Our house is in turmoil this week, for a change. It is one of the most hectic homes at the best of times – that’s what comes of having so many children!
But in particular it has been a hive of activity recently. This is due to the fact our eldest daughter is about to take part in a number of high-pressure activities.
First of all she is going to be performing a piano solo for the first time in her life at a special concert this weekend. In front of more than 100 people she will have to perform a number of short, key pieces.
This is despite the fact she only began piano lessons just a few short weeks ago at the start of September.
Coupled with this at the same concert, which is being hosted by her music teacher, she will also be playing a raft of tunes as part of a recorder ensemble.
But being seven she is taking the whole process in her stride and is actually very excited about the prospect. She’s been practising religiously for the past few weeks – squeaking her way through a number of well known Christmas carols.
She has spent some time plunking out a few well known tunes at the piano – one handed, as that is all she can achieve at the moment.
She has even roped me in to perform alongside her. So I have been rustily picking out the accompanying tune on my descant recorder, which must be more than 30 years old.
I am really quite amazed just how much I remember.
She has persuaded me to shuffle up next to her at the piano and play a couple of duets with her. I think she was hoping that I would actually perform these with her on the day but I have managed to duck out of that – leaving that joy to her piano teacher.
However, not content with the fact she is having to perform in this concert, she is also about to sit her very first exam next week.
She is now about to take her primary ballet exam. For her this is nothing to fear – she is so laid back about it all she is almost horizontal.
Me, on the other hand? Well I am nothing short of a nervous wreck! I wake up in the middle of the night in cold sweats worrying: “what if she fails?” and “there must be a failure rate for these things – oh my goodness, what if she is the one child who the examiners fail?”
Then I fear if she fails that this will have a huge impact on the rest of her life – that she will be in therapy for years following this major let down in her early childhood and it will be all my fault.
I am really trying not to put the pressure on her, but I have to say I really do hope that she passes, for her sake as much as mine.
But I am conscious if I was pushing her or any of the children down a road they were clearly uncomfortable with, that I would stop. Having a happy child is the most important thing, after all. If that’s a happy child with good achievements as well, all the better, I say.
For advice on how to best help your children, Sheffield City Council has a number of initiatives. For more information visit: www.sheffield.gov.uk/parentsassembly; www.sheffield0to19.org.uk/parentsandcarers