Photo from the 2014 Ice Age Trail 50 Miler by Ali Engin. Permission to use header photo must be obtained through Ali Elgin.
"It's better to feel pain than nothing at all. The opposite of love's indifference." - The Lumineers
Friday, 7 August 2009
I suddenly have a daughter
Ever wonder how to start being a full time parent of an eight year old girl? Two weeks ago step-daughter moved in to live with SR, The Lorax and me in Næstved. I was more than a little nervous about it. What do I (or SR for that matter) know about allowances, house rules, chores, etc? Add to that the fact that step-daughter loves a meat and potatoes diet and I have been a vegetarian for my entire adult life and don't have a clue how to prepare meat. Plus, her moving in corresponded with me starting a new full time job in Ophthalmlogy.
But what did step-daughter think? There were a million things going on subconsciously in her mind, but what she talked about was wanting frequent fast food, dessert with every meal, full access to the Disney Channel and not being forced to ride a bike.
I remember what it was like to be a kid. I would have been devastated if someone had taken away my Nintendo, Reading Rainbow or desserts!!
The thing is, SR and I just weren't going to put up with nights sitting around the tv eating fast food. We are too interested in the outdoors, exercise and staying healthy to live a life like that.
How could this work? One important thing SR has taught me is as long as kids have routines and attention, they are happy. As it turns out, we could decide the daily routine and still make step-daughter happy.
Here's how it's worked:
First we taught her to ride her bike. It involved a small amount of money. But now she loves it and she can ride to school and back and also ride along side of us while we run. Dare I say she is proud of how good she has gotten?
Here she is with SR after a muddy ride.
We have also played tennis with her a bunch of times and now she is good enough to start playing along. The Lorax takes pride in being the ball boy and also swings the racket a bit.
Yesterday we went to the pool and I taught her the crawl. She was an amazingly fast learner and is already better than a lot of adults. She can even put her head under and breath correctly. Now she can do laps next to me at the pool. I'm excited to see how quickly she will progress.
Arranging a healthy eating plan has not been as easy. We said no candy or desserts except for on the weekend. And we make three healthy meals a day. This has worked remarkably well as far as SR and me losing weight, but we're not so sure it's working yet for step-daughter. I knew we had a set back when I found a garbage can half full of peanut butter cup wrappers that had been smuggled in from the US. What kind of rules do you use with your kids in regards to eating? I'm certainly open to suggestions.
Here is a poem she just wrote:
Were are thou
to me your a
But the best part of having step-daughter here is no doubt how close we've become. Some of our best moments were taking walks in the woods, playing Matador (Danish Monopoly) or sitting in the sauna and talking about how gross boys are.
Last night she made some comment about not wanting to visit the United States unless it was with me. She is the type of girl who knows the right thing to say, but I think she meant it. We have both changed a lot, but perhaps me the most. She is no longer afraid of me deserting her and I am no longer afraid of really loving her.
Running Song of the Day:
The Way I Are by Timberland