Kit for Kat!
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Maybe it is this lack of swimming instincts from my end (Papa does great!) but both of us are...er...very pushy parents when it comes to swimming for Kit Kat. This is one sport that is not taken lightly at our house (oh yes!). Kat has been a great swimmer and was in the swim team for some time but then she started ‘fearing’ the instructor (he was very very strict) and her twice a week lessons became a major challenge for us. Kat promised that she would swim in the pool downstairs as many times of the week as she could manage but she could no longer swim in THAT place with THAT instructor – she did stick to her promise for a long time but now with Middle School, even walking with the backpack on is a challenge (the new gym routine made her so achy in the first week – where has all the calcium and energy gone? – one can only wonder at the 3 months long summer vacation which has thrown everything and everyone out of sync)
Swimming, we believe is a great way to tone a body and has no bad effects on your bones etc. It’s a super way to keep fit especially now that Middle School for Kat has a great selection of lunch…
Little Kit started on her swimming as early as 6 months or so. First it was the “mother and baby” class where I went in the pool with her (it’s not deep at all so no lifeguard skills needed – yay!), followed by independent swimming in the teaching pool – she went through several unrecognizable names of classes until finally she completed Beginner 1 this summer. Well done Kit!
A huge step for Kit last week was her first Beginner 2 class in the BIG Olympic sized pool. Since her first exposure to structured swimming, Kit has always been in a warm, small sized pool. This was the first time she was in a class aged 5-8years (Kit is not 5 yet) and in a much cooler, big sized pool. I watched her with pride as she struggled to complete a length – she was running out of breath and her kickboard was going in all directions once she lost her strength but her determination was admirable. She carried on and never once gave up in the middle of her lap. She was swimming with big boys but that did not dampen her spirits at all…she was breathless after the 45mins class but was overjoyed to have achieved it. Parents are allowed to be on deck in the first class – after every lap, Kit would turn around and ask me if I was taking pictures and videos of her for Kat and Papa – I surely did and she proudly showed those off when she came home! Not sure if the determination will be the same this week or not but my gut feeling is that Kit has the will to go through it. As a parent it was a proud moment for me and I could not help but think of her as a little Kat who went through the same process few years ago – the resemblance was so striking.
These are little baby steps as Kit follows in her sister’s footsteps – every step is precious, challenging and unpredictable – sometimes Kit Kat push us along with them effortlessly, sometimes they struggle and so do we – but we have to keep on reminding ourselves that we will get there with love, patience, understanding and appreciation and that we WILL have all these skills one day, some day!
As for Kit, go Nemo go!!
It has been a never ending round of packing and unpacking suitcases this month (latest being the one we packed few days ago in case we had to rush downstairs when Irene struck)...all is getting back to normal now (sort of!)
Kat was actually sad to get out of the rental car (aka our mobile home) because she felt that it had been her home for the last 2 weeks (I don’t blame her – with all the snacking we did on the road, it did seem like ‘Mom’s kitchen’!) On the other hand, Kit was sad as the end of the road trip meant a stop to endless snacking (anytime, anything!) and the uninterrupted Backyardigan after Backyardigan episodes she watched on the iPad (courtesy Kat who had the brains to download these before we left).
Call me ‘weird’ (it’s actually trendy to be weird now!) but I will miss the constant running around and the checking in and out from so many hotels en route. However, the most I will miss is the bonding time Kit Kat had over this holiday; both with us and between themselves...cherished times!
One such display of sisterly love was when Kit Kat were floating on the tube (attached to our boat) at Lake Tahoe. Sunny sky, warm water and peace and quiet in the air – the only sounds we could hear were from Papa driving (so fast!) and all of us shouting in excitement.
After several rounds of duo floating together, Kit wanted to do one turn on her own (more so, because Kat had one!) – Papa and I agreed and Kit had a ball!! Beaming from ear to ear, she held on to the tube with all her strength and at some point, Papa got so excited that in the flow of it all, he suddenly accelerated – Kit caught on well but the other second, she lost her balance and fell into the 1000 ft (at some parts 1500ft I believe) deep lake.
Of course, Kit Kat had their life jackets on all the time but still the sight of a tiny Kit in the vast expanse of water was chilling. We reversed the boat right away and would have got there in a few seconds BUT Kat was already in the water – going to save her little Kit! There was a look of extreme alarm on Kit’s face when she fell but I could not miss her joy on seeing Kat swim up to her. Our expert swimmer made it to Kit before us in the boat and swam back with Kit. Since then, Kat has been the official lifeguard for Kit (rewarded with hugs and wet kisses from Kit much to Kat’s eww!‘)
Moments like this and I am truly convinced that no matter how much the sisters fight, there IS a special bond between them…most days, I am almost positive that given a chance, they could pull each other’s hair, teeth, clothes, books and everything apart!!
Of course, the minute Kat touches the piano for her practice, Kit will magically appear from somewhere and this will be the beginning of a heated argument dominated with “I want to practice my piano” from both sides. In the end (always), Kit can be seen sitting (with a victorious grin) on the piano stool playing some music and singing something totally impromptu...(after all, how much MacDonald can one practice?)
So, this is what happened last week…
After much fighting when Kat had resigned to the rocking chair with her Taylor Swift Speak Now lyrics and piano music, Kit first walks up to her “I want that book” – even before she finishes the sentence, she tries to snatch it from Kat, who has now become an expert at dodging Kit (it’s a survival trick!) quickly hides it behind her.
Kat: “If you are not going to play the piano, I will”
Kit, realising she is not going to get the book OR the piano if she does not decide fast, decides to go straight back to the piano (without wasting any more time – split second decisions here!)
I am in the kitchen right next to the living room where the piano is and I am desperately wishing all this fighting away...in vain. It’s the typical Please Stop – Please let me finish this last thing situation – of course my dinner is not ready yet so this is not helping at all! To make matters worse – I told Kat’s teacher to come early today which has taken away 30 mins from my cooking time – what a true martyr!
I silently peep from the kitchen and see Kat singing her Taylor Swift lyrics softly (if she’s too loud, Kit will think it to be more interesting and will immediately do something to end Kat’s fun!) and Kit is busy working on her left hand (her most recent piano homework).
I go back to the kitchen before I can be spotted and loaded with complaints.
All of a sudden...I hear music being played by two hands. At first I think Kit Kat have made truce and are playing together but then when I walk out of the kitchen, I see that Kit has placed her play Casio keyboard on the piano and is playing her right hand on it and is slowly but surely playing her left hand on the actual piano – I am speechless...this is a huge achievement for her. Anyone who has played piano will know the significance of playing with two hands for the first time. It is a totally different feeling and it takes time to get used to the feel of it…of course, after that you learn to appreciate the sounds more when you play with the left hand as an accompaniment. To see Kit playing this naturally, figuring it all on her own is GREAT WORK. As soon as she finished (all this was MacDonald by the way), I point this out to Kat (who has been watching anyway) and she then tells Kit to play without Casio but on the piano itself and Kit DOES IT! She's got the hang of playing with both hands!!
Fights forgotten, Kit Kat share a hug and when Kat says “I’m so proud of you” to Kit, you can literally see stars in Kit’s eyes. Kat’s praise surpasses everyone else’s. Such is their love hate relationship...
Ditto at our home. Although Kit sings the Sparks Fly, Mean or It’s Magic, you know by Taylor Swift and Selena Gomez very animatedly (notes and lyrics perfect), she also happens to enjoy the good ol MacDonald in a big way. Still...to hear her sing the same song while playing the piano herself was a very emotional moment for me.
YES, Kit had her first piano lesson yesterday. Those little fingers actually played the keys and after a 45 min (originally intended for 30 min) lesson I was overwhelmed, to say the least. For someone who has been trying to get her to focus and at least remember the middle C on the piano, it was a magical moment for me.
After her lesson, Kit was super excited to show me what she had learned. I was not prepared to hear her playing so sweetly – a proud parent I am, yes I am!
Our piano is a major feature in the living room and Kat has matured immensely in this art of music – credit to our most wonderful piano teacher, Kat has truly blossomed. Maybe it is this familiarity (and of course the competition!) that playing the piano (with the same teacher) has come so naturally to Kit. Whatever it was, it was a big FIRST for her and I am so proud of her.
All morning today, Kit has played her ‘Piano Homework’ umpteen number of times (and definitely over and above teacher’s expectations). The highlight of Kit’s achievements was a special notebook presented to her by...who else but the role model KAT and with a pen too – this has become the most valuable gift of all times!
Waiting (already) for her next lesson next week...Kit is on her way (I hope) to join Kat in this wonderful world of music...
“What? No mail? Again!” she says and then turns to Kat, Papa or me “why didn’t you write me a message?”
After a (God) promise of doing it tonight , all is fine and a major situation averted. Phew!
So this is the reason each one of us can be seen writing little notes for Kit at night – to ensure that she has mail every morning.
My messages are usually small (unless there is a specific demand for a BIG card) written out on little post-it notes with a heart, flower or just ‘Mama loves you’ kinds.
Of all the messages, Kit most eagerly looks forward to Kat’s messages; not only for the heartfelt thoughts but for the materialistic side of them (after all, she’s only 4yrs old!) – Kat will always attach something with her note – an eraser, a sticker – a little something every single time!
Papa is the one with the longest messages – he writes few but he writes big cards always addressed to ‘My Little Princess’ and from ‘Papa Prince’.
We all are creative in this set up as well so some days Kit will get paper goodies – a fan (me), aeroplane (Papa) and basket (Kat) in her mailbox and her reaction is instantly gratifying.
This message business is not one-sided either – Kit spends a lot of time writing for us or making cards and pictures for her family. Very often, we enter our rooms and see a card or picture on the floor (that was sneakily delivered to us).
Also, now that Kit is learning to read, it is indeed heart warming to see her read her messages, all by herself.
Nice change from the good ol’ keyboard, thanks to Kit, the joy of writing by hand is being rediscovered in our house...