Gosh, it is that time of the year again when the kids head off to school camp. Both their classes attend the camp but my son’s class stays for 2 nights and my daughter’s class for 3 nights. The packing usually comes at a whirlwind speed as we are never prepared! Sorting clothes the night before, ticking off the last of the list the morning of. And once finished and loaded into the car it seems like they are off for a month with all the gear.
I remember my school camping days. I went on several as I was involved with an outdoor program developing leadership skills. I don’t think we were really ever prepared either for these camping trips as we were ill-equipped with camping gear, but I thoroughly loved the experience. Meeting and making new friends, challenging myself with activities I would never have dreamed of doing, and receiving recognition by peers and teachers. I was a bit of an odd ball but was very sociable and thrived on doing things differently. I was always surrounded by a large group of friends and together we made memories.
My daughter competed in her first competition as a Junior International athlete. I can’t even begin to explain how nerve wrecking the preparations has been for her. She is surrounded by an immensely talented group of girls this year. They are all determined, focused, flexible and ruthless on the rhythmic floor. She usually gets very flustered and nervous during warm-up but once her first apparatus is done, she manages to calm herself. Now, I need to emphasise that the last time she competed was at Nationals last year and she ended with a disastrous ball routine. I can only imagine the mental battle she had to go through to walk out and perform this weekend. But unfortunately her ball routine was a bit of a train wreck as she lost her ball off the floor, twice. Her score came down to a high 5 and is her lowest score yet while in the pre/international stream. Obviously she was disappointed and very upset with herself. But what made the situation worse was that her coach, the person she relies on in motivating her, ignored her when she walked off the floor. She didn’t give any feedback and told her to get changed for the next routine. My daughter was certainly not the only one who made mistakes during the competition but she was left feeling like a huge failure. When my daughter returned from the change rooms, she joined her team mate and started practicing her next routine. It was here when her coach looked at her and told her that she most likely holds the record for the lowest ever score by a gymnast from their club. This is what broke my daughter’s spirit.
Today’s photo is a quote suited best for the scenario my daughter found herself in. This is relevant to all people in leadership and facilitating positions. Be aware of the ears listening when you speak.
I clearly remember while visiting my ouma and oupa in Pretoria as a young girl, how often we used to walk through cemeteries. Ouma gave us the freedom to wonder around, reading the names on the tombstones, when they passed and how old they were. I tried to find the youngest child, and the oldest date. She told us that there is nothing to fear amongst the dead.
My slightly over-active imagination played out scenery of beautiful gardens, picturesque homes, floral dresses, picnics by the lakes, old cars, dust roads leading to fields of wild flowers, visiting loved ones by candle light. I wondered who these people were, did they come from a big and loving family, did they have siblings, were they in love. And often I wondered how they died. I wasn’t saddened by these thoughts. It was more as if a sense of gratitude and self awareness settled over me. I felt calm.
I admired the tombstones more than anything else though. Some were so old you couldn’t read the inscriptions. Others were huge, looming over their neighbors like giants in a chest match. Then there were those graves who had a single cross, old, chipped with no name, no identity. This is the only thing that will sadden me; the thought that a family might not have been in a financial position to afford a significant tombstone to honor their loved one.
Today I wondered into our local rural town and decided to walk around the small cemetery. The one tombstone in particular caught my attention and as the grey clouds rolled in, bringing with it a cold snap, I stood in silence and solace admiring the life beneath my feet.
“Pass the parcel” is a classic child birthday party game played here in New Zealand. We didn’t know about it until we arrived and my daughter was invited to her first birthday party. The concept puzzled me at first but when you give it some thought, it is actually a kind gesture that all the party goers gets a small gift with 1 big winner (usually the birthday boy or girls if sneakily tweaked).
How to play pass the parcel:
Buy 1 larger gift (be it either a toy/book/lollies/chocolate) and several smaller gifts.
Get your wrapping supplies out. You need enough wrapping paper for all the items you bought.
First wrap the single large gift.
Place one of the smaller gifts on top of the first wrapped gift and wrap it up.
Repeat this process until all of your gifts are wrapped.
When the party guests are ready to play, hand one of them the parcel and start playing music. An adult (or older child) should be in charge of the music to make sure everyone gets a chance to open a gift.
When the music starts the parcel gets passed around the circle of friends. When the music stops, the person holding the parcel gets to open one of the layers and keeps the content.
Repeat the game until everyone has at least received 1 gift.
If you want to give the birthday boy or girl the last larger gift, make sure that they do not get a chance until right at the end to open the parcel 🙂
My post entry has nothing to do with pass the parcel though, but we did receive a HUGE parcel today. My excitement soon faded when I read it was addressed to my daughter and not me. It is all the sponsored gear from Keep New Zealand Beautiful for the beach clean-up she is arranging. I was happy for her though as she is single-handedly arranging this as part of her EMR action project. And every little contribution helps.
It’s the second week of the school holidays and my son is the unfortunate one to have to be at the shop with me ALL DAY LONG. It is terribly boring, and I can only imagine torturous, for a 10 year old boy.
Things he did today to keep himself occupied:
Go into PaperPlus to see if the magnetic putty is still there
Play on his IPod for 10 minutes before hunger sets in
Eats a yogurt and chips
Makes his first visit to the entertaining ‘Bubble Man’
Takes a run around the shopping centre
Plays on the desktop for approximately an hour, with additional sound effects
Realises it is lunch time so I heat up the macaroni & cheese with chicken nibbles
Returns to the desktop
Second visit to the ‘Bubble Man’ to which he gets his toe stepped on and rips his nail
Sits still for a short time as his toe is too sore for him to walk on. I clean it off and place something cold on it too sooth the pain
Returns to the desktop
Goes for visit number three to the ‘Bubble Man’ who must wonder where this child’s parents are?!
Takes another run (sore toe and all) around the centre
Tummy grumbling again so eats biltong and has a juice for afternoon tea
Give him $ to buy us each an ice cream
Plays on the desktop until I close up at 5:30pm
Walk to the toilets with him and on my return find him playing in the toddler section of a make-shift playground.
Today we took the kids to see an early evening movie at Event Cinemas. The kids watched Beauty and the Beast and my husband and I watched Fast are die heart fans of the Fast & Furious movies. Yes it is a wee bit over the top action but it is entertaining and we can’t look past the cars, or at least my husband can’t. I think he secretively has a man-crush on Vin Diesel…I know I do 😉
We kids went off to see Beauty and the Beast. That is a movie I still want to watch. It has always been a childhood favourite of mine and I’m sure that today’s special effects will make the Beast seem all to realistic.
Going to the movies is something I value. Obviously over the years it has become an expensive exertion for a family of 4, but it still remains a great time out. As a younger child my parents never went to the movies with us. To be honest I think we dragged my dad to the cinemas one time and one time only. By the age of 12 I was allowed to go to the movies with my friends. Mum would drop me off and pick me up strictly as soon as the movie is finished. Some of the movies I remembered are Aladdin (I still went on a date to watch it), The Lion King, Jurassic Park, and all of the Mighty Ducks movies. My friends were a strange and rowdy bunch. We were your typical 90’s gang, no care in the world and finding fun in everything we do. Meeting up at the cinemas was one of the treasured times spend together.
Warm buttery popcorn, sparkling coke and sweet chocolate M&M’s.
Our morning rituals are frantic. Even though I am up by 6:30am I don’t seem to get myself nor the kids ready on time to leave home by 8:30am. And my daughter has a habit of asking me to do her hair 10 minutes before we have to leave.
Today however we managed to have some time to sit and spend a few moments doing each other’s hair. My daughter patiently put my hair into a plat and I made a fish plat for her. Years of managing her long hair has turned me into a master of quick plats and buns. But it was calming having her take the reigns and do something for me.
I remember how I use to sit on the floor in front of my mothers’ chair while she French platted my very curly and unruly hair for gymnastics competitions. I don’t think she enjoyed it and it certainly wasn’t calming with my hair being pulled, grabbed, tucked, twisted and finally tied, then sprayed into place as we can’t have a wondering strain of hair appear during a risky beam routine. But what I did find soothing was my mother taking the time to do my hair. Just a few minutes spend either in silence or having a quick chat about the day ahead.
Technology has changed since my day, and this morning we took selfies while she did my hair.