nodding & smiling

ceci n'est pas un bébé lala


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Playing University Sports

Look at this kid! Rocky Mountains for the win!

Look at this kid! Rocky Mountains for the win!

Alex wasn’t sure she wanted to try out for a school team this year. Although sporty, doing well at school takes hard work, and Alex is mature enough to recognize that. Without knowing exactly what kind of toll being a full-time university student would take on her time, she was reluctant to add another schedule commitment.

That said, Alex loves sports. She knew that if she didn’t have sport as an outlet, a means to relieve stress and have fun, she wasn’t likely going to be very successful. So, Alex packed up her massive ringette bag and moved it across the country with her.

When she tried out for the Dalhousie ringette team, she knew right away that she was “home” and among her “people”. She made the team, one of four rookies, and now hits the ice with a smile several times a week, often at ungodly hours of the morning.

Her season culminated at the University Challenge Cup, which took place in Calgary. The team had fun and tried their best, but didn’t place. The coaches still thought they deserved a treat though, and rented a bus to drive the girls out to see the Rockies, figuring “you can’t go to Alberta and not take the trip to Lake Louise!” – those are some amazing coaches right there (Phil, Allan, I am so happy Alex has you looking out for her this year!). The team will continue to practice and scrimmage until the school year ends.

Anyway, all this to say that school teams, no matter what level you play, offer such benefits to kids. Friends, fitness, discipline, teamwork, etc. etc. – the lessons learned from sports can go on and on.

 

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Straight As

My amazing 10-year-old who doesn't achieve straight-As

My amazing 10-year-old who doesn’t achieve straight-As

I’ve never put a lot of stock into report cards.

Don’t get me wrong – I value school and all that it exposes my kids to. I want them to do their best and to feel successful. But I don’t think a report card tells the full story, in the same way that my resumé or annual review wouldn’t sum me up as a working professional.

My 10-year-old brought her progress report home last week, and it confirmed that she was progressing along as she should be. Great! I’m happy with that. If it had highlighted an area or two in which we could focus to help her catch up with the class, I’d have been just as happy. I didn’t worry that there were no notes indicating that she was ahead of the class. I don’t push her to achieve As. I simply want her to put forth her best effort.

With a daughter already in university, I now have the benefit of hindsight. I’m no longer iffy about my position on report cards. I firmly stand my ground, loud and proud: earning straight-As on a report card is not the be-all-end-all it’s made out to be. Marks are only one piece of the pie.

Many of the extra-curriculars and hobbies that helped Alex choose her university program of study (Commerce) had nothing at all to do with academics.

If I’d insisted on straight-As, Alex might not have had the time to try her hand at photography and cooking and other pursuits that eventually helped narrow down her interests to what would make her happy, and think about what career she might excel at.

Straight-As and no other experience in sports, volunteering, working, leadership, camps, music, Junior Achievement, art and social settings might not have allowed Alex to be the well-rounded student that attracted Dalhousie to her.

So when Katherine’s teacher told me at our meeting that Katherine was progressing well, I was pleased.

But when she told me Katherine is a good friend in the classroom, volunteers at the kiss-and-ride, helps with the announcements, is in the ukelele club and spends extra time at recess and during lessons to make sure the differently-abled kids in the classroom feel included and to help them keep up, I was over the moon. These are the things that make my child a “good student” in my eyes. An active citizen in her little society at school, and a well-rounded kid. For these things – all of them, “okay” grades included – I am thankful.


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Visiting Her Town – Part 1

My favourite things

My favourite things

A few weeks back, Alex texted to invite me to visit her during Dal’s November long weekend. She would have two days off school, and would be playing two ringette games. Right away, I found awesome deals on both room and flight, and replied, “Absolutely, I’d love to!” that same night.

Because Alex’s burgeoning independence has manifested in her staking her ground when I attempt to swoop in and solve, plan, or take things over, I was cautious to not try to schedule my time in “her” new town. Making this easy was the fact that I’d be arriving on my birthday – she would plan the weekend.

When I arrived, Alex presented me with a birthday gift (Mason jar filled with my favourite things in it). Then she took me to her favourite restaurant, and pulled out her debit card and treated.

The next day, I got to watch the Dalhousie Tigers play two ringette games and Alex, her friend Megan, Megan’s mom and I took a late-night walking trip around the waterfront area, finishing the night with 1am pizza and drinks. Loving this trip!


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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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My Tall Girl

My tall girl in nursery school and again in grade 3

My tall girl in nursery school and again in grade 3

My younger daughter likes to try different things, and so she’s enrolled in a number of different camps and activities throughout the summer.

The one I’m most excited for her to do is volleyball. My younger daughter is very tall and is self-conscious about it. Like me at her age, she wishes she were of “average” height. Something she will very likely never be.

23.5″ at birth, she is now 5’2″ in grade 4 and wears ladies’ sizes in both clothes and shoes. She got her height from females on both sides of the family – my sister, cousins and I are all tall (averaging 5’9″) and my husband’s sister is 6′ tall.

I know my lovely girl will continue to tower over her peers, and my only hope for her with respect to it is that she will soon feel proud and confident about her height and its beauty. Crossing my fingers that introducing sports that celebrate height (volleyball, basketball) will help accelerate her journey towards positive body image.