It’s a hard life being six

I’ve often wondered over the last couple of years how life got so bloody complicated – three young children, a gorgeous but work-laden husband, a sick mum and a million other pebbles that make the road a bit harder to walk on. But as I watch my eldest daughter navigate the bright new path that lies ahead of her, I realise that no matter how hard my life can be – and it has pushed the acceptable boundaries of toughness of late – I realise it can never be as hard as a six year olds. Take Monday. All weekend we had looked forward to getting her dressed up for her school Halloween celebration, and I even got up ten minutes earlier so I had time to paint her face and make a winning witch out of her. Off we trotted to school, pink hair and green face to the wind. On approach I started to get an uneasy feeling but couldn’t think why. Until her little voice strangled out the worst words a six year old can say….”Mummy, no one else is dressed up!” Yes, she’d got the wrong day and was the only spectre in the spectrum of the school building. At first I thought we could just laugh it off, but I soon realised the embarassment for her was too great. She was most definitely not laughing! So to prevent a full-blown fit, I had to borrow a uniform from the office and wash her make up off, but she still had to endure her pink tights and witch shoes all day, and various queries from her friends. When I laughingly suggested she dress as a ghost the next morning, I was met with a teary eye at the mere thought of it. Strange – from about 13 onwards all we want to do is stand out from the crowd, but until then, it is utterly excrutiating to be different. Poor thing…. she’s only just able to make a meek smile at the mention of it.
And it gets harder and more confusing still.

While she is the child I’ve loved the longest, she will always be my guinea pig and that can be a bit of a swine. On same said Monday, I got annoyed with her for not keeping in her pink witch hair on the way – what did it matter that it was itchy! I had spent money and time getting it so she was being so ungrateful! (I know, bad parenting moment…. my inner child won over my mature mother). Two days later, when it was Poppy’s turn to dress up (on the right day!), and Poppy took out her itchy hair, I merely smiled and said ‘OK love, no worries.’ What must poor Daisy think? She gets the trial run in the situation, while Poppy gets the practised, refined and more times than not, better responses.

While I do everything in my power to make her road as bright, as beautiful, as adventurous, as warm, as blanketed with love as I can, there will always be pebbles, and I suppose that is life – while we skip along happily, there is always the times we stub our toes. I just hope I can teach her that those are the times that should enable us skip on even higher.

About Grin & Tonic by Alana Kirk

Bouncing into middle age armed with courage, ambition and a pair of tweezers (chin hairs for anyone over the age of 45 reading this) I am a writer with a mission: to redefine this midway point in my life when the last thing I want to do is hang up my high heels and become invisible. This is the end of the beginning, not the beginning of the end. A single mum to 3 fabulous girls, an author, and a fundraising consultant, both ends of my candle are on fire. As I enter this new stage of my life, I want to explore what it means for 'mid-aged' women today, who were promised they could have it all, ended up doing it all, and just do not identify with the traditional image of middle age.
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3 Responses to It’s a hard life being six

  1. Oh another great post Alana. And whilst I did laugh at how brilliantly you told the story, I also cringed for poor little Daisy. Being the odd one out at school was always a fear of mine too. Like the dreams where you turn up with your PJ's still on or with no shoes! It's small and petty as an adult, but to a child, it is their everything.
    I must say a more beautiful witch I've never seen. What a sensational job you did of dressing her up and what a shame she couldn't get the most out of it as it was intended.
    I hope the path is a little smoother now and hope that she can enjoy dressing up when it IS her turn to do so.
    And I know what you mean about the 'practiced' child, I often feel that way about poor Angus. It could explain why so many eldest children I know carry the weight of the world on their shoulders. It's their lot xo


  2. a great post – can so relate to it! My 8 year old is my guinea pig and I know I am so much calmer and more tolerant with my 2 year old, and daily I remind myself of this…I love my 8 year old so much but for some reason I seem to expect so much of him – will try harder again tomorrow x


  3. cath c says:

    funny, i dropped off 3 yo toots at preschool on fri and she was the only one NOT costumed! i didn't handle it well in my 'i didn't the memo' moment to the teachers.

    it's hard not to feel that way re: the guinea pig kid. don't worry too much, and just let her know that that is what is happening. sometimes you get it right, sometimes you don't. i promise, at 16, my oldest is pretty cool about it.


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