Mostly Katie

Poet Laureate of East Greenwich

We got a great little certificate home from Katie's teacher yesterday. It said Katie had done some excellent writing and her teacher was very pleased. We extracted from Katie the full story. Eventually. Painfully. Like an impacted molar. It turned out she wrote an acrostic poem for the world "Apples" that went a bit like this, "A - apples are healthy. P - please may I have one? P - Pink Ladies are yummy." And so on. Very cute!

It seems to have sparked something in her and now she's spouting poetry left and right about anything and everything. A conversation about After School Club turned into a limerick about jam biscuits. It's so adorable it makes my insides turn to jelly. Or jam, I suppose.

I Love Jam Biscuits
by Katie

Once I had a jam biscuit
I loved it so much that I kissed it
With a heart full of jam
And no yucky ham
Once I ate it I missed it

Housekeeping

Katie says there's a sign on her teacher's desk, "Housework can kill you." Statistically, it's probably right, but that's no reason to leave it. This is more of a website housekeeping post, but the other kind is going on as well as the terrible mice have returned. One seems to spend 4:30 am until 6:00 am digging a tunnel into the wall near Katie's head. This, as you might well imagine, makes it difficult to sleep. Not for Katie, mind, as she is now a sleeping champ and can sleep through anything, mice or even noisy little sisters. Noisy little sisters, however, find the tunneling noises more disruptive. This tends to make them even noisier. A second round of poison is scheduled this week, so we live in hope the tunneling will subside. In the meantime, I clean.

I've updated the links on the right side to include some more crafty blogs. Heather Bailey is the fabric designer I've mentioned a few thousand times. I am passionately in love with her fabrics and just looking at them makes me start dreaming of pillows, quilts, little girls' dresses and aprons. I need to keep those dreams focused on handbags, though, because I'm participating in a market in November. I just have to keep cranking out handbags, so I have a few to show! It takes me an hour to make one, so I need to make one a day or I'll be an embarrassment. The complicating factor is the Halloween party I've started to plan for the school. Must focus. Halloween party = fun. Handbags = potential profit. Money is important.

Enjoy the links!

Katie Can Ride a Bike!

For her birthday (March) Katie asked for a bike. We considered it, but the weather was dreadful. What would be the point in having a bike she couldn't ride? We told her it'd have to wait. She then asked for a bike nicely, kindly, patiently Every. Single. Day.

Towards the end of the school year, I started taking to look at bikes at the Discount Bike Shop down the road. All the bikes in her size were heavy, bubblegum pink, had fluffy seats and dreadful dolly baskets. All style (erm...) and no substance. I worked hard to talk Katie into an ugly bike. She needed a bike she could actually ride to school. I couldn't be dragging it up the hill whilst pushing Buffy in the buggy. It had to be small enough to ride, light enough to push, cheap enough to afford, and sturdy enough to survive all that we'll ask. I seriously doubted all that could come in a sparkly pink as well.

Katie struggled to understand. She wanted a bike, any bike, but she couldn't just shut off her genuine attraction to all things pink and fluffy. As the last day of school approached, so too did our summer of holidays. We weren't even going to be around to ride a bike. Again, there wasn't much point in getting it so it could sit out in the rain all summer. On Buffy's birthday we returned to the bike shop for their cheap little three-wheel scooter. Pink, of course. This was for Buffy's birthday, and we had no thoughts of looking at bikes for Katie.

And that's when she saw it. As I was paying for the scooter, I heard a voice say, "Mummy, what about this bike?" I turned around to see her holding up a bike. It was so light, she had no trouble keeping it suspended mid-air. I went over and lifted it up. It was light. I felt the joints. It was strong. I squeezed the tires, the brakes and even the seat. It all seemed good quality. Confirming the price tag was in our earthly realm (only £8 over budget) and the make was reputable (Raleigh), I couldn't help but notice the colour: Pink.

With a bike that had it all, how could I refuse. I asked the salesman about our options. He said we could put down a small deposit and leave it there until we returned from America. Hot dog! I put up the money, signed the contract, and scooted off with Buffy into birthday bliss.

We got back from America on Thursday. We were too hazy to think about the bike until the weekend. Well, I was at least. Katie remembered before we got on the airplane in Chicago. I managed to convince her to wait until September (Saturday) to get the bike. This both gave us enough time to deal with the jetlag and would put the bill on a new month's accounts.

On Saturday we picked up the bike straight away. Katie was so proud pushing it all around Greenwich and the park. I tried to help her ride it, but pushing the buggy as well proved beyond my talents. Katie didn't seem to mind. She was so proud just pushing it around. Andrew had choir rehearsal, so any further efforts would have to wait until Sunday.

Sunday morning, we all headed out to the park. I reminded Katie that she had once ridden a bike without stabilisers at a friend's house. She remembered and built up her confidence. We then practised on a gentle slope. I held on to her seat, but then she told me to let go! By the end of the day she was riding 200m in a go. She could even go up the gentle slope. We were still pushing her to start, but the hard part was all down to her.

Yesterday (Monday) we went to meet Jean, Anna and Ella on the Heath. Katie wanted to practise her bike some more, and Anna and Ella are already proficient riders (Ella at only 3!) I still needed to push Katie at the start, but she was going all the way between crossroads on her own and was steering beautifully. Then Anna got the idea to teach Katie to start on her own. I don't think I can say enough about Anna's manner. She is just an awesome kid. She has her mother's gentleness, which is a gift I would give everyone if I could. I don't think anyone else could have convinced Katie to listen. Anna just went up and explained how she had learned. If the roles had been reversed, I am half sure Katie would have said something like, "Well I already know how to start on my own!" Not Anna. Anna just demonstrated what had worked for her, and to her credit, Katie really listened. After a few tries Katie got it!

Now our Katie can ride like the wind. She wants to ride everywhere. She'd ride her bike upstairs to bed if she could. We're heading out to the park as soon as I finish writing this. She can't wait. There's the further possibility of running into school friends today. I just hope Katie can remember some of Anna's kindness and not boast too badly. I think a lot of girls will be riding as well, so Katie won't be the only one.

I thought Katie might be able to cycle to school sometime in the Spring. Now it looks like she'll be able to in the first week! This will definitely help me cope with starting school ten minutes earlier this year. Go Katie! Maybe soon I'll have to get my own bike...

The Little Mermaid guide to growing up

The girls had been watching The Little Mermaid this morning; it was just finishing when I was drinking a cup of coffee. Ariel was kissing the Prince, and I commented to Katie how sweet it was.

After giving this some thought, Katie said:

"But she's sad to be leaving her daddy."

"It's okay - she's got her prince."

"Yes, and everyone has to leave their parents some time."

-- pause --

"Except me. I'm going to live with you when I'm grown up."

"You're welcome to... but will you help us do the cooking, cleaning, tidying up, shopping, paying the bills...?"

"No! That's not fair!" Followed by a major sulk.

Then Mommie asked Katie how much help we got from Katie towards the cooking, cleaning and bills at the moment.

"None."

"That's not fair!" Followed by a major (pretend) sulk.

Katie was still grumpy for a moment, then realised she was being teased and started laughing.

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