The three-wheeler Shrek scooter stands idle in the garage.
It’s missing a bit of paint and has some rust. The tyres are well worn.
It used to be a favourite. Went everywhere. Rain, hail or shine. To kindy, school, the park, the beach.
It originally belonged to her older brother - a present from nanna many moons ago.
However, he was never really interested. So the Sassy Princess took the scooter on and made it her own.
She’d mastered all sorts of tricks - most recently - the wheelie.
But her favourite was to crank up the speed on a downhill slope, jump on and ride that scooter like a skateboard (albeit one with handlebars). It certainly looked impressive.
Even though her riding attracted cranky dive-bombing magpies every Spring, she wouldn’t give the scooter up.
Apparently someone at school has laughed at her. Said the scooter is babyish.
A year ago had the same thing happened, she wouldn’t have cared less. In fact she would have told off her tormentor in no uncertain terms.
But this time, it hit a nerve.
So now she refuses to ride the scooter to school. She and I must walk while her brother rides his bicycle.
Suddenly she has reached an age (5 years!) where the opinions of her peers matter.
Now that she wears the school uniform, she seems to feel pressure to conform with the attitudes and standards set by the others who wear it.
Not that she’s lost any of the spirit for which she is known. She just doesn’t want to be made fun of.
I understand that. I remember the realization when something you loved was no longer deemed cool.
The peer pressure to conform peaks in your teens and extends through your 20s, but then gradually starts to subside… alas well after youth has left the building.
It’s a bit sad really…but that’s growing up for you.
Not only does it mean fitting in, it means moving on and leaving things behind.
There have been plenty of things the kids have outgrown over the years. Most of them bagged and passed on to friends or charity.
But when the item is a much adored part of daily life, it becomes very difficult to say goodbye.
Junior SNAG is in the final throes of saying farewell to a soft toy dog named Finnie.
For many years, Junior SNAG couldn’t… wouldn’t… sleep without him.
Finnie’s bedraggled appearance is testament to that. His brown fur is matted. His stuffing has been squeezed into legs while his middle is limp - the result of a lot of cuddles.
That dog saw the world with us.
We took on Paris, the Greek Islands, Malaysia, Portugal, Spain, Fiji, New Zealand and plenty of other destinations with Finnie strapped to the side of our backpacks.
Our recent trip to Tasmania was the first time I saw Junior SNAG hesitate rather than automatically stuff Finnie in the bag. (Finnie did eventually make the trip – after an eleventh hour change of heart).
But lately he’s been spending his nights in a crumpled heap in the corner.
I know it sounds ridiculous because Finnie is an inanimate object, but I feel kind of sorry for him.
I remember the many long nights Finnie stayed up with me when a certain baby boy refused to sleep: the times he soothed nerves after nightmares: scared away monsters: provided comfort during illness: or did silly dances for the sole sake of hearing a toddler chuckle.
Yep Finnie was an integral part of the family.
So… sometimes, when Junior SNAG is sleeping, I pop Finnie back into bed with him.
For old time’s sake…
because Finnie would like that…
…and so does this wistful mum.Follow Sally on Twitter @SallyEeles
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