At the weekend we tried practicing some words the teacher had highlighted by writing the same word onto two pieces of paper and then matching the pairs up. At least that was my admittedly rather simple idea. But by the time I'd finished sorting out two year old's breakfast demands, five year old had drawn matching pictures to go with the words, coloured them in and sorted them into a much more sophisticated game of snap. These little things make me realise that my haphazard 'craft' sessions and unsophisticated painting style may not be sufficient to satisfy my children's developing standards for much longer. It also makes me realise more than ever how quickly they grow up and away from us.
This afternoon the elder child went to a friend's for tea after school. This is a fairly normal occurrence, but it wasn't until school pick-up time had been and gone that I really started to think about all this new socialising. There was my baby going off to a home that I have never set foot in, without any guidance or support (or interference) from me whatsoever. We modern-day parents are always being accused - amongst other things - of wrapping our kids up in cotton wool, but on this occasion I felt almost reckless. I had a home phone number and a first name, but other than that I only had a general sense that the mum seemed friendly and genuine. Is it ok to let your child go somewhere you have never been, and what things should make me think twice about allowing her to go to a stranger's house?
Of course she came back safe and sound - and reassuringly grumpy for the pre-teen five year old that she sometimes is. In fact during the handover I even seem to have offered to look after the friend in question while her mum is at work all day next Monday, so it's entirely possible that she's now sitting at home pondering the exact same questions as I.