Archive | February, 2010

thrill of victory, agony of defeat

28 Feb

I have two daughters who dance competitively. Their solos are of different genres, tap and ballet.

The tap solo is very fast, upbeat, uses the whole stage with many turns and varied footwork. The ballet solo is slow with gentle controlled leaps and balancing arabesques.

My younger daughter’s ballet solo was breathtakingly beautiful. Her poise and balance for her young age is admirable. 

I am her Mom, I am biased.

My older daughter’s feet fly during her tap solo, and I’ve seen such growth in her movement, her arms, her turns and spins. She loves dancing on stage! The only lacking quality is a consistent smile. I laughed because when I mention this to her she replies, “Smile? Mom I am having a hard enough time catching my breath let alone smile during the entire routine!” I could see she really put her forth all she had to dance her best. Her tap solo was amazing!!!!

I am her Mom, I am biased.

My youngest took 1st place for her ballet solo with a high gold. This was her first solo and ballet solos are typically marked lower than other genres of solos. She took the highest placement in the marking system with the high gold. She was also runner-up for an overall award!!  She didn’t want runner-up, she wanted 1st overall. How do I parent this? Do I tell her to stop pouting and congratulate the winner? Do I tell her to find out what she needs to do to win the BIG trophy? Do I talk to her about the awesome jazz solo winner who did so many spins it made me dizzy?

How do you teach graciousness to a child who wins an award, but not the award she wanted?

She doesn’t like to talk about it. If I do she replies, “I wanted the big trophy.” With tears in her eyes, she listens to my advice.

I don’t know if she’s really listening, tuning me out, yelling at me in her head, or taking it all in to plan her strategy for next weekend’s competition.

I wonder if she’s disappointed in herself for not dancing “better’ to win 1st overall, or if she’s mad because she feels she danced her best to deserve the 1st placement. Maybe she feels being runner-up is not good enough and she won’t settle for anything less than 1st place overall.

My oldest daughter felt thrill with her mark and placement. She was in a group of six solos placing 6th with gold. She felt she danced well, just needs to smile more and knows the other solos were also great. She understands when she dances her best, it’s up to the judges to choose who they liked. She knows her gold mark may have been only a few decimals away from the 1st place dancer’s mark. She was happy for the other dancers and congratulated each of them. She has great sportsmanship.

They are both winners for having the courage and ability to dance competitively!

If my younger daughter is not happy with the smaller trophy okay, but I’d like her to at least congratulate the winner and be gracious to those who come up to tell her how great she did.

Do I urge her not to settle for less than she feels she deserves? Is that the attitude of all great dancers and olympic athletes?

nuts for waffles

23 Feb
Cooking and baking are all about modification and experimentation to create the perfect recipe for you and your family. You can substitute various dry and wet ingredients depending what you have in your pantry at the time!
 
Multigrain Blueberry Waffles
 
2 c organic spelt flour
1 c organic brown rice flour
1 c organic old-fashioned oats
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
4 organic eggs lightly beaten
3 c organic soy milk
1/4 cup agave nectar ( I actually only used about 3/4 of the 1/4 measuring cup)
2 tsp vanilla
3/4 c blended organic coconut oil and sunflower oil
1 c plain organic yogurt
1 c organic blueberries
1 c mixed pecans, walnuts and sunflower seeds
 
Place flours, oats, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a mixing bowl. Stir to combine. In a separate bowl stir together eggs, soy milk, agave nectar and vanilla. Add to dry ingredients. Stir in oil and yogurt. Finally, stir blueberries and chopped nuts into batter. Let the batter rest for 5 minutes before using.
 
My kids enjoyed these waffles with the nutty flavour. I was happy to add more protein and less saturated fat than the recipe called for. You can use whole wheat flour rather than spelt and brown rice flours. I also substituted the agave nectar for maple syrup. If you don’t stock agave nectar in your pantry use pure maple syrup. 
 

i dreamed a dream

23 Feb

I had a dream the other night and I need to discuss it to derive some meaning from it. I was living in on a street lined with reddish brick houses and small apartment buildings in a very large city. I was walking across the alley between my building and the neighbouring building. It was a sunny day and I was with my son who was about three years old. The street was tree-lined. It was an upper class part of the city.

A black man dressed in a suit who was walking on the sidewalk in front of the buildings, stopped to make conversation. He seemed like a pleasant  man, friendly, well dressed, however when he asked my son where he went to school I continued on my way to get inside our building. I didn’t think this man had any business knowing where my son went to school and quietly told my son not to answer the question.

What’s odd is that in the dream my son was only old enough for preschool, but in my mind I was hearing the name of his current elementary school.

Once we were inside I spoke with my Mom. She was in my apartment, for a visit I believe. I told her about the man and his question to my son. My Mom didn’t seem to think it was an odd question. Instead she asked me if I ever played out in front of the building in the little swing area. In my mind I could see a small area about 8′ x 8′ with a swing set. She seemed to find it curious that we never ventured in front of the building to play.

This is all I remember of the dream. I know there was another part but my memory fails me as I type so I’ll add it another time.

If you have any thoughts, please speak up!  I trusted the man until he started asking personal information. I didn’t answer him just hurried off. Why didn’t I just reply? My Mom did not share my concern. Was I being overly cautious? I didn’t understand why a stranger wanted to know where my son went to school.  I hurried off to hide inside. Hmmm, hiding inside myself when someone asks personal information. Not wanting to share my personal side? Not feeling supported by my Mom, my own feminine side, my own Mothering side?

these boots are made for walkin’

21 Feb

Sometimes your body just knows what you need and when you listen to what it’s telling you everything seems right with the world. This morning while making breakfast for my kids I felt desperate for some fresh air. I went to the back door, slid it wide open and stood there with the crisp wind blowing in my face. It felt like mother nature was slapping me awake and it was just what I needed!  After breakfast the kids, dogs and I headed out for a long walk.

Our first stop was the money tree. This is a tree on the edge of a woods where one summer day we actually found money!  It was probably change fallen out of someone’s pocket as they rolled or romped under the shade of the tree. The tree is fairly unique in that it’s two trees intertwined together to create one. We always go to the bottom of this tree on our walks because it’s become our magical tree. I actually feel better just standing close to feel its energy. I know…..kind of wierd, but I do love certain trees.

We carried on our walk through some woods, along the trail, over the frozen creek, crunching leaves beneath our feet and the trees blocking any wind that tried to move us along faster. We weren’t in a hurry to get to the other side of the woods as it had been some time since we walked the path. My daughter renamed our smallest dog Diablo for this walk and he actually listened to her well. I think he liked the new  name and my daughter made our walk like a new creative adventure. We jumped over logs, found great walking sticks, slip slided on the icy patches and took on a healthy glow with our rosy cheeks. As we neared home the pace picked up again as my son prefers to run more than walk wherever he’s going.

This was my favourite part of the day. Enjoying the outdoors with my kids and dogs. Life does not get any better than this when we can walk safely, breathe fresh air and enjoy each other’s company.

I have walked that path for almost ten years now, with one child, my first two dogs and now with my three children and two other dogs. A lot can happen in ten years.

antibiotics vs natural healing

18 Feb

My decision free day did not happen. I don’t think it’s possible to live through a day without making any decisions. I make decisions all the time, not thoughtful deliberation, but the things I do every day need some amount of thought process which I consider decision-making.

I guess my challenge is to stop stressing over the little decisions I make: what to wear, what to eat, where to go, what to do and when, how much effort to put into something, what to make, when to make it, etc.  My only major decision so far this week has been whether to give my daughter antibiotics for her ear infections.

Now to some of you, this might be an auto-pilot decision of yes, or no. I am of two minds on the topic of antibiotics. I know the ear infection would heal naturally, however in the meantime she suffers from extreme pain. I can give her pain meds, a warm compress, olbas oil rubs and love, but the pain still overwhelms her at certain times of the day and night. It is during these moments I do not have the strength to follow through with what my mind is telling me to do. I cannot watch her suffer when I know giving her antibiotics will clear up the infection quicker. If she was not dancing this weekend in the showcase, I may have held off one more day to see how she fared.

At this point, she’s had one dose and we must continue with the antibiotics for the full 10 day course. Ugh…I feel such guilt and even some shame over what I am doing to her body and natural immune system by giving her the drugs. Yes, I will make sure she also receives immune support to rebuild what she’s losing of her good bacteria, but it doesn’t ease my feelings.

What’s done is done and there’s no point in rehashing my decision. Sometimes I must follow what my heart is telling me to do without question. I need to shed the guilt and let it go. Not sure how easy it will be in the morning when it’s time for a dose of the gag inducing horrid tasting stuff!

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