When my daughter was six she started a blog.
She had a blogging mum, she knew that I enjoyed writing about my bizarre crush on the comedian Richard Herring and the symbolism of the soft toys in local shops. I was keen to encourage her, so soon she had an account in her own name at Blogger.com.
In the same way that I’d been quietly proud that she was an early walker, I was happy to note this precocious interest in expressing herself. I decided this was even better than her walking at ten months. Children who walked at ten months didn’t go on to get brilliant at walking, or make a career as the best walkers in the world. Race walking might be a fine sport, but children who took their first steps early didn’t grow-up to represent Team GB by entering walk-really-fast races at the Olympic Games.
Writing was different. I harboured dreams that she had a creative soul. Mozart started composing at the age of five. Obviously that was music, and I didn’t actually know any great writers who had started a blog at the age of six… But I was optimistic that she would benefit from transcribing her thoughts to the world. I was her willing secretary, I waited eagerly to take down her first words. I would post these online, they would fascinate all with an insight into the mind of a child.
“I go to Fircroft School, and I hate school.” She told me. I typed her words into a blog post. “It’s rubbish!” she continued.
I nodded encouragingly, I kept typing, hoping the words would veer in another direction, perhaps turning to poetry. She continued, “I have 5 friends, and my best friend is Alfie.” No poetry yet then.
“Alfie wants to marry Gozian, and I don’t know who I want to marry.” I looked at her expectantly, at least she had a hook. I didn’t even know who she wanted to marry. “I might marry George,” she said. And then she ran off to play. So that was it.
It didn’t matter. We were writing about her world and enjoyed it, we made pictures for her blog, ‘Cat Cool’ we played with it for a little while. She lost interest after a few posts, just like most bloggers do. It ended with this sorry tale of six year old woe…
“I am not Alfie and Matthew’s friend any more. They are mean to me, but Matthew’s little brother is nice. Matthew bited his brother on the cheek, and Alfie was being mean to me at the park.” At least we managed a positive ending. “I am very strong. And don’t forget to look out for the baddies!”
Now my four year old asks me to write his diary. It’s not exactly a diary, more a clever bedtime prevarication technique. When he’s tucked up in bed he refuses to go to sleep until I’ve written notes on his day. So I stand in the doorway, pen in hand, knowing I must transcribe the words faithfully and fast. That way I get to leg it downstairs to enjoy my evening off.
So I write every word he says. Today it’s, “I don’t like cheese, tomatoes or pickle.” He thinks some more. “I do like double milkshakes.”
“Is that it?” I ask patiently, his humble servant, ever eager to please.
He thinks a while. “I don’t like tomato juice.” He adds, and then he grabs his teddy and lies down.
I write it all. As far as I know he’s never tried tomato juice, but entering into a debate at bedtime is not a good idea.
So it’s, “night night” lights out, and I scarper downstairs for my cup of tea and TV.
I reach for my laptop. I load WordPress, I update my blog… Are my words any more profound than my childrens? I don’t think so.
It doesn’t matter, I write blogs just for fun. I’m glad my children enjoy playing at writing sometimes too.
I read my daughter’s blog and remember how she was.
“I can turn into Tinkerbell. I can turn into Tails. I can turn into Bleyblade Girl. I can turn into Pikachu.”
To me those words, that memory, are better than poetry. That’s my girl.