I’d been dreading yesterday for a little while, I was going out in London on Saturday night, I had a feeling it would be a late one, but I’d still have to be up early to collect G from her Mum’s at 9am. Then G was to have her ‘distance week’ at Swimming, she’s been struggling with her swimming this term, two lengths in one go had seemed to be a struggle. Let alone the 20 she’d need to do to get her 400m badge, I knew she’d fail.

The day started off pretty badly.. I sprinted to the platform at Liverpool Street at 00.18 – The last train to Chelmsford was pulling out, I was royally fooked.

Or so I thought.

A few platforms down there was the 00.20 to Shenfield ready to depart, Shenfield is about 10 miles away from Chelmsford, it was as close as I was going to get by train. I ran and jumped on, looking at the board it wa due to stop at every station on the way, it would be a slow journey, perhaps 45 mins. I was mildly pleased that I wouldn’t be sleeping in Liverpool Street, and I would be home, but it would be at stupid o’clock. The train trundled to its destination, slowly emptying at each stop, we hit Shenfield just after 1am. I hoped there might be someone heading to Chelmsford to share a cab with, the taxi rank was pretty quiet, I asked a few people, no joy. I had to take the £30+ charge on myself.

I got home around 1.35am ish, and slunk in to bed, knowing it was only a few hours till I was up again. I closed my eyes, and then opened them. It was 8am. Time to get up.

I’d discussed with Loz that it was distance week, and that perhaps we should just skip it, G is mortified when she doesn’t get her badge, and I knew she just wouldn’t do it, I wanted to try and save her from that upset. After discussing it, we decided it was better to let her try and probably fail, rather than not at all. We also made sure that this would be the weekend that she finally learned to ride her bike, she’s 10 in a few days and she still hadn’t cracked it. We’d had several failed attempts before and it usually ended up with her crying and screaming because she couldn’t, and me getting cross and throwing her bike back in the shed for another day.

I picked G up from her Mum’s and reminded her it was distance week, she’d totally forgotten and looked a bit concerned, I was trying to find the right words to encourage her, I didn’t want to say ‘It’s okay to fail’. The best I could muster was..

‘Just try your hardest, keep going, don’t stop constantly to wipe your goggles or look around, and DON’T look up at me to see what I’m doing, just keep focused and see what happens’

The lesson started, I felt sick, thankfully as all her class were doing the same badge they all swam together, setting off a few seconds apart, I held my breath and watched her go. Immediately, there was one ‘casualty’ in her group, a little boy had done one length and burst into tears. I was expecting G to stop and see what was going on, but no, she flipped to her back and did length two, before long she was up to length six, amazingly she hadn’t looked up at me, or stopped, she was concentrating. She was looking a little tired, and her strokes were occasionally a bit sloppy, but she seemed to start ‘correcting’ herself and powering up and down the lane, this was looking promising. I then lost count. She’d definitely done at least ten by now, she was showing no signs of stopping. I was immensely proud, she was trying so hard, I watched her going up and down, if anything her pace was increasing! I messaged Loz to let her know that she was doing well, and putting in the effort, I half wanted G to be looking up at me so she could see me jigging about, she glanced up, I gave her a thumbs up, she didn’t clock me at all, she was concentrating.

I looked up from my phone to see G swimming towards her teacher. ‘Come on! You’ve just got two more to do.’ she cheered at G.

What?! Two more!

I messaged Loz ‘She’s two more to go!’

G flew back down the pool..

‘One more to go!’ I typed, seemingly seconds after sending my last message.

‘What? Till she’s got her badge?!’ Loz quickly replied.

I looked up, G was getting out, and staring up at me. I smiled and did a dance on the spot.

‘HAVE YOU DONE IT?!’ I hollered down to her.

G nodded with a smile.

‘How much have you done?’ I just couldn’t believe that she’d done 400 metres, she wasn’t even looking tired.

G looked at her hands, and put up four finger, one for each 100 metres.

It took an immense of effort not to shout..


I didn’t, I felt some tears in my eyes and I choked a ‘Well Done!’ and with that she was gone into the changing room. I was gobsmacked, she’d done it, she’d made it look easy too, I think she had another few lengths in her, and to think I was considering stopping her from going! I was an idiot. We had lots of hugs and cuddles as we walked to the car, and we came home to Loz flying out of the door with a hastily made ‘Congratulations’ banner. She looked incredibly proud of herself, and rightly so!

I’d toyed with the idea of not doing the bike riding thing after her herculean effort at swimming, she’d be tired, and probably grumpy and then be all cross when she couldn’t do it, but I continued as planned. The tyres were flat, and the saddle and handlebars needed adjusting. I reality, the bike was too small, she’s grown a lot in the past year, we extended the bike to its limits so she could at least try. Once the seat was up she climbed on and tried it out for size – it was just about okay. She wheeled it to the end of the front path, I stood in the front door and said, ‘Right, try to come to me’.

I blinked and there was a G flying towards me, she crashed into the front step. She’d cycled the whole way.

‘Brilliant! This time try your brakes to make you stop!’

She did.. She then cycled around the side of the house, and in the back, she was cycling. No falling off, no crying or getting cross, she was doing it. The bike was too small, it wasn’t helping her at all, but she seemed to be doing okay. We took a trip to some local bike shops to see what sort of size she’d be after, and after some discussion she decided that she’d like to spend her birthday money on a bike that she spotted in Halfords. She spent the best part of 20 mins actually riding the display model of her new bike around Halfords while we were trying to establish if they had any in stock, and how long it would take. Unfortunately it wasn’t in stock so she wouldn’t have the bike today, just before she had to put the bike back she actually came off it, she grazed her knee, but wasn’t put off.

The rest of the afternoon she’s been playing with Dan’s lovely children in our back yard, tearing up and down the garden and driveway at steadily increasing speeds, once coming off but quickly jumping away from the frame and shouting ‘I’M ALIVE!’ manically. She’s a nutter!

So, two milestones in one day, and I didn’t think she’d do either.

Never underestimate your child, EVER!

3 thoughts on “Never underestimate your child, EVER!

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