My Little One

I love watching Little One cheer. She completely lights up, and she is charged with energy.  Cheer coaches have told me how electrifying she is when she is “on”.  I like that she has so much fun doing it, and that it makes her happy.

I remember her very first cheer competition, when she was in 2nd grade.  She had spent the previous year watching her big sister do competitive cheer, and she couldn’t wait to join a team.  She was super nervous when the day came to compete, and she wouldn’t smile at all until it was all over.  I have a great picture taken of her right after it was over, and she has a big smile on her face.  That entire first year she couldn’t smile or do facials while competing until we were at nationals.  The very last competition of the season she finally smiled while doing the routine.  It was great!

I have always done her hair for cheer, except now she is so tall I need her to sit in a folding chair in the bathroom. She does her own make-up now, and likes to make sure there is some sparkle to it that the lights of the football field will pick up.  When the cheer team takes a water break, or has a break after their half-time routine I’m lucky to get a brief kiss in passing, because she has so many people to talk with.  That’s okay, because I’m just happy to be at the game to watch her cheer

She isn’t doing competitive cheer this year, due to my medical issues and her knee problem. She’s in a high level tumbling class once a week though, which she loves, and I’ll probably give in and let her take a 2nd one after the first of the year.  She comes home so happy, with such a big smile, ready to sit down and tell me all about the class and her accomplishments.  I look forward to that.

I tease Little One that she can’t go to the same university as Oldest One, that she has to live at home and go to the local university. She isn’t having any of it.  I told her to have fun in high school.  She can look forward to college, but she needs to live high school, and make good memories.  She can’t wait for her senior trip, and to start having the experiences she’s seen her big sister have.  I wouldn’t mind spending another hour with the 2nd grader who just finished her first cheer competition.

Auction Unfairness?

Well, the auction was awful, or the best, depending on what child was asked. I try really hard to treat the girls equally and fairly, but life doesn’t always work that way. Just because I make sure holiday gifts all have the same monetary value, and both Bat Mitzvahs were equally done for each girl doesn’t mean that other things happen that way. So there are many times I am trying to congratulate and be happy for one while trying to console the other.

Before I left work Friday I received an email from Little One that she was the lowest bid.  She was sad, embarrassed and upset.  Husband and I were thinking that was going to happen, but there wasn’t much we could do about it. We tried, but this turned out to be one of those things we had to let go. The auction was done by age, so Little One went first as the youngest, and the only cheerleader not in high school. We all know the first person auctioned goes for the lowest, and it turned out that the other cheerleader’s friends had banded together and groups bought the cheerleaders. Except for Little One, because her friends couldn’t participate.

Because Little One was the lowest bid, of course Oldest One was the highest. Really, she was the highest. 11 of the seniors got together and bought Oldest One. She will have a busy day on Monday catering to 11 people. Little One was also bought by a senior (one who pitched in for Oldest One), our neighbor down the street, and he is a great kid. He will be very nice to her, although he did say she had to complete his assignments for the day (this is allowed for one-day assignments). On the drive home when Oldest One tried to talk to and reassure Little One she was shut down, and Little One wouldn’t talk to her…after all, she had gone for the most money. I was able to let Husband know before they got home, but she didn’t want to talk to him either. I got her to perk up by offering ice cream. Yes, that is my answer when nothing else works, ice cream.

I’ve also dealt with the reverse, when it was Oldest One feeling slighted. Two years ago the girls both tried out for a cheer team, and they both made it. For some reason the scores were released right after the teams were announced, instead of just announcing and not giving scores away, which is to me the best way to do it. Oldest One was very excited when she came up to me, telling me she had the second highest score, but she didn’t know who scored above her. Right on cue Little One came running up screaming she had the highest score. Some days you just can’t win.

Auctioning Cheerleaders

Today is the day the girls are auctioned off. Definitely not a sentence I ever anticipated saying, but in this case it is for a good cause. The school Varsity cheerleaders are being auctioned to students, teachers or administrators, and will spend one day next week carrying books, taking notes, bringing lunch, bringing snacks, etc. They are raising money for their end of year banquet.

Since I wasn’t in sports I never participated in an auction, but I know people who did, and for the most part they seemed to have a good time. Getting ready to be auctioned took time, and it also completely glittered the sidewalk in front of my front door. Husband and I have been trying to avoid the worst of the glitter every time we go in or out of the house. Yes, we could sweep it up, but that isn’t our tradition. Or we are just lazy, whichever seems to fit best.

So posters were made and hung up at school, and today Little One straightened her hair (with very little help from me) and wore some make-up so during the last hour of school she would look fabulous for the auction. Oldest One had a field trip, so she actually was in business clothes when she left the house, and I’m guessing looked nice…I leave before the girls in the morning.

Little One was nervous because she isn’t a high school student, and none of her friends can buy her. She knows a lot of the high school kids, but I understand, it isn’t the same as having your good friends telling you what to do all day. Oldest One took care of her, and two of her good friends who consider Little One their little sister too will be bidding on her, and one of the teachers. Oldest One knew who she didn’t want to buy her, but who she thought probably would. Good luck to that person next week.

I have to say I think this is a good fundraiser, and not just because it will be fun (hopefully) for the cheerleaders and those who buy them, but it also promotes school spirit and community because it is helping the Varsity cheer team to accomplish a goal. Also, my involvement, beyond buying several sheets of poster board, has been minimal. Can’t beat that in a fundraiser!

Change of Heart on Cheering

Yesterday after I got home from work, but before the girls left for club cheer practice Little One and I had time to chat.  It’s their spring break, so she slept in, and cleaned my bathroom.  I gave her a list of cleaning and told her I’d pay her, cash or nail supplies her choice, if she did them.  Lovely child that she is my bathroom was tackled first.  It sparkled she had cleaned it so well.

The conversation got around to club cheer as it does so often right now, and she told me she thinks she will stay in club cheer next year, and with school cheer too.  She thinks she would be unhappy and miss competing if she gives it up after six years.  She has been talking with her coach, and she might go down a level to be able to do tumbling passes again while working on what she needs to be on the high level team and be a tumbler.

I am not surprised at this change of heart, and Husband isn’t either (although he was pretty happy at the thought of not doing cheer competitions next year).  I think this shows good reason for sticking to our rule of making them follow through on commitments.  If I had let her stop a month ago she’d be miserable with the decision she had made, which would have made life miserable.  A pouty, cranky teenage girl isn’t good for anyone.

Doing competitive cheer has been a very positive experience for the girls, and although a break would have been nice, I think she is making the right decision.  Granted, I am the chauffer next year, so it means a lot of driving again, but nothing I haven’t done before.  She has learned a lot of skills being part of a team at our gym, and I know continuing on for another four years will make her a stronger person better able to cope with what life throws at her.  If you can figure out how to get along with the snarky girls on the team, and avoid the drama mama’s you can pretty much handle it all.

It doesn’t mean she won’t cry at things, because she will, a lot.  She’ll still have to figure out how to navigate all the girl problems in high school, because no matter what high school a person goes to, there is always some sort of drama with girls.  But it will help her continue to learn how to stand up for herself, and to say no, and to take a stand on what is important.  I have watched Oldest One become a leader, a lot of it due to being in the cheer world, and I know Little One is going to evolve down that path too.  Plus, the gym is family to her, and she would hate to give up a part of her family that has been there so long.

So next year will be another year of running to various back-to-back cheer practices,  watching Little One cheering at school sporting events, going to competitions in and out of state, and making everything work when there are multiple commitments all happening the same day around the same time.  It sounds perfect, and I am up for the fun!

Following Through on Commitments

When we first put Oldest One in a sport Husband and I decided it was important that she commit to and finish the season.  We wanted her, and later Little One, to know that they couldn’t stop something just because they got bored, or didn’t want to do it anymore, but that they had to finish their commitment.  We’ve held to that through all the years of cheerleading, and it hasn’t been an issue until this year.

At the start of the school year Little One didn’t want to do school cheer.  She had been on JV cheer the year before, and was the captain, but didn’t find it as fun as her big sister did.  Since a new coach had been hired I encouraged Little One to go to the first meeting and meet the new coach.  I told her if she didn’t want to try out after that it was fine, but she should at least go to the meeting.  It was a good meeting, she liked the coach, and the coach told her she had to try out.  So, Little One tried out for JV, because as an 8th grader she wasn’t eligible for Varsity.  But, they made an exception and put her on Varsity (she did have 5 years of competitive cheer behind her) and she has loved school cheer…even though the captain, Oldest One, yelled at her more than anyone else.

In fact, she loves school cheer so much that she doesn’t want to do competitive cheer next year, only school.  She has really struggled with competitive cheer this year, even though this is her sixth year at the gym.  In the first few years of doing competitive cheer every May she said she didn’t want to go back.  We encouraged her to still attend summer practice, because we knew if she didn’t go back, the first competition she went to for her sister would make her upset she wasn’t competing with her team.  Every year she decided she did want to continue, and she loved it.  Until this year.

Last year she was on a Senior 4.2, which is a team that stunts at a Senior 4 but tumbles at a Senior 2 level.  They were a really good team and were undefeated in our state.  This year she is on a Senior 4, but since she can’t do a tuck she doesn’t get to do much tumbling.  Last year she had a main tumbling pass, which she loved.  Then one of her best friends decided to leave the team.  And it went bad from there.  Little One wants to leave now, in the middle of the competition season, because it isn’t fun anymore and she doesn’t like it anymore.  She gets cranky and doesn’t want to go to practice, and sometimes cries.  She said the coaches yell a lot, and they are never happy with the girls.

Oldest One, on the same team at the same competitive gym, sees all of this in a completely different way.  She said the coaches yell because the girls don’t listen.  Oldest One loves to cheer with the gym; if she is in a bad mood practice always puts her in a good mood.  She has a tumbling pass, and as one of the 3 seniors on the team has a very different role.  She doesn’t empathize with her sister at all.

So we told Little One that she doesn’t have to return next year, but she has to stay through May.  That didn’t go over well.  But as parents, we want her to understand that she made a commitment to the team, and that for her to leave would throw off the entire routine right at a critical time.  I’ve talked to the main coach, and she has had talks with Little One, and we are all trying to make it better.  But at least once I week I am so tempted to just take her out and be done because she get so emotional about it.  Then I realize she can leave the house upset to go to practice, but ask to go to Dairy Queen with the team after practice.  So, she will see this through until May, and we will go from there.  I’m sure we’ll all survive, but boy, some weeks are definitely more challenging than others.

What is up with February 22nd?

I’m not sure what it is about February 22nd, but it seems to be the most popular date to plan every school or club activity possible. Or at least the last weekend in February is.  And my family is used to trying to get to several activities in one day.  I remember this happening in years past, but this year every time we turn around there is something else we should consider doing.

To make it more fun the girls have been/are sick.  Yesterday Little One stayed home from school feeling like she was going to throw up.  Not that she got up, felt bad and went back to bed.  There was an extended time period of melting down and crying and insistence that she would fall behind if she missed classes (she currently has all A’s…).  I finally had to leave for work, which I arrived at 30 minutes late so I had to stay 30 minutes later to make it an 8 hour day.  I felt Husband could handle it just fine…he got her to go back to bed.

Then, 10 minutes before I was about to leave Oldest One called, and she was in tears wanting to know where I was.  That morning she was stuffy and felt a migraine coming on, so I made sure she had migraine medication and told her to take Sudafed.  Turns out she wanted to know where I was because the school cheer coach had sent her home from practice because she was sick.  And she was calling me from her car as she drove home, which is a huge NO.  I told her to take Advil when she got home and I’d be there in about an hour and to never use her cell phone while driving…to which she replied “you do it all the time.”  I don’t, but I have, so I told her to do as I say not as I do, that I loved her, and finished the call.  She has a temperature, body aches, a sore throat, and feels like she is going to throw up.  Fun times!

Sick girls makes the weekend easier to figure out.  The activity going on where Oldest One will attend college is out, because we aren’t taking her on a 2 hour drive for a 6 hour event when she doesn’t feel well.  And technically it is a 3 day thing, and she decided yesterday she just can’t do that to herself, and it will be fine if she doesn’t go.  Off the list!  Also off the list, sadly, is attending the school dance team’s competition.  We know several girls on the team, and wanted to go support them, but their competition is at the same time as basketball playoffs.

On Tuesday our club cheer gym decided to try and fit a competition in Saturday, which would have interfered with the girls doing a community service event with their respective honor societies.  Luckily (awful way to put it) there are so many sick kids they decided against that.  So the girls can still drag themselves to the community event.  Which interferes with the Girls Varsity basketball playoffs.

Both Girls and Boys Varsity basketball made playoffs, and the schedule was just put out yesterday.  Games on Friday, and if won, on Saturday.  Which the girls may or may not cheer at, but which we will go to so we can support our “other” children.  Except Girls Varsity plays at the same time as the community event, so we aren’t sure about making that one.  Boys Varsity plays at night, so those should be easy.

Which brings me back to why February 22nd is so popular for every activity known to mankind to take place on?  I’ll probably never figure it out, but next year I’ll just mark the calendar to hide under the bed and pretend the last weekend of February isn’t happening.

Out-of-State Competition

We had the first out-of-town competition two weeks ago.  This was our third time at this competition, so we knew what to expect, but every competition is still different from year to year.  It was nice to get out of town, even if we didn’t do anything, and we had a good time.  Oldest One got teary on Day Two when she realized she won’t be there competing with our cheer gym next year.  I think watching the video on the big screen of their performance hit her emotionally.  I don’t usually buy the girls clothes at competitions, because the stuff is so expensive, but this year I bought them each a t-shirt to commemorate Oldest Ones last year at this one.

Cheer competitions have a lot of sitting around for parents.  This one was not an exception.  We had to be there (okay, the girls did) at 7a for the girls team to go on shortly after 9a.  And we do try to watch all the teams in all the categories on the stage in front of us, but after a while they all start to look alike.  We left around 10a Day One, but had to be back at 3:30p for Oldest One to compete with a second team.

Just to make it all more fun, in between competing the passenger window behind the driver decided not to go up after being rolled down.  We sent the girls in the room to change/shower/rest (Oldest One couldn’t shower yet) while Husband tackled the door and I pretended to be helpful.  It was mostly a one person job.  He took the door completely apart, and found the part to roll up the window was completely dead.  So we drove to an auto parts store, but the part wasn’t in stock anywhere in the city we were in.  Husband creatively got the window up, duct taped it, and put the door back together so we could finish out the weekend and get back home.

The hardest part of the weekend was avoiding other parents.  I know, that sounds harsh.  I like the majority of the parents at our cheer gym, but there are some it is just better to not be around because they are proud train wrecks.  I did get cornered on Saturday coming out of the bathroom.  And by cornered I mean this woman wanted to hug me, and I did not want to hug her, but she literally had her arms out and moved with me blocking me off until I gave up and hugged her.  Why does this woman insist on hugging me or touching my hair?

Saturday night we went to a BBQ at the condo rentals several families were at.  I have to say that part of the out-of-town fun is at the end of Day One when several of us Moms get together and do a group hair curl.  The kids don’t complain as much, we help each other so it gets done faster, and it is just a lot of laughing and talking.  This time I only did Oldest One’s hair because another Mom grabbed Little One and put her hair up.   I also do another cheerleader’s hair, but this time a Mom who finished early grabbed her and did her hair.  The kids talk, us Moms chat, and then we all go to our hotels and get to sleep early because we are so tired.

Day Two was the Super Bowl, so Husband went to see both girls team compete around 10:30a and go through awards, and then he hunkered down for some football in the hotel room.  Oldest One and I had been arguing about who would drive, since neither of us wanted to drive in a city we didn’t know.  I drove while she navigated, and I missed the Super Bowl while Oldest One competed with her second team and waited for awards.  Little One came with me so we had time together which was nice.  The bad part was our team competed early, so they were released to parents two hours before awards.  I got the girls food and then we sat on the floor in the lobby (really hard to get up after that long!) until awards.  It seems I got the better deal going to the cheer competition over watching the Super Bowl this year.

Next year Oldest One will fondly think of us sitting in the hotel, waving our arms wildly every 15 minutes when the lights and fan shut down (a quirk of the room timer that doesn’t work right), or remember me stumbling out of bed several times during the night to keep turning the air down because she was hot and throwing covers around and waking Husband and I up.  If the room was kept at about 65 I froze but the girl’s side of the room stayed comfortable.  We will miss her complaining about the lack of water pressure and showerhead made for short people.  I guess I’ll have to argue with Little One, and throw water bottles at her…the arguing I have down, the throwing stuff, well, I might need practice.