Site Meter Elsie's Space: No Need for a Calendar
Location: New England, United States

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Monday, September 25, 2006

No Need for a Calendar

in this house to know that Fall has officially arrived. The signs are everywhere. No, not the trees -- leaf peeping doesn't start here for a few more weeks. But, school is in full swing, leaving the house too quite for days on end. There are no splashing sounds around the pool. And, starting this week, kids' after school activities begin!!!

It seems to me that there are two major schools of thought on kids' activities. One, sign them up for the sport that the parents dream will make their little one a superstar. By the time they are eight years old, they have played said sport for five or six years already, and you can't possibly let them quit then (such a waste), even though they hate it!!! Or, two (the one to which I subscribe), you let them choose what they want to do, encourage them to try lots of things, and hope that one day they might find something that sparks their own life-long passion. They are each allowed to choose only two activites, because this mom thinks kids need time to just play! This semester, since boy child started Jr. High (eeeks) and needs some time to adjust, he's only allowed one.

When our son was about five, we asked him if there were any sports or activities he would like to try. There sure were! He's now eleven and has participated in: soccer (two seasons), baseball (two seasons), Boy Scouts (four years), swimming lessons (several years), and tennis (two years). For one reason or another, he's always wanted to move on. Until now.

My little guy is a fencer. We're not even sure how he came up with the idea. One day he simply announced that he'd like to learn how to fence. It's not the most popular sport, but we were able to find a fencing academy, and he started his lessons. We weren't sure we even liked the idea. We didn't want to encourage the flailing of swords, but in reality, it's far more genteel. It requires great discipline and respect for one's opponent. They start with the foil as beginners. He's moved this year to the intermediate group and will now learn epee, as well. I'm secretly relieved he didn't choose sabre. He was in a tournament last year. It was so fun to watch him. He's not an aggressive type kid, and he's not aggressive fencing either. Each match begins, "Engarde, ready, fence" and he'd immediately retreat, letting the other child advance. Every time. But, here's his secret (I'm not sure I have this all right, but it's something close), he'd then parry (hit the other foil with his) which forces his opponent to retreat, advance ONE STEP, and just go for the point (touching the other child in the target area). This works fairly well for him as he is tall, tall, tall for his age, with a long reach. He finished lower than he would have liked (right in the middle of the pack) and didn't understand why his tactics didn't work. His instructor reminded him that, while he has the reach, he is also a much bigger target, making it easier for his opponent to score (mmmm....never thought of that). So, for now anyway, he's doing his own thing -- fencing. Thursdays from 4-5:30.

Our daughter just turned eight years old. She, too, has many interests and has tried numbers of activities: Ballet and tap (one year and she HATED it), soccer (two seasons), swimming (she's our little fish and will swim any chance she gets), Girl Scouts (hated that), tennis, and art. She takes art classes at R I S D (pronounced rizz-dee), supposedly a world-renowned school, and loves every minute of it. She likes being in the artsy buildings on campus. She loves seeing men with ponytails (a little too much like mom). She loves the smell of it. And she's very proud to go there (you'd think she'd submitted a portfolio to get in). She starts clay works on Saturday 9-12. She chose to take French classes as her other activity, beginning on Friday afternoon. Why don't they offer that in public elementary school any more? I hope she likes it. It's something totally different for her, but she often will talk to you in her own delightful French accent, so she thinks she's ahead of the game.

So far, my "letting them figure most of this out themselves" way of mommying seems to be working. They're great, hardworking, intelligent, interesting, funny kids. I love spending time with them, and I'm so glad they're mine.


Blogger D@iliaR said...

Your kids are really lucky because you're a good mother provides them an excellent environment to grow & learn :)

I really wish my family did that for me but.. so far, I am still alive at least, haha.

God bless you and your lovely family.

Best wishes,

1:13 PM  
Blogger Elsie said...

Thank you for your kind comments. I try to be a good mom, but I'm sure I have made some mistakes.

I tried to read your blog, but could not. I will try again.

I wish you all the best. Please come visit again.

9:14 AM  

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