nodding & smiling

ceci n'est pas un bébé lala


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Planes, Trains and Automobiles

Alex on the Metro X express bus from downtown Halifax to the airport - I love this service.

Alex on the Metro X express bus from downtown Halifax to the airport – I love this service.

When you miss someone, being there is so much more important than getting there. That said, the “how” does factor in cost and time, important when you’ve got a child away at university.

I drove Alex up to Dalhousie when she was first starting school because she had a lot of things to bring to Halifax. The 18-hour drive was beautiful and fun, and I was happy to see so much of Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. We did the drive over two days, which in hindsight was a tad ambitious. Next time, we’re going to space the driving out over three days each way.

We brought Alex back for Thanksgiving on a flight because she didn’t have a lot of time off, which we’ll do again at Christmas, because we don’t want her road-tripping in slippery conditions.

If you’re certain of your child’s days off (don’t assume – I learned the hard way), check the airlines in advance for good fares. I got excited to hear about Via’s ‘Crazy Tuesday’ sales, only to be left deflated when I learned it didn’t include all their destinations. Hopefully they’ll consider the money parents spend on travel with kids away for post-secondary, but until then, the train’s a no-go for us.

Alex invited me up to see a few of her ringette games next weekend, which also happens to coincide with my birthday and an airline seat sale. WIN! Can’t wait to hang out with her in beautiful Hali and watch her and her team play the game they love.

 

 

 

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Sporty

Hoping the secret to getting this one to enjoy sports is sticking with one. Wish me luck!

My daughters have been raised with the understanding that exercise is a necessary part of healthy living. It’s as important to our bodies as are fresh air, sleep and good nutrition.

My elder daughter did swimming from a young age, started soccer at age 4 (and never left), started ringette at age 9 (and never left), with a bit of volleyball thrown in. At 18, Alex plays ringette for the Dalhousie Tigers, and continues to play and work out regularly.

Katherine, my 10-year-old, has also swum from a young age, and has tried: ballet, soccer, gymnastics, rugby, ringette, volleyball and cheerleading… and never liked any of them. Worried she might just not like being active, our deal had always been: she picked the activity, and I made sure she stuck it out till the end. Her latest sport is basketball, which she “kinda, sorta” likes.

This summer, her swimming instructor asked whether Katherine was normally uncomfortable trying new things, because she seemed reluctant to “put herself out there”. Quickly, I recalled childhood memories of Katherine being especially averse to embarrassment, notably when she was learning to read and would refuse to sound out the letters. She only wanted to read the word out loud once she was certain she got it right in her head.

My “a-ha!” moment: it wasn’t that Katherine didn’t enjoy being active, it was that she didn’t want to be embarrassed for not doing as well as the others (made more obvious being the “new kid” all the time!)

So, our new approach will be for her stick with a sport until she’s mastered a few skills, which will hopefully boost her confidence. I’ve decided she’ll keep with volleyball, and she’s decided she’ll keep with basketball.

And time will tell, I guess. In the meantime, my reluctantly-athletic kid gets sweaty 3 times a week 🙂

 


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Her First Visit Home

Little sister's idea: make Big sister's homecoming a really big deal. Big sister thanks little sister by a Starbucks coffee date, just the two of them.

Little sister’s idea: make big sister’s homecoming a really big deal. Big sister thanks little sister by a Starbucks coffee date, just the two of them.

Six weeks after drop-off and I’ve made it – Alex’s first visit home.

After she enjoyed an uneventful flight with lots of learnings: online check-in, bus to airport, security, finding your gate, landing, figuring out where to meet your mom who’s driving around the Arrivals area (hint: don’t wait for her at Departures – lesson learned!), my university student got into my car and I could breathe again. Both my babies were with me.

Although we texted often while she was gone, we never Skyped nor phoned. As such, her sister and I thought Alex’s voice sounded different: more mature, more worldly-adultish.

But, once we got home, I recognized her immediately: happy, preoccupied, already making plans, and hungry. I fed her leftover cheese tortellini in rosé sauce at 9pm and she ran off to meet friends, returning around midnight. She crawled into my bed to catch up, just like she always had.

We’re still in the throes of a super-busy Thanksgiving weekend… my sister is moving, my pregnant cousin and family are travelling in from Ottawa and Montreal for her baby shower, and Alex is finding time to spend with all the people she loves: Mom, stepdad and sister, Dad & family, grandmothers, aunts, uncles, cousins and friends.

Alex has showered us with gifts and love and time and soon it will all be over.

Until Christmas 🙂


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The Time My Daughter Forged My Signature

At my younger daughter’s school they have a process when kids get sent to the Principal’s office for breaking the rules or acting disrespectfully. They have to think about their actions, and write about what happened and what they should have done instead. Then they discuss it with the Principal.

When Katherine was in grade 2, this is what happened with Katherine and a boy at recess one day:

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Katherine talked it over with the Principal, who asked her to bring the “Think Sheet” home to discuss with her parent, and have a parent sign it:

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Katherine chose instead to forge my signature. At the tender age of 7.

Turn down for what? 🙂

 


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(Empty) Nesting – Part 2

What? She needs things for her room!

What? She needs things for her room!

If you recall my first nesting post and the amount of stuff I bought to quell my growing anxiety about my daughter leaving, this post will not come as a shock to you.

Since I dropped her off, I’ve thought of many things she needs. Lightbulbs, a boot tray, a door stop, handsoap, baskets for her kitchen supplies, etc. etc. etc. You name it, I’ve thought of it.

HOWEVER.

Tonight my daughter texted me…

DD: “Hahaha so embarrassing!”

Me: “What is?”

DD: “Getting packages”

Me: “Huh?”

DD: “Haha I just picked up two packages, and the guy at the front desk was like, ‘Oh you’re Alex! I’ve always wanted to meet you. You get so many things.”

Me: “OMG. So sorry. Just tell him your mom has trouble coping with you gone and this is how she deals!”

DD: “I did, and he said, ‘Well your mom must miss you a lot. You’re the talk of the front desk!’ LOL”

Yeah so that’s how my week is going.

<facepalm>

How’s yours?


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Leaving Tweens Home Alone

The Glamourous Life. Kate's mischievous beginnings

The Glamourous Life. Kate’s mischievous beginnings

My younger daughter Katherine is 10 years old. For some kids, that’s old enough to stay home alone. For Katherine, I wasn’t quite sure.

She is after all the same child who convinced a fellow-preschooler to lay down on the couch frame while she put the couch cushion over his face AND SAT ON IT. Who decorated her walls with greasy hand-cream. She’s also the same child who, as a toddler, filled every floor register with clothes, toys, money. The same child who made fist-sized paper mache spitballs and tossed them up onto the bathroom ceiling to harden. Who wrote on every surface of my house. Who stuck gum to the wall. I can go on, and on…

Wanting to allow her some independence as she enters her tween years, when she was 9 years old I sent Katherine on a full-day course put on by The Babysitter’s Course that taught “home alone and first aid” fundamentals. What to do if you’re home alone and get hungry, hurt, if the phone rings, if there’s a knock at the door, etc. After the day-long course, Katherine had earned her certificate.

I began to ask her hypothetical “what-if” questions, to ensure she had understood the risks and knew what to do. I began to let her cook simple things on her own… fried eggs, soup.  I began letting her walk to school, the park, her friend’s house by herself.

I was still nervous, but I knew that with the increase in responsibilities and the faith I was showing in her, Katherine was going to develop self-confidence, which is so important as she heads into the teen years. So I took the leap and let her stay home alone – started out small, just when I would go get the mail or head out to pick her sister up from the arena, and then increased to full shopping trips or lunches out.

The house did not burn down and my child did well. Helicopter Mom did a happy dance!


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Maturity

A snippet of her day.

One of the many things that makes my independent girl so special: she appreciates that her mom is not so independent, so takes time to send me snippets of her day, which I need right now, because she’s three provinces away and I miss her. She’s mature enough to recognize my needs and subtly satisfy them without pomp and circumstance.