Friday, 24 August 2007

Name day Part two

Thanks to a nearly-rage-free Tiger day yesterday, everyone's hoping today will yield the same, watching what we say, moving carefully, making sure there's no disturbance that could send us all off bouncing in the wrong direction. Still, there's a bit of tension in the air as Tiger crashes downstairs wearing her party frock, shouting it's her name day so don't make her angry, or else.

This is our second attempt at making a fuss of Tiger. We had conceived the name day as a way to celebrate each child individually and independently, but this name day's building up to a form of self-defence. We can say to Tiger, when she asserts 'You don't love me!' a response that takes the form of 'Look! Here's proof! You had a day all to yourself! A Tiger day! Now add it to the cuddles and claps!'

Well, we all start off quiet speaking and pussy-footing about the house in case someone does or says anything to set her off. Recently, our incendiary devices have been 'Good morning' and 'Would you like some smoothie juice?' Perhaps it's because we're all ultra-cautious, or perhaps it's because Tiger's in the temper to ignore the slights of being offered milk on her Weetabix, the morning mood gradually relaxes, although there's still a bit of tension over the timings for the day, which are quite fine.

Then the first challenge: to get Tiger down to the kiddie park to have fun with Am, all on her own, which is what she's asked for. Then the plan is that I come back to prepare tea, Dig takes Squirrel and Shark who join Tiger and Am for the last hour, then everyone comes back here for a clap-clap tea party. At this point we'll be joined by San with her two kids En and Zee, who are possibly the most relaxed, easy-going kids we've ever met anywhere in the entire world. When everyone's gone home, then we can give Tiger lots of cuddles and bedtime stories and she'll go to bed happy. That's the theory.

I've already done a dash to Tesco to stock up on fruit for tea, which is what Tiger wants, when I suggest to her that it might be time to meet Am down at the park.
'I don't want to go!' wails Tiger.
'Why not?' I ask, sensing disaster.
'I want a sister to be there!' howls Tiger, running off to the schoolroom.
'But isn't this what you wanted?' I ask. I'm a bit gobsmacked now. So is Shark who is stood motionless at the kitchen table, listening, scissors frozen in a half-cut on a home-made paper doily.
'I don't want to go!' howls Tiger. 'It will all go wrong!'

It takes me about thirty minutes coaxing, telling Tiger about the day we've planned, stroking her hair and reassuring her that if things start to go wrong here's Jol, Am's kind mummy, to make her laugh, and a calm daddy Dig to hold her hand. And, I add hopefully, mummy Grit will not run off if there is a Kaboom! but will be there for a cuddle.

Reluctantly Tiger agrees to go, expecting disaster. Looking at me sadly, I suspect that she's as surprised as the rest of us when the Tiger rages start.

With effort and care, we get Tiger down to the kiddie theme park, where she runs off to play happily enough alongside Am. Our plans work well enough, thanks to all; Am and Jol make Tiger laugh; I swap locations with Dig; Squirrel joins at 4pm; Shark stays at home to make Happy Name Day fruit salad and cakes. By the time everyone's arrived back home, En and Zee appear and everyone eats tea.

Afterwards, it all seems so effortless and simple with everyone munching vege sausages and fruit salad and Shark's little cakes, then playing at the park. But the day has had precision timing and organisation rarely known in the Grit and Dig household, and we're all worn out, watching what we say, trying hard not to say this, or to rephrase that, or to intervene and guard. Not too early, not too late. Just at this point, not then, not now. All day, all of us have been trying to make a triumph for Tiger.

And Tiger goes to sleep, saying she's had a happy day, and we heave a big sigh of relief.

1 comment:

HelenHaricot said...

well done! sounds like the day achieved its objective, and was also fun.