Thursday, 12 May 2016

Sports - it's a delicate balance

So Emily's passion for gymnastics remain unabated as we head into competition season.
This will be her third year competing, and we are hoping to see a slight improvement on last year.

Well technically Emily is - DH and I think she is amazing and are always impressed, and mostly have no clue what she is supposed to be doing anyway!

Her first competition went well - not as well as Emily had hoped, but we could both see how much she has progressed in the last 12 months. But Emily really (really) wants a medal.
She knows that only the top 20-25% get medals.
She can see she is competing in large classes (70 - 150  girls).
She understands that by this point over 40% of the girls in those classes now train at two gyms, so they have double the practice time, and get to use the permanent facilities in the bigger gyms.
But she still wants that medal so very much.

So a few weeks ago when I printed out the schedule for her village club competition I thought she would be thrilled.
Once a week she trains at our village club in a slightly odd Swiss sport called gerateturnen.
It's sort of like gymnastics for everyone, plus she gets to do rings (which she loves) and a single metal bar (no asymmetric bars), plus floor and vault.
Normally Emily isn't allowed to compete on the village team as she already does gymnastics, and this is considered a specialist sport, so she isn't allowed to compete in similar 'regular level' sports.
But once a year the club hold their own competition, and they make the rules, and they asked Emily to compete.
Emily eyed the schedule carefully, and then asked if she would have to miss gymnastics training to enter the competition.

Me: Well, yes, but it's just one Saturday and you have been training so hard it might be nice to have a break.
Emily: No it won't. I don't want to miss gymnastics. You know I am really working on my kip and press handstand right now, and I can't afford to miss training.
Me: But you love gerateturnen too, and this is always such a fun competition, plus you are pretty certain of making the podium in this one.
Emily: I still don't want to miss gym.
Me: But I thought your goal this season was to win a medal in competition. This could be your big chance.
Emily: But I don't want that medal. That medal is too easy. I want the hard medal. The one I have to really work to get.

And so my tiny 8 year old with the wrecked hands and bruised hips walks away to do her compulsory 15 minutes reading for homework in her bedroom.
It's a gymnastics book of course.

And I spoke to her again, and explained how it is nice to support the local club too - the one she so loves being a part of, even if she doesn't take it seriously, even if it isn't 'real' gymnastics.
And she grudgingly said she would do it.
And she made it clear that she didn't really want to.
But I made her go anyway, because sometimes we have to do stuff that we don't really want to do.

And she did win a medal.
And she was gracious with it.
And admitted she had fun with her friends.
And she also said she was glad that she went.

But I know that deep down it's still not enough.

Friday, 15 April 2016

Late night Sofie questions

How I adore the small insights I get into Sofie's mind.

Last night, about an hour after she went to bed, she reappeared at the office door.

Sofie: I'm really sorry I'm still awake Mummy, but something is bothering me.
Me: That's ok Sof. What is it.
Sofie: I know it probably sounds silly but I just can't get to sleep until I ask you a question.
Me: You know it's always ok to ask me any question you want. What's bothering you?

So at this point I'm all geared up for a big conversation.
You know, the usual 10 year old topics - puberty, boys, death, etc.

Sofie: How do you spell armour?
Me: What?
Sofie: How do you spell armour in English? I think I know, but I'm not totally sure, and I can't stop thinking about it.

So we clarified the spelling, had a quick chat, and she happily trotted back off to bed.
How I love this big girl.

Friday, 8 April 2016


So based solely on the photos I took, here is what we got up to in February 2016.
Emily continued to love blue and koalas.

February saw us back in Basel for a few days when we took the chance to visit the Natural History Museum.
In all honesty this is more my thing than anyone elses, but since I organise pretty much everything, if I want to go we all go. So go we did.

It was great and everyone enjoyed it more than they thought they would, but it wasn't the Natural History Museum in London - sometimes I really miss London.

The girls gave me sweets for Valentines Day.
Sometimes it really is the little things that mean the most.

My solar powered dancing owl still makes me smile.

Emily went cross country skiing with her class, and came home with a new Winter bandana. She loved the skiing because there were jumps. She originally told her teacher that I could come along as the helper parent because I am really good at cross country skiing (in fact I am totally rubbish at it). Thankfully several other parents also offered to go, and I was not chosen - good thing too, as our neighbour went, and he set off looking like he was about to ski the Engadine marathon.
It appears not everyone cross country skis in their husband's old ski jacket and a hand knitted hat.

The girls picked snowdrops for our hall table in the field behind our house.

Sometimes I find random photos on my phone that make me smile.

Sofie continued to make me my morning coffee, but started embellishing it with hearts.

We went back to Basel and explored lots of new places.
This fountain is one of my absolute favourite places, and we always visit it when we are there.

We also worked on a family project - our first ever 1000 piece puzzle. The girls did quite a bit, but DH and I were up until past midnight for a few nights trying to get it finished.
It proved strangely addictive.
And so that was February.


So based solely on photos, this is what we did back in January.
Obviously I would love to share various witty anecdotes, but there is no way I can remember stuff that happened 4 months ago.
That is the point of this Blog!

It was carnival (Fasnacht) season.

We went to precisely one carnival this year, and that would be the one held in our village (so minimal effort involved).

For the first time ever Sofie didn't come with us - she arranged to meet friends and go with them - such a big girl.
Although her and her friends did stand opposite us for a lot of the parade, so I snapped some photos of her being all 'big girl'.
At the end of the parade I made the momentous mistake of asking for a handful of confetti from the girls who lives next door to us. Then I threw it at her.
I thought this was hilarious, and was immediately attacked by almost all of the kids in our street. I would like to say that not a single other parent came to my rescue, and even now (4 months later) I am still finding the odd piece of confetti around the house.
Lesson learnt!

Our 'time share' puppy came to visit.

Snow finally arrived.

We took the 'time share' puppy to play in the snow with us, combining all of our favourite things.

Sofie and I went away for a weekend together to Lucerne.

Her cello teacher was playing in a concert there and got us tickets for the best seats in the house at a super discounted rate.

We decided to make a real adventure of it, and stayed overnight in the world's smallest hotel room.

We did touristy stuff and had an absolute ball.

Plus the concert was amazing. It was beautiful, and both Sofie and I cried at one point. I am so happy to be blessed with a child who really appreciates music, and of course it was very special to see her teacher in the orchestra.

Sofie took part in a sports event with her athletics club.

This was quite a big deal, as this was the first time Sofie has taken part in an official competition in sport (aside from the various village sports days).
With a sister like Emily it can be easy for Sofie to dismiss herself as not sporty, when in actual fact she is probably pretty average for a girl of her age.
So we all went along to cheer and acknowledge this momentous day, and she had a great time, even though her team didn't place.
The competition was the usual Swiss eclectic mix of very physical and slightly odd activities, which made it rather entertaining to watch.

So that was January.

Thursday, 7 April 2016


Everyone should have a friend like this.
That would be the friend who is always available for crazy, last minute, adventures.
The friend who just assumes that when you agree to meet for coffee, you will walk to your usual place, and have coffee from a flask.
By the lake.
Even when it is minus 6 degrees and snowing.

Thanks for being awesome Kim.

General Emily stuff

Ahh, Emily.
She is such a wonderful, frustrating kid, and it goes without saying that we love her dearly (even though it also goes without saying that we don't always love her behavior).
Emily was undoubtedly the child sent to knock me off that parenting pedestal.

My favorite recent conversation.

Me: Emily put you shoes and coat on now or we will be late for trumpet.
Emily: Can I just go barefoot?
Me: No you can't. It is freezing cold and raining.
Emily: Can I wear roller blades then?
Me: Emily, I believe we have had this conversation before. Roller blades are not an appropriate choice for trumpet.
Emily: I'm bored of shoes. I want special shoes you can have fun in. Like rocket shoes. Yeah, why don't we all have rocket shoes?

Why indeed.

And this week I also had Emily's first parent teacher conference with her new teacher. She has been with this particular teacher since August, and I will be honest and say that I was a bit nervous about the meeting. I am the first to admit that Emily is not always an easy child to work with, so I was interested to hear how this teacher finds Emily.

On the day of the actual meeting Emily has sport at school in the morning.

Emily: Yay, we have sport today Mummy.
Me: I know. Isn't that great. Here's your sports bag.
Emily: Today I need to remember to speak to Frau S about the warm up.
Me: What do you need to speak to her about that for?
Emily: The warm up we do in sport is sometimes not very good Mummy. For example last week we were working on the rings, and my neck wasn't warmed up properly at all. Plus we never do stretches at the end.
Me: Umm, ok. The thing is Emily I am sure you do some sort of warm up don't you?
Emily: Yes, but usually it's just running around and playing games. I think we should do a better warm up so we don't injure ourselves.
Me: Well that is a good point, but I am sure the warm up you do is adequate for sport in school. Plus don't you want to behave really well today so Frau S has lots of great things to say about you a the parent teacher conference this afternoon.
Emily: It's too late for that Mummy.

It turns out that Emily is top in sport and bottom in handwriting.
No major surprises there then!

Love this kid like breathing.

Horribly behind - but I have a plan!

OK, so Blogging isn't going well so far in 2016.
But I do have a plan.
I am going to try and do a monthly update, and get things back on track.
I am just going to look at my photos for each month and write about them - easy.
So brace yourselves.
This post should be followed by a flurry of updates.
I am currently on high does steroids and not sleeping at all, so what could possibly go wrong....
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