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Defeated at Hangman by a six year old

Zozo defeats me at ‘Hangman’

14/06/2002

Gloating parent or have we given birth to our very own ‘Little man Tate’

I got the kids into the bath early yesterday, I had to promise Zozo that I would play ‘Hangman’. That game where you score out in lines the letters that make up a word.

She settled into the bath, I found some card and a pencil.

I offer no clues, no hint of what I might do.

She starts.

Two words: —– —.

I go for the vowels. I get ‘A’ and ‘E’. A—E —.

I say I can guess, she doesn’t think I’ll get it, so lets me suggest ‘Apple Pie.’

She is upset that I have got it and tells me there should be no guessing. I stand my ground, saying that this is the game, you are allowed to guess, if you see a pattern in the letters that looks like a word and the letters fit you can guess. If you guess wrong it is like getting a letter wrong and you take one step further to being a ‘hanged man’.

For the first time she agrees to play by these rules

All that matters to her know, is that she is able to win. The trick is to get the balance right between a challenge that tests her, that gives her some satisfaction when she gets it right … and a challenge that she can do. Why I chose the name of her school I don’t know. There is no hint that we will do so.

I offer her: ——- —- ——.

And we begin. In goes an ‘A’ and in go three ‘Os’ giving: ——- -oa- —oo-. She suspects she has the answers, squirms about with delight and asks if she can guess. She says, ‘Western Road School’. I am delighted at her success of course. Maybe, as I write this, I can see that I was playing into her mind, offering her patterns with which she will be familiar. Anyway, next up her brother’s name. No hints, and she gets it right with a single letter at the end of his first name. I keep on. ——– —-. With the ‘I’, the ‘O’ and the ‘Ls’ in place she guesses ‘swimming pool’. The —– ——–. With the ‘a’, ‘i’ and ‘y’ in place she guesses ‘Happy Birthday’.

I share this with Darlingest

I race down to the study to interrupt the report she is writing. She reminds me that she got all her spellings right on Monday, again (as always) … spellings we had been given for her to learn over half term but had totally forgotten about. My concern in all of this is how to keep her challenged. I can see her sitting in the back of the class reading Charles Dickens. She has been picked out for ‘advanced maths’ and will have some extra ‘work’ to bring home tonight. She will be six tomorrow. I record these details as fact, or boast, whatever … forgetting that she is possibly emotionally only four or five. Her periods of ‘maturity’ are offset by indecision, distraction, daydreaming and weeping. She is highly sensitive, cries easily and whinges often. i don’t need to turn to a book on A.D.D. that she has all the hallmarks of an A.D.D. child.

Where is all this taking me?

Who knows. This is a jumble journal for now: a writer’s journal, a family record, a cashbook, a dream diary, a list … I’m not conscious of anyone reading this, which, for now, I prefer. Whilst I enjoy batting ideas back and forth with Diarylander strangers, for now, at least, I have no time to do so.

I am becoming a ‘full time mother’.

I was asked if I would get the kids to sleep as TBT in particular is finding it difficult to be with me all day, that have Darlingest put him to bed … he will go to bed, be read a story and fall asleep with me, but with Darlingest, the woman from whose breasts he fed until he was three years and two months old, his needs and expectations are different; she has to be in bed with him so that he can stick his hand up her front … as he did as a newly born and beyond.

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