Monday, 21 January 2013

hi Petal, say cheese!

Petal's birthday is in the summer, so she's one of the youngest in her year at school (year four in UK school speak).  Now eight and a half, she seems to alternate between being sensible, responsible and trustworthy (possibly more so than her older brothers), or else putting on silly voices and insisting she is absolutely unable to do up her shoes by herself (which she's been doing for several years now)!

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Being a girl with two older brothers, Petal has a certain place in the pecking order, an image to uphold ... she's in charge.  Pretty much all of the time.  She told me just before Christmas that she prefers purple to pink now, as pink, "well, it's kind of babyish, don't you think"?

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She loves anything involving glue or pipe cleaners ~ she's a proper craft addict, and right now is particularly into junk modeling.  I worry slightly that she's gong to end up on one of those 'hoarders', since she really struggles to throw anything out ... or to let us throw anything out ... "but I could use that to make something!"

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She's extraordinarily patient with Smiler, often offering to read him a book or dance with him to a favourite song on the radio.  She's picked up the habit Mr Manley and I have of echoing Smiler's speech back to him, filing in the blanks.  He adores her, and it's clear from watching them together that she feels the same.

Petal decided a couple of years ago that her ambitions in life meant she would have to have two part~time jobs, since she couldn't pick between the two.  So her life plan is to work as a teacher, and then (two days a week) drive a train.  She has the schedule worked out and everything ~ I love the lack of cynicism, the utter failure to acknowledge any boundaries of her imaginary future.  She has retained a genuine sense of wonder, a rare thing in an eight year old living in our sarcastic age, where children grow up so quickly!  To be perfectly honest, I could see her teaching ~ maybe primary age children, or else children with special needs.  

So, she's officially (chronologically anyway!) the littlest of the bunch.   If I had one wish for Petal's future, it would be that she manages to hang onto her (up to this point) enduring faith in human nature and learn to temper it with the determination she shows us at times (the most inconvenient of times of course).  My one wish for the people who love Petal ~ myself included ~ is that we develop resistance to her budding manipulative skills!

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