I know Susie from Catlin Gabel. Our daughters are in the same grade. We initially met at a swim party during the summer before Kaelin started there in 1st grade. I remember sitting with her family afterwards outside at Peanut Butter and Ellies. They were very welcoming, kind and friendly. We all liked them very much.
Since my diagnosis, Susie has reached out to me and offered her support in many ways. Filling my inbox with kind emails cheering me on and answering questions and offering advice. Having Kaelin over for playdates. Riding scooters with Elena that summer is the reason that she ended up with two scooters for Christmas! (she wanted to keep them both so if a friend came over they could ride together. Or she could ride with her brother). It has been a blessing to me having Susie share her experiences with me. I'm so grateful and thankful and enjoy seeing her on campus, always with a hug and smile. Thanks Susie!
This is a photo of Kaelin from the gymnastics meet today. She's wearing her team sweats over her sparkly gymnastics leo and she has on her blue Ugg boots that she's had since 1st grade. It was too dark inside the gym, even with my flash, to get any good photos inside and then it was too cold outside to get any photos without her sweats on. I couldn't pass up the photo op to record my little tomboy all dolled up. It's the only time I get my girly-girl fix!
She's been so nervous about this meet all week. Even though it was a practice one! She loves to train, but she hates to compete. She gets all worked up because she's going to be judged and she can't do her routines perfectly every time (few gymnasts ever do!). It's tough when you're throwing and catching balls and hoops and ribbons while dancing and leaping and jumping and spinning and turning. She even threw a few temper tantrums before class this week, sitting on the ground in the parking lot and announcing she was quitting.
She confided in me that she was scared and nervous and that her tummy hurt. My answer to her was that it was good to get nervous and that everyone does. That getting nervous is good. It helps you to strive to do your best. It makes you try harder and perform better. I told her about Spencer and how anxious he's been this last week before his big Egypt presentation. I think that worked for her and that she understood that it was normal to feel that way. It means she cares.
Another problem she was having is that she didn't feel prepared enough. She wasn't confident in her ribbon routine. All of the other girls have been training 3 days a week, 9 hours a week in total. Kaelin plays indoor soccer on Saturdays, so she only trains 2 days a week. And since class goes from 5:30-8:30pm, and she's only 8 and that's way past her bedtime, we've been picking her up at 8pm instead of 8:30. So in actuality, she's only training 5 hours a week, versus 9. She can't expect to be perfect really. She was relieved when the coaches let her skip the ribbon routine today. That helped ease the nerves I think.
If you saw her perform, you wouldn't think that she is training 4 hours less a week than the other girls. I thought she looked great! She's a little shakey and unsteady on the balancing elements, but she looks so poised and graceful and elegant. She carries herself well. I think she's a performer. She gets out there and turns it on. You wouldn't think she was nervous at all. When she was all done, she was so relieved and I think proud of herself. She came over to me and said "look mom, I'm shaking so much" and this was after she was done!
Today was the first time that we actually had fun getting ready for a gym meet. We had some mother/daughter bonding and she was almost giddy with excitement about the day. Mentioning and talking about little things about it. We started our day off with pancakes (little did my kids know that I made them with soy milk and snuck in some ground flax seed! lol) and then I helped her shower so I could help her wash and condition her long hair so it would be easier to comb. She didn't fight me at all on anything this morning. Usually she fights me on everything and whines and cries about every little thing. The outfit. The hair. The make up. You name it. Today we left plenty of time and we took our time and we had fun. I even showed her how to apply some of her make up herself and she did that while I applied mine. This is the first time I can ever remember that we had fun getting all dolled up for a meet or dance routine. I loved it!!! And it helped to start our day out relaxed, amused and happy instead of angry, hurried and stressed. I think today was good for us both. I think she felt good about how she looked and what she was wearing too. She looked proud and confident.
I know I am so proud of her. She's an amazing little girl and carries herself with such class and confidence for her age. She works so very hard and it shows. I want to be around to see how she blossoms and changes and turns out.