Thursday, October 30, 2014

Selifes at Six

My girls and I took a little day trip last weekend.  We had big plans to go see the "bubbly mud" at Lassen Volcanic National Park, but a early winter storm closed the road through the park.  Undeterred, we rerouted our plans and headed west to Trinity County.

We had a great day touring the Joss House, picnicking at One Maple Winery, visiting the Weaverville history museum and hiking at Whiskeytown.  Our day ended with dinner at Red Lobster where my six year old considered her kid menu options and actually chose crab legs over chicken nuggets.  I'm not sure what inspired her to try something new....must have been the spirit of adventure in our day.

Our adventures were interspersed with long(ish) car rides to get from here to there.  As typically happens when we venture beyond the city limits, my daughter wanted an electronic device to keep her entertained.  I handed over my iPhone for approximately 20 minutes, during which she diligently practiced an important life skill....The Selfie.

Here is my tongue.

The toothless smile
Here is the bottom view of my nose.
Can't...quite...touch the nose.
Yes.  There it is.  Tongue is still there.
Just pretending.  I swear. 
How do those eyebrow freaks do that trick?

Are we there yet?
Yep.  Still there. 

Extreme close up.

Pucker face.  

Gosh, I hope my mom plasters this all over the Internet.

We had a good laugh when we went back to review the photos of our day.  I found the Selfies to be even more hilarious when compared to the photos that our 92-year old tour guide captured at the Joss House....

Oh wait.  That's just the feet.

OK.  Got the knees.  Getting closer.

Fuzzy.  (Followed by at least 8 more fuzzy)


Thankfully the tour guide's knowledge of Trinity county history far surpassed her iPhone photography skills.  Next time we'll leave the technology to the six year old expert. 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Finish Line

Insightful readers might notice a recurring theme on the blog these days.  (Or maybe it's hard to sense a theme since the posts are more infrequent!)  Increasingly it has become apparent to me that I'm in it up to my eyeballs.  "It" meaning life.  I'm in it.  It's good.  It's fun.  And it's crazy busy.  I won't bore you with the can read through the archives for that.  Suffice it to say that the time has come to prioritize, shift gears and, as our favorite movie theme song reminds us, "Let it Go." 

Last week I announced my resignation from the Board of Directors for our local chapter of Girls on the Run.  It wasn't something I let go lightly because I feel like GOTR is a part of me.  I actually decided almost a year ago that it was time to let something go.  But since I'm a planner and I like to make sure I think everything through, I gave myself a year to actually follow through on that.  And have I mentioned that I really love GOTR? 

My first season coaching was Fall, 2009 when my daughter (now a kindergartner) was about a year old.  I had been laid off from my job which serendipitously gave me the free afternoon time necessary to volunteer as a coach.  Idealistically I imagined myself carrying out my coaching duties while my daughter napped in the stroller.  In reality, she was always hungry as soon as our lesson started and we had to allow for 10 minutes of "padding" in our schedule for the girls to coo at the baby.  After a few weeks, I recruited the grandmas to provide childcare so I could spend more time coaching and less time worrying about the girls sneaking lollipops to my daughter. 

I enjoyed that first season, but as with any long-term commitment, the excitement began to fade as we approached the end of our 10 weeks together.  The happy, enthusiastic crowd of girls that started the season often became a mob of whiney walkers toward the end. The bright smiles good manners were occasionally replaced with eye rolling or heavy sighs when it was time to clean up.  You know how it goes.  The spark was still there, but the shiny, new-car magic had faded just a bit. 

And then came the 5k.

Each season ends with all the girls in the county coming together on a Saturday morning to run a 5k.  I wasn't quite sure what to expect.  We had some speedy girls on our team and we also had some lethargic ones that would run at a slow shuffle pace.  On a good day.  "It's Girls on the RUN!  Run!" we would remind them as they strolled around the track during practice.  But really it was more about building character than developing elite athletes.  So we praised the victories for all of the girls, no matter how that win was defined.  For some, victory meant running 10 laps in 15 minutes.  For others it meant getting in 5 laps but doing it without whining. 

Anyway, back to the 5k.

When the 5k day came around I was honestly a little tired and ready to take a break from this whole coaching gig. I was designated as the course runner while the other coach waited at the finish to give the girls their medals.  Our team started as a group, but the serious runners quickly broke away and left us in the dust.  As I ran and walked and talked with my girls, I was slowly re-awakened to the power of GOTR.  I watched my mediocre runners push their limits and perform as serious contenders.  I listened to them cheer on other girls, even complete strangers from other schools.  Amazingly, the lessons that we taught for the past ten weeks CAME TO LIFE on that running path.  Even the stuff we thought they slept through.

As any runner will tell you, the best part of a run is coming across the finish line.  At my first GOTR 5k, I got to do that over and over again.  After I cheered one girl on to the finish, I would turn around, run back along the course until I found another one of our teammates, and then run with her to the finish.  I did it probably six times that morning and every time I got choked up as I ran up the final hill with our girls toward a wild, cheering crowd of parents and coaches.  The first girl and the last girl across the finish line that day were both from the team that I coached.  And I was equally proud of the victory for each of them.

I went on to coach two more seasons after that.  When my son was born, it became more difficult to fit coaching into my schedule so I took a seat on the Board of Directors. Working behind the scenes was almost as fun as coaching the girls because I got to hang out with a bunch of women that get it. They get that GOTR is empowering and life changing.  They get that everybody has to roll up their sleeves and help out.  They get that hard choices and growing pains and sweat equity are all part of the process.  They get it all. 

So my farewell to GOTR is bittersweet.  More bitter than sweet, honestly.  But I know this is not the end of me.  Or my love for Girls on the Run.  I feel like I'm taking away just about as many lessons as I taught during my many years of volunteering.  Most importantly.....

Saturday, October 4, 2014

The Piercing Debate


There is a six-year old girl in our house with her heart SET on getting her ears pierced.  She's been mentioning this desire off and on for a few months.  I've been doing my best to politely acknowledge and quickly sweep her request under the carpet. 

Not that pierced ears are a bad thing.  I know...I've got seven holes in my ears.  It's just a little unnerving when your young child comes up with her own ideas about her body and wants to assert her rights to mutilate her tiny little earlobes.

So, we've been talking it through.  I remind her that it will hurt.  Not only will it hurt when they jam that little earring through her ear, it will hurt for weeks afterwards.  She'll have trouble sleeping because every time she rolls over her tender earlobe will bump the pillow and send a little jolt through her body.  She'll have to clean the piercings twice each day and twist those little studs in her ears even if they are swollen and sore. 

She remains committed.

This week one of her little school friends got HER ears pierced and now the ear piercing desire has gone into high gear.  "I want heart earrings just like Kiera!!" she pleaded at dinner last night. 

In my mind I'm frantically flashing forward 10 years when she wants to dye her hair purple, or stay out until 2am or smoke a little weed "Because Kiera's doing it".  No offense to Kiera.  I'm sure she's a lovely girl.  I'm just feeling a little unprepared for how to handle this peer pressure at age SIX! 

And then my mind regresses to my own childhood when I wanted pierced ears SO BADLY I thought I would die.  I begged and pleaded and did all the annoying things that kids do to try to get their way, and still the rule in our house didn't budge.  No pierced ears until your 10th birthday.  It was torture.  I'm pretty sure I was the last girl in the entire elementary school (or maybe the whole city of Oakland) to get her ears pierced.  It pains me, still to this day. 

So here we are at the parenting crossroads.  Do I teach my child a lesson about thinking for herself and not doing anything just because everyone else is doing it?  Or do I heal my own childhood trauma, make a better life for my kid and allow her to get those dainty little lobes pierced??

Well, as I said we've been talking about it...discussing the pros and cons, describing the care routine and the pinching pain that goes along with getting a piercing.  Today we visited the jewelry store in the mall and spoke with the highly trained, 15-year old piercing "professional" about how the whole thing goes, how much it costs and what earring options are available.

Tonight we turned her piggy bank inside out, scraped all the quarters together and discovered that she indeed has enough money to finance this venture herself.  So we have tentatively agreed to give it a go, after a brief "Cooling Off" period. During the next two weeks we will wait and see if this passion fades. We have marked a date on the calendar and IF her desire still exists (even after the excitement of Keira's piercing fades...), and IF her piggy bank still contains sufficient funds, we will march on over to the mall and participate in this youthful right of passage. 

Still struggling with how to handle her little brother, who has already requested to pierce his ears, too.