Proper Princess

May 1 2011

The thing that I have been most concerned about since we landed on the tarmac of Gatwick Airport two weeks ago was Camille starting pre-school and how she would manage. On Wednesday of this week, the day finally came around for her to strap on her rucksack and go to the pre-school that Lucia had attended just a year ago.


We’d spoken about going to school with Camille numerous times over recent weeks and, although she always seemed quite positive about it, I was concerned that she wouldn’t settle in to a group that had been together for pretty much an entire school year. It’s funny, whenever we mentioned going to school, Camille would say that she was going back to the nursery that she used to go to when she was diagnosed. Just the mention of that nursery brings back one particular memory of Hayley and me going to pick her up before our trip to Disneyland Paris. Camille had been asleep a majority of the day, something really unusual for her; in hindsight, it was the first real indication of the hydrocephalus that in the end would have killed her if Addenbrooke’s hadn’t of acted immediately.


So Wednesday morning arrived. We were all up early to ensure that we had plenty of time to ready the girls for their respective schools. Lucia put on her red school uniform for the first time in a couple of months and Camille put on some smart clothes for her first day. I had to be in Luton for a meeting, so Hayley had to take the girls by herself, Camille with her Dora the Explorer “Backpack” strapped to her back as she walked to the car. As I was driving through East Anglia I was contemplating how Camille would do in the company of other boys and girls of her own age. Camille has missed so much, especially interacting with other children, meaning that she struggles in most settings like this. The truth be known, I was terrified for her. As I arrived in Luton I tried to call Hayley to see how it had gone; Hayley had been due to stay with her for an hour and then leave her to it, but at this time there was no answer. She did call me back a little while later and it seems that everything had gone as well as could be expected; Camille had been quite happy there and been comfortable with Hayley leaving; she hadn’t really played too much with the other children, finding the comfort of one of the teachers a safer place to be. We’d definitely take that on day one; our little girl is now a school girl.


The girls only had a couple of days at school this week due to some event happening in London on Friday, but even just those two days enabled Lucia to get right back in the swing of things and Camille to make some large leaps towards a normal life.


Of course it would be rude to go the week without mentioning the royal wedding. The news coverage and build up had caused Lucia to reach fever pitch by the very thought of a princess getting married. All she would need is a talking frog or a beast in a tower and she would be beside her herself. So, the plan was to watch the wedding with the girls to enable them to experience the little piece of history. The girls were up early once again and were pleased to see the playroom had been decorated with Union Jack (I know it’s Union Flag, but I don’t care) bunting, and a Union Jack flag each had been prepared in readiness for some vigorous waving. Lucia sat down and began to take in the BBC’s coverage, digesting information on the dress, the procedural elements of the service and whatever else they could talk about to fill the three hours before the service. I decided that this would be a good time to begin stripping the wallpaper on our feature wall so that we could redecorate over the bank holiday weekend.


The night before we had agreed to sell our old car to a rather friendly car dealer called Don, and just as Kate Middleton left her hotel en route to Westminster Abbey, Don was at the door ready to sort out paperwork and hand over the keys. I wasn’t too disappointed to miss some of the wedding, the build-up had sucked every ounce of enthusiasm out of my body, but there was no chance that Hayley was going to lift her bum off that sofa; Don was left with me. I would say, I may have been more disappointed if I had been given previous knowledge of Pippa Middleton; better re-laminate the list.


Lucia’s enthusiasm waned also; it wasn’t like a Disney film at all. Where was the crystal slipper, why can’t they just say “I Will” and then get out of Dodge? Yes, the hours of choral song and readings from the Bible had left our five year old with her vision of a princess wedding on the ropes. At this time, through the power of telepathy, Lucia recruited Camille to cause as much noise and distraction from the wedding that Hayley and I were unable to rejoice in the wonderment that was Wills and Kate’s special day. In all honesty, it was a great advert for the country and it made me proud to be British. I’m glad it went well, I’m glad it wasn’t spoiled by some silly people.


So after the wedding, all that was left was the decorating. I don’t want to talk about it too much, but needless to say, if I see another roll of wallpaper again, I am going to beat someone with it; the check-out boy/girl for selling me the overpriced paper, Hayley (I wouldn’t dare, she grab it in her teeth and turn it back on me with even more ferocity) for wanting a nicer house, or I could just beat myself for not earning enough money to pay for someone to do it for me. I’ve been at it all day today and I am shattered. Who needs the gym?


Finally, there was something I had meant to mention last week. Lucia has been nominated for a Well Child award as the Most Caring Child for the way she is with Camille. This was such a pleasing letter to receive as Lucia has also been through so much over the last two years and probably sacrificed a lot. The lovely Mrs Walker from Lucia's school nominated her and we understand that the more nominations she gets the better chance she has of winning ;) Hayley always says that Lucia is Camille’s safety net; she is the one who Camille is the most comfortable with, the one person who does not treat her any differently and the one who forms half of my most special double act. Lucia is a very robust little girl, which she has had to be, but getting some recognition for being so special would be the least she deserves. I had a look on their website and the award ceremony is a big deal; I hope Lucia does get selected; she would be the princess for the night.