Monday, 11 January 2016

Updates, various

Update1: Swimming

Before Christmas we had the trauma of swimming, followed rapidly by the salvation of swimming. And I was left with the dilemma of what to do. Or rather oh-my-god-what-should-I-do-should-I-carry-on-swimming-oh-help-oh-no-what-if-it-all-goes-wrong. Repeated ad infinitum over the course of rather too many nights.

In the end, I decided, for good or ill, that I would continue with the current swimming teacher. Mostly I decided this because LittleBear said he wanted to. And that seemed like the best argument. If LittleBear professed himself to be happy, then who am I to second guess him? So, today... along we went. And for the first ten minutes my LittleBear whimpered and cried and shook his head and desperately, desperately didn't want to jump in, or put his face in the water. And I sat on the side, almost gnawing my fingers off, fearing I'd made a terrible, terrible choice. BUT LittleBear carried on with the lesson anyway. And this time, perhaps aided by a reprieve from teaching small monsters that the Christmas holidays provided, the teacher was much more positive and encouraging. Still firm, but kinder, and full of praise, and hugs, and high fives when LittleBear did the things he was asked. And by the end of the lesson? When the teacher asked who wanted to go down and touch the bottom of the pool, LittleBear was the first to volunteer, and he came out of the pool with a bounce, and I was so proud of him, and told him so (perhaps more often than was entirely necessary).

I'm still not convinced we won't have the same performance next week, but I do now know that LittleBear is beginning to master the ability to overcome a fear and be proud of himself, which is a pretty good life lesson. And I'm also 100% prepared to simply leave the classes if LittleBear is not thriving or his confidence is broken by fear again. I think that's a big internal change for me. I may have paid for the classes, but I don't owe the swimming school anything. It's not my duty to make my child suffer to keep their classes going. And the money is unimportant compared to my LittleBear's wellbeing. It's been very freeing to be able to say, "I can always leave. It won't matter."

Update 2: Schooling

It may not have been apparent to some readers here, but I had an awesome upswelling of kindness on Facebook after voicing my fears about the school application process. And the upshot was that I overcame my terror of phone calls, and I phoned the school to ask for a tour. So tomorrow morning, I shall be visiting the school with lovely friend L (she of the children's party). At the very least I can ask if they have a feel for the size of intake. I'm sure they'll say "we don't have any official statistics", but at least I'll have asked and won't therefore be tormenting myself with wondering whether I should have asked.

Update 3: Star Wars

OK, so maybe you weren't expecting an update on Star Wars, but I had a bit of a self-pitying bleat on Facebook and in RealLife about my lack of opportunity to go and watch Star Wars: The Force Awakens. I was utterly, utterly gobsmacked to be phoned at the weekend by my boss and invited to the cinema with his son on Saturday afternoon. This may not astound you, but my boss is not exactly renowned for (a) empathy or (b) noticing or remembering anything about other people's private lives, so this was an extraordinary act of kindness. Either that or I really, really, really bleated about not going*. As it happens, I couldn't go, but instead I went on my own on Sunday evening, to a cinema with awesome reclining seats. More comfortable than my own sofa, and with an obscene quantity of popcorn, which my own sofa never has. Herewith some random thoughts, hopefully un-spoilerish:

1. I loved the references back to the old films. The repeated scenes, the nods to original dialogue, Harrison Ford's knowing lopsided smile as he referenced things he filmed all those decades ago. This was a film made by someone who loved the originals and wanted to acknowledge them. Thank you JJ Abrams

2. I loved having a female character who didn't need her hand holding.

3. I do hope there's going to be a better reason for characters turning to the dark side than George bloody Lucas managed with his petulant teenage angst for Anakin Skywalker. No reasons have been given yet, but I live in fear.

4. I temporarily thought Admiral Ackbar was a supporter of Scottish Independence:

Admiral Ackar of Auchterarder?

5. I remember Mark Hamill as being a particularly poor actor, and was worried about how he might come across this time. He handled his lines fine.

6. I absolutely loathed the stupidly gung-ho "I'm the greatest pilot" Poe. I know he was supposed to be an over-the-top caricature. At least, I hope he was. I still wanted to slap him. A lot.

7. I felt vaguely wistful watching the scenes filmed in the Lake District, and both want to get back there on holiday soon, and also fly a TIE-fighter there. I suspect I may only achieve one of those wishes.

8. The way Han Solo said Supreme Leader Snoke's name sounded just like "snoek" to me, which is much funnier than the Supreme Leader was supposed to be.

* Yes, it was the latter.

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