Tuesday, January 24, 2017


It is a difficult path at times, this parenting gig. One of the more challenging aspects of it is just the constantly changing needs of my two girls. Because they are so vastly different from each other, it is hard to keep up with what will be in the best interest for each one. With that in mind, I spent a lot of time in the fall watching and listening to what grabbed their attention, what kept them interested in something, how much downtime they needed to recover from the new school demands. With the advent of winter and the early darkness that brings, I find they are cooped up more than usual and with that comes boredom and rancor and general annoyance with each other. Lucy, who needs a lot (and I do mean A LOT) of physical activity, doesn't focus as well on pretty much anything if she hasn't had the chance to exhaust herself physically. Kate, who nees a lot of mental stimulation, retreats and gets inside her head, making up elaborate scenarios for why life sucks or how everyone is better than she is. All of this makes ME unhappy which I am just too old to deal with (I mean, you don't get to 50 and feel you should have to put up with whiny 7 year olds on a regular basis without either A. drinking more than is acceptable or B. finding some activities to keep them off each other).

Enter Winter Activities. This is the first of many steps to get my girls to try things without the safety net of their sister nearby. Because of convenience, I have always signed them up for classes together. When they were little, it didn't seem to matter as much but now they are developing their own interests.

Lucy is signed up for Tumbling and Basketball through the local park district. BB is quickly becoming her new favorite activity. We got there a bit early so she could dribble and shoot some baskets. This was her first time and I am amazed again at just how quickly this child picks up sports.

BB from Lisa on Vimeo.

At the end of the lesson, they had a scrimmage game. Lucy was ON IT.

One of the parents came up to me after the game and asked is she had been playing basketball before. I said it was her first time ever playing. When Lucy came up they said to her, "We couldn't stop watching you...you were amazing!"

Tumbling is not quite as exciting nor is the teacher as capable. There are only 4 kids enrolled and 2 of them seem to be there only because their parents needed a place to put them for an hour. The 2 girls spent most of their time complaining about the moves and/or goofing off, nary a parent in sight. Fortunately, Lucy still seemed to enjoy herself.

Kate, as mentioned in her last Love Letter, has started Brainbusters, a course through Northwestern University. It's a math-based class that focuses on riddles, something she loves.
Kate was a bit unsure of being left in a class knowing absolutely no one.
She came out much happier--she loves the work and brings home more to work on in her spare time.
Kate is also taking Taekwondo through the park district. She was super excited to get her white belt on the first day.

Taekwondo from Lisa on Vimeo.

Much mood improvement has happened now that we have a few things added to our week. Both tumbling and Taekwondo are after school on different days so that gives me time to work with each child on her homework while the other is in class. BB and Brainbusters is on Saturday mornings so Len and I split up, changing kids each week so they get each of us for a bit of time, usually taking them out for lunch one-on-one afterwards. I'm adding in a joint class in a couple of weeks. It's an after-school soccer class once/week which should get them running for an hour before I pick them up. I've found that tired, busy kids are much more enjoyable than tired, bored, restless kids.

(I've no doubt that things will change once I hit Publish and I may find myself eating my words and reevaluating once again how best to raise them....but for now, I've got my one glass of wine and a schedule to keep.)

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