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Archive for January 22nd, 2008

Threes

  1. Yesterday as I drove home from an exhausting day at the pool (it’s so tiring watching the exertions of others) I had to push the brake pedal right down to the floor of the van to get it to stop, and I realized I had brake troubles.
  2. When I got home to the mound of dirty dishes that had accumulated over the weekend, I found out that the kitchen pipes had frozen.
  3. Then R told me that the computer was making weird loud noises, and I turned it on, and he was right. No amount of pounding it (the extent of my mechanical know-how)would make them go away either. 

No car, no water, no computer. I felt like my whole world had caved in. Luckily I still had a working phone, so up at 7am to call auto repair shops. I am now $600 poorer, but I got the van back in time to drive the kids where they need to go tomorrow, and I’m lucky enough to have a friend who showed R and I how to clean the fan on the computer as well as help in the thawing of the pipes. Life can resume! 

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DSCN1476When I was a younger mom, and Big Girl L was just a baby, I had an epiphany of sorts.

I was in the change room of the multi-sports complex in the city where we then lived, because I used to swim laps so compulsively that I’ve permanently wrecked the cartilage in both shoulders, but ANYWAY, there I was and I was mesmerized by a group of young teenaged girls clustered around the mirrors. These girls appeared to be around age 13. They were busily applying mascara, talking about the rad new store in the mall, discussing detailed comparison lists of the flaws in their complexions, and obsessing outloud about which of the other girls at school did or did not like them.

It was like watching an alien species. I just couldn’t relate.

Then the doors burst open, and a group of slightly older girls came in. They were probably 15 or 16, and they were a different gang altogether. Their unstyled hair was pulled back in ponytails, they may or may not have been wearing makeup, they were wearing baggy sweats, they had enormous backpacks, and they exuded a tremendous amount of energy. As they made their way to the lockers, laughing and joking and carrying on, I overheard bits of conversations, all related to swim times, upcoming swim meets, and who was going to be picking them up after practice.

The contrast between the two groups of girls was striking.

I thought about my dimply little darling, baby L, and decided then and there that I would make a concerted effort to encourage her to be active, and to expose her to all kinds of sports, in the hopes that she would find one that she enjoyed, so that she would feel the power of her body, and appreciate it as a wonderful, useful tool. I wanted her to care about what her body could do, and not worry so much about what it looked like. I also realized that participating in a sport would provide her with a second peer group, and a source of self esteem, unrelated to whatever was happening in her school (this was before I had considered the idea of homeschooling.)

Luckily, L did end up finding a sport that she loves, and I am seeing the positives that I had predicted. She’s part of a group of girls who care much more about the strength and flexibility of their bodies than how those bodies look in bathing suits. She admires the older athletes for their skills, and models after them in terms of their dedication. She never feels self-conscious when she tries new sports, and enthusiastically participates in any and all athletic endeavours at school, simply assuming that she’ll be excellent at them. She owns that body she lives in, and it shows in the way she carries herself. Even if she quits diving, she’ll always think of herself as an athlete, and I think that will end up being a sort of “body image immunization” that will protect her and serve her well for the rest of her life.

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