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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Yep, synchronized swimming is available in Indy for eight year olds.

I don't want to be a soccer mom. This means I don't want to spend a significant amount of my time chauffeuring my kids from one activity to the next. I don't want to wait in the pick up and drop off line at school just to turn around and drive my kid to dance, piano, sport after sport, etc, etc. I don't want our evenings to be jam packed with activities that hinder us from doing homework, playing with the neighbors, doing chores, cooking dinner, eating dinner, and winding down for the day ahead. I DO NOT want to spend my entire weekend at a field, court, or pool. I don't want to spend a considerable amount of our income on organized activities.
And yet, I do want my kids to have the opportunity to learn things that I cannot (or find quite difficult to) teach them. I want them to view their bodies as athletic. I want them to discover that they are musical...that they are artistic. It isn't about competition. It isn't about them being the best. It's about discovering what brings them joy in life so when they are adults they will have the confidence and tools to sing for themselves, to play music for themselves, to keep their bodies active, to play for fun, to create, to sew, to dance...
I find these two values conflict with each other, the value to have a quiet, uncluttered life and the value to give my kids opportunities to learn what I cannot teach them. Multiply that conflict by five.
I've tried to find activities that are inexpensive and close by. Last summer, we paid $15 a kid for 45 minute tennis lessons twice a week. That was the price for the entire summer! The location was right. Just five minutes away at Garfield Park. It did interfere with our schedule a bit since we signed up too late and got stuck with afternoon times. I would prefer to do our activities in the morning and have the afternoon to nap and be quiet.
D'arcy and Julian take piano on the same day with the same teacher so that consolidates that activity. D'arcy has a strong desire to learn to play violin, but I'm reluctant to change because that won't work for Julian. When D'arcy is ten, I think we'll give her the opportunity to make that change.
Julian will be playing flag football this spring. I selected a league that has seven games with practice the hour before the game. It's a one day commitment for two months. The say they are focused on teaching the rules and having fun. I hope that is true.
D'arcy is in synchronized swimming. We began this activity last year as a one hour, once a week class. She was then asked to be on a team. She was excited, and I was hesitant. How much will this cost me? How many times will they ask us to practice? We agreed to a team that would have mandatory practice once a week, but many of the girls go an additional day or two for practice. I have felt pressure to take D'arcy more often. They want her (and every other girl) to get better and I just want her to be active and have fun. And get better, but we are in no hurry for that. That will come as fast as one day a week will allow. I think she is happy that I've protected her time.
I haven't done so well protecting my money. There is the regular fee, and then special swimsuits and headpieces, and the cost of traveling to meets. Plus, every family has different ideas on what they want to spend their money on. One of the moms wants to get the girls together once a month for a playdate and her suggestions include Mokey Joe's, Build a Bear, and the movies. I suggested going to someone's house to play. She suggested that when the weather gets nice we could have a big barbecue. That's a LITTLE bit closer to my idea.
One of the benefits that I didn't foresee to having D'arcy in this activity is that it puts the spotlight on her. She loves being one of four (almost five) kids. She keeps asking me to have more kids. It's been nice for her to have the our full attention for a couple hours or a day. I think it gives me an opportunity to fall in love with her individually instead of seeing her as one of a pack.
Thus far, I don't feel like a chauffeur. Normally, the kids have activities just two days a week. The kids ride the bus to school so there are many, many days that I don't get in the car at all. In fact, I haven't left our house for 48 hours. (My friend, Christie, and her kids did came over this morning to entertain me and the toddlers. That detail is for those of you who might be wondering if I'm about to go insane.) I'm worried and (better yet) prayerful that we'll be able to manage this low key feel as two kids in activities slowly creeps to five. Did I mention that we intentionally only have one car? Yep, that is all part of that first value of a quiet, uncluttered life. We might have to give in on that one someday.
Here are a few photos from D'arcy's first synchronized swimming meet.

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