I've recently decided to spend more one on one time with my daughter. The kids are great together and I love that we do things as a family, but I've always found I know people better when I spend alone with them.
For the last few months I had heard my neighbour talking about picking up climbing with his kids and the amount of fun they were having. I used to be a climber in my youth, many years prior to having kids. My youngest was actually too young to do it and that ended up making it the perfect activity for me to pick up again as bonding time with my daughter.
Even from the first drive to the gym, it was a pleasure. I could see my 7-year-old happy and content in the back of the car, asking questions about where we were going and what it would be like. She was calm, excited and a bit nervous all at the same time of the prospect of the new activity.
One of the first things I learnt was that she can listen!
It's not often enough that I feel proud of imparting knowledge to my children and that they actually take it on board. One of the first things I told her was to keep her hips close to the wall and above her feet. I proceeded to watch her do this for the rest of the day and every time since, without me prompting, with complete pride and awe.
Another example of something I told her and I can see her actively trying to do, is to keep her feet up high, so she uses her feet as much as possible instead of her arms all the time. This was more of a work in progress.
She didn't know left from right.
I was calling out things to try to her for a few sessions, like move your left foot up and she would sometimes do it and sometimes not. I then realised that she didn't know left from right yet. I always assume they learn things like this in class, but not in this instance, and we've been working on this together. Even her little brother is super keen to learn, so he can know what to do when he starts climbing next year when he's old enough.
I am amazed by the thought and effort she puts into things.
Watching her climb is like watching her mind work. I can literally see some of the thoughts in the hesitations and movements of her body or the frustrated push off the wall when she can't nail a move... yes, that's definitely my child.
She has an intense focus when we are learning something new.
We did a belay course together and she was all ears, the whole time. I was very impressed and she learnt how to tie her self in and buddy check me in under an hour. We still practice every time and she still occasionally makes a mistake, but there is great progress in the right direction and she catches herself more often than I have tp pint out a mistake.
The one on one time and the climbing has been a great experience for both of us.
And a final thing I learnt, she doesn't care much for watching me climb. After completing a particularly hard move, I looked down to see the adoring face of my daughter looking up at amazement at what I had done and she was staring at her toe rather than watching my magnificent move (it was!). Oh well, I will continue to watch her and all her amazing moves, all the time.
I look forward to bringing the rest of the family in on our fun, but I have a suspicion there will still be some one on one time for me and my eldest to go climb on our own and have our own little adventures where we are both learning, growing and getting to know each other better.
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