Mostly Katie

Katie's Quiz for You

In school today Katie had to come up with some words to describe a character in a fairy tale. Can you guess who it is from her words?

Disobedient
Loving
Kind
Foolish
Beautiful
Young

Oh, and Red.

John Rutter meets his match

We just got back from what we hope will be an annual tradition - going to the 9 Lessons and Carols from St Alfege Church in Greenwich. I first went in 2003 and have been every year since with a different combination of girls. Buffy is the big challenge of course. Last year we left during O Come All Ye Faithful. This year, she and Regan left in the middle. She Had Had Enough. And that was that.

As for Katie, she was recovering from a cold, had been to a dance party in the afternoon and was pooped. She wasn't in the best of moods and wanted to leave too. But I really wanted to stay, not least because Richard Brasier, the new organist, was playing Messiaen's Dieu Parmi Nous, one of the most sublime Christmas organ pieces there is, at the end. So I tried to keep her entertained by talking up what was coming next.

How could she not like the jolly charms of Rutter's Shepherd's Pipe Carol? Isn't it fun, Katie?

"No, Daddy. It sounds like terrible goblin music."

Oh well, there's always next year.

The Christmas Bunny

We just got home from Katie's school Nativity play. It was titled "Santa's on Strike" and featured only a tableau of Mary, Joseph and Jesus. It was sweet, and our Katie was one of the traditional Christmas bunnies. Okay, not so traditional, but she took her duties very seriously. She knew all the songs, all the movements, and when to stand up and sit down. At one point no one was standing except Katie and she was so certain they had to be standing. She was the focus of much discussion as she tried to get other animals to stand up. So confident was Katie that at one point she pulled another bunny up by the ear!

How'd We Miss This One?

Katie: Was Granddad born on his birthday?

Me: Yes...

Katie: Oh.

Me (confused): Everyone was born on their birthday, honey.

Katie: You mean Buffy was born on her birthday?!

Me: Yep.

Katie: Wow. I thought only old people had that.

Dear Katie

Yesterday you turned 28+40 months old. You are always forty months older than Buffy. Exactly. It's beautiful math, and it's just like you. Beautiful.

I feel I have to write this for you to read someday, because you just don't seem to hear me lately. You don't hear the requests and suggestions, but you are somehow more deaf to our compliments. Last night your little face crumpled up into tears. You kept insisting you were a naughty girl. I tried to joke with you that you aren't a naughty girl, you are a lovely girl who is sometimes naughty. Just like a five-year-old should be. You wanted and needed more. So, I launched into a deeper explanation of all the wonders of Katie. I was about ten seconds in when something on the cover of your book caught your eye and your woes were forgotten. I felt like a fool for going on and on, but I think maybe you'd heard what you needed to hear?

The book you had was FLOOD, a non-fiction book. This is a status symbol in your world, to be reading a non-fiction book. Apparently this is much more important than reading a novel. You can read two Rainbow Fairy novels in one sitting. Daddy and I choose to see this as a good thing. Maybe you'll finish those dreadful books sooner than they can crank them out. When I take Buffy to the library tomorrow, I'll pick up three Rainbow Fairy books and one book I hope you will like. The last two I chose were busts, so maybe I should embrace Rainbow Fairy some more. It's just... I can't. They're so awful they make me want to rip out the pages, but that's not something you're supposed to do with library books. Or any books. Promise me you won't rip apart any books unless they're written by Candace Bushnell. Then it's okay.

You have this thing you do now where you put your toothbrush next to the toothbrush of the parent you like best (or away from the parent you like least). Daddy and I won't admit it, but we're all too aware of whose toothbrush you're next to. Tonight you're next to mine. That's the first time all week, so I'm thrilled. You were so adorable tonight, though, because you fretted that you couldn't be right between both of us.

Tonight you got to skip bathtime because you were deeply involved in making a little book entitled, "My Busy Week". I know you made one at school last week, and I'm sure this is a copy, but it's just wonderful. The pictures are adorable and the story is hilarious, "On Wednesday I was a ghost, because I like being spooky sometimes."

I will probably stay up late tonight worrying about your Thursday entry, "On Thursday I was a butturfly because I want to escape." Your butterfly looked so happy, though, I think (hope, pray) that it's not a deep feeling. Just a bit of fun and freedom. You could use some of that.

I told a neighbour today that if we didn't have Buffy, we might be a very serious family. You are so very serious sometimes and take your life so seriously for a five-year-old. This must come down to me. I can tell you things. I can ask you to be more mature, because you so often rise to the occasion. That's why Daddy and I get so bothered when you act like such a little child. It's a shock to see you spill your cereal when you're the one cleaning up after Buffy. We'll try to remember that you're only little, and that we spill sometimes too.

Whatever little neuroses we're unknowingly planting in your brain, please forgive us. When we say you're thin, we don't mean you're too thin. You're perfect thin. You're healthy and strong and slender and gorgeous. When we say you're beautiful, we don't mean that you're only beautiful. You're so beautiful it takes my breath away, but you are so much more than just a pretty face. And if you still want to cut your hair short in a few months, we'll let you do it. Just give us some time to get over the shock. You'll still be beautiful if you cut off your cascades of curls. Honest. When we say you're driving us crazy, don't worry. You're not doing it any more than any other child. We mean to say it with humour. And when we say you're responsible, serious and mature we don't mean that you have to be. You can be silly and immature and ridiculous, too.

Don't believe me?

"On Monday I was the tooth fairy because I like making tooth necklesses."

Beautiful.

Ignoring Katie

Readers of this blog might think that we are a Buffy-centric house. It is true that she demands attention. We can be sitting in the living room, enjoying family time and Buffy will run to the middle of the room, shout, "LOOK AT ME!" and perform several somersaults in succession. She is impossible to ignore, but so is Katie.

To be honest, I am not sure how to write about Katie. I'm convinced anything I say will come out as an obnoxious brag. I think it has to do with age. Buffy's quirky stories are okay because one, she's silly, and two, she's little. Katie is older. Most of my friends have children Katie's age. Whenever comparisons (inevitably) come up, I worry I've offended someone. I probably shouldn't worry. Most parents are just like me and think their kids are the best. It's just that with Katie, sometimes I think it's not just maternal bias working here. She really is that fantastic.

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