Archive | October, 2011
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Two Wheelin’

25 Oct

Two months ago, my husband took off my daughter’s training wheels and they made a few attempts at her trying to learn to ride on two wheels. It didn’t go well, and neither of them was interested in trying again for quite a while. I also assumed that with my bad knee, I wasn’t the best person to help her, as I couldn’t run along beside her very well.

Two weeks ago, I was hanging out with a friend who has a daughter the same age, and she let me in on a magical training technique.

“Put her on a steep driveway, have her put her feet out to the side, and tell her to wiggle her bottom to balance the bike.” Then, you just have her ride towards you and you catch her.

Well, this was something even a Gimpy Momma could do! I could catch her! We started on a Saturday, and by Sunday, she was riding on her own.

I also used some positive visualization techniques I learned at a seminar a few years ago. The speaker had said that your brain will do what you concentrate on, so concentrate on what you want to do, NOT what you don’t want to do.

I used this with my daughter, looking her in the eyes, and saying, “you can do this. You’re a biker.”

I’d then have her repeat to me what she was going to concentrate on, “pedal, pedal, pedal, then push back to brake and put my feet down.”

It worked! It worked so well! It was exhilerating being the one to teacher her. It was as exciting as her first steps! Being a parent is truly a wonderful experience. I came back to work that Monday thinking that teaching her to ride her bike felt just as much of an accomplishment as my graduate degree or getting a promotion at work.

Two Wheelin'

Riding without training wheels!

Volunteering at School — An Eye Opening Experience

13 Oct

Today I volunteered at my daughter’s new elementary school in her kindergarten class. She was so excited to have me in her class. She was clamoring to hug me, hold my hand, etc., and I couldn’t help but think that someday in the not too distant future, she would be too embarrassed to enjoy my presence at her school.

When I showed up, the kids were working on projects in small groups. The teacher said I could help Little Miss’ group, so I sat down with her and four other children. It didn’t take me long to feel the tension coming from a girl that my daughter talks about daily (very admiring, I must add). We’ll call her Susie.

“Little Miss won’t do as she is told,” Susie complained. She then said that they were supposed to have one child be the teacher and the other should be the student. But I noticed that the boys were not approaching the task that way. They were working together just fine as peers.

There was several minutes of back and forth, where Susie kept trying to direct my daughter, and my daughter kept doing her own thing. And then, my daughter said very matter of factly, “you are not the boss of me.”

It wasn’t confrontational. It was strong. It was empowered. My heart swelled with pride.

Susie melted into tears. I’m sure it looked to the teacher like I made the girl cry. I did my best not to crack a smile, but to try to redirect Susie, but she was ANGRY. She kept focusing on how my daughter was “being mean to her”. Susie finally got pulled aside by the teacher and had to move her clip down (how the kids are rated on their behavior in class each day). Moving your clip down means you get a note from the teacher to send home to your parent.

Susie was even angrier after this, saying my daughter got her in trouble.

This is the girl my daughter has raved about daily, saying she plays with her all the time. I’m thinking Susie is trouble, but am not sure I can or should intervene.

The rest of the volunteering went well, and I even got to escort the class to lunch (ironically during National School Lunch week). After watching Jamie Oliver for two seasons, I was curious to see the situtation of our school’s lunch. It wasn’t horrible, but I would clasify it as lacking. Some of the covered stuff that just get heated up looked like quite a mystery to me, and the lettuce was all iceburg.

But what I found really appalling was looking at what all of the kids had in their packed lunch. SO much processed food. Little Debbies, chips, white bread, Capri Suns… I’m starting to think I am much more anal about healthy food than your normal parent.

But thankfully, my daughter still likes the healthy food I pack for her, although she leaps at the opportunity for junk food when she is at someone else’s house.

Oh, well. I’ll do my best and hope she’ll end up making wise choices.

Happy Anniversary To Me

3 Oct

Yesterday was my 10 year anniversary of moving to Nevada. That means I can now call myself a true local, right?

I mentioned this factoid to JB yesterday, and he laughed, saying I have more random anniversaries in my head.

But this one is important to me. It was a huge turning point in my life. If I hadn’t made the decision, I wouldn’t have met my husband, and I wouldn’t have my two wonderful kiddos.

I flew to Reno first class, with my cat Murray in a cat carrier under the seat. I arrived when it was dark, so the next morning, I ventured out to the grocery store, and I remember standing in the parking lot of Wal Mart, turning in circles, thinking I am SURROUNDED by mountains! After four years of living in the midwest, I longed to be near the mountains again.

10 years later, I still absolutely love Reno. I love the small town feel of the community, I love the weather, I love the mountains, I love being by Lake Tahoe and all kinds of ski resorts… This place is amazing. The funny thing is that often people that don’t live in Reno assume it’s just a cheesy little gaming town in the ugly brown desert. To me, it is an unknown gem, and I am happy to keep it that way.

So Happy Anniversary to Me and Reno. I love this place.