect I overuse hyphens. Is that even possible?)

English
Katie has made superb progress in all aspects of English this year... She always contributes to any class debate and varies her style of delivery depending on her audience. Katie is now a 'Free Reader'... Her achievement in English is excellent. (So tempted just to type out the whole thing. This is an obvious strong point for Katie. Free Reader means she gets to choose her own books since she freely chooses more challenging and more interesting books than following the school's reading programme.)

Science
Katie has made good progress in mastering some of the main scientific 'process skills' this year, such as closely observing changes, making detailed drawings and recording the major features of an investigation written in chart form. (Ah the dreaded "progress".)

ICT
Katie is very confident in the use of the computer and it is quite apparent she has one at home.
(Doesn't everyone?)

Art/Design Technology
Katie has a particular talent for this subject and works hard to produce good results, usually preferring to work on her own. (Mommie's and Daddy's influence condensed into only one short sentence.)

Humanities
Katie asks searching questions and enjoys talking about how people lived in the past.
(I guess that's good)

French
She is an active member of the class.
(Very similar to my French reports of "bavarde". I looked it up and it said "gossip". I think Mrs. Rosson really meant I was an active member of the class, but I took it as an opportunity to tell her off. What a rotten teenager I was!)

Religious Education
She is able to retell stories from different religions in her own words.
(All of these subjects except French and PE are taught by the same teacher. They have a lot to cover in a year.)

PE
Katie is making excellent progress.
(Ack! "Progress" again. It really means, "Never going to make Varsity". We'll cling to our 'Free Reader' success.)

Teacher's Comment
This has been an excellent year for Katie, she has been a pleasure to teach and I shall miss her greatly!
(We love her!)

Headteacher's Comment
What a splendid report, Catherine. Well done!
(Catherine? Did you even read the report? You know where it said "Katie" every few lines?)

Best Concert Ever

It has been six days since I watched the best concert of my life. The energy was electric, the performers engaging and endearing, the music was scintillating, and it ended with homemade cake! Honestly, it will never be topped.

The concert was, of course, performed by Katie's class. The girls sang group songs, performed individual solos in piano, recorder, violin, cello and dance. A-ma-zing! I was especially thrilled when Katie received two rounds of applause, one for her piano playing ("When the Saints Go Marching in") and one for her beautiful handmade dress. She worked so hard on the dress, I was really pleased. I sometimes wish I could have a round of applause for the odd piece that comes out really well.

At the very end, the girls sang an Austrian folk song about baking a cake. On the last line one girl pulled large bundt cake from a toy oven and gave it to her mum. Then all the girls sang Happy Birthday. So sweet! There wasn't a dry eye in the house. Even better, they then grabbed paper plates and gave all the rest of the parents a smaller cake. It was yummy and just the perfect end to a perfect concert.

Twoth

Despite having no birthday parties or other commitments, we managed ourselves quite a busy little weekend. Most excitingly for me, I got to make a dress with Katie. She picked out the fabrics, helped with the design, and sat down with me at the sewing machine to hack it out. I wanted her to do 80% of the work, but when I relaxed it to 50% we had a really lovely time. I hope never to forget Katie sitting on one knee, her hands on top of mine guiding the fabric, and her precious head tilted to gently meet mine. Ah, perfection. The dress came out great, too!

Most excitingly for Katie, she lost her second tooth. She has decided that it's her first tooth, because her first grown-up tooth has come in so quickly, she only has one gap. Silly little logician!

The weekend was beautiful with gorgeous weather, lots of opportunities for making and eating ice lollies, gardening, cooking, sewing, cuddling, and running around in the Pleasaunce. Thank you weekend. We wish ourselves many happy returns!

Pianist

The Blackheath Music Festival started this morning with seventeen lovely performances from fifteen girls and two boys. It took an hour for each to play one long or two short pieces, pose for photographs for eager parents, be judged, listen to feedback, pose for more photographs and receive medals and/or certificates. You might have guessed that even the long pieces were very short, and you would be absolutely correct. Katie played two pieces, "Haunted Castle" and "Down by the Lakeside". By the time she heard her name called, handed copies of the music to the adjudicator, walked to the centre of the room, introduced her pieces in a loud, clear voice, settled at the grand piano, played both pieces beautifully, received applause and bowed, thirty seconds had passed.

I exaggerate. Really, it was at least double that, but it seemed faster with all the adrenaline of a mom experiencing Piano Recital for the very first time. I will relive it over and over, which will crystalise every moment, every note. It was perfect. She was perfect. I know she's a beginner, so I don't want to overstate this. She wore the wrong shoes (grubby trainers), played "Haunted Castle" a with a bit less feeling than she does at home, and sat too far away from the piano. So, clearly there were areas for improvement. Considering all of this, I would say that Katie's performance was... perfect! She's a star!

There were three medals given out, and I agree that the top three were appropriately placed. Of course, if Katie had started playing at two, she'd be right up there, too. ;) In all honesty, I think Katie's performance was solid, but I can't get over everything else. She chose to do this without any parental prompting. She sat up there and performed in front of judges and an 100-strong audience. It could/should have been nervewracking, but she just went up there and had fun. I am so proud, I could burst.

The adjudicator was superb. He must be a speed-writer, because he had a full page of notes on every child. Considering the brevity of the pieces, I don't know how he managed. At the end, he called on each child and went over his notes. Starting with the positives, he then went on to highlight where they could improve. It was very constructive, and I think very respectful of the children. I think there is an increasing trend to tell children only the good news. I think this undervalues them. Giving constructive criticism shows real respect. I think Granny was as impressed as I. We can't wait for the next performance!

Chauve

I don't quite know how to say this, so I'll just have to bluster through: We cut Katie's hair. She has been asking for a haircut for ages, going as far as cutting her own hair (and asking a friend to cut it for her). After a year or so, we started thinking she might be serious. Still, I tried to distract her. Surely she didn't really mean she wanted long hair.

Something about the last few weeks has been convincing me, though. I started looking up Locks of Love, to see if there were any UK chapters. There weren't, but I did find the Little Princess Trust, which operates the same way - donated hair is woven into wigs for children who have lost their hair. They wanted ten inches, which was about how much Katie was begging to cut off. It seemed we had a deal.

The only sticking point was me.

I told her I'd cut her hair today. After two hours of inventing excuses, it was obvious the cutting was going to happen. All last week, she'd brush her curly locks over her shoulder and say gleefully, "This is the bit that will be gone!" Breaking my heart a little every time.

I am so sad her hair is gone. I am not sorry we did it. You can see from her smile it was the right decision. She's ecstatic. I'm just sad for the little girl with the glittering, downy cascades. She may never grow her hair that long again. Buffy seems to really like and suit short hair, so she may never have hair that long. I should just grow my own hair super long, if I'm so attached to it, but I don't really want to. I guess that's it, then. All that's left to do is to lift a glass or two in memory of Katie's beautiful, beautiful, beautiful carpet of hair.

It's Official

Our little tiny 6-pound baby is now a giant, gap-toothed, piano-playing, poem-reciting, pink-loving, dolphin-adoring, friendly, funny, runaway-clever, beautiful 6-year-old girl. Apparently, despite years of trying very hard not to, we blinked.

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