edamomie

An Exploration of Parenting by the Vowel

Pardun Me, Where Did Chivalry Go? August 24, 2012

Filed under: Outings — edamomie @ 8:57 am
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O: Outings

Finding the Right Inner Tube

Finding the Right Inner Tube

This was a summer of milestones. On the date of this particular milestone, my 9-year-old, Ava, learned about chivalry and my 7-year-old, Calvin, learned that it’s close to non-existent. These lessons can be attributed to their inaugural all day trip down the Namekagen River in Wisconsin, when 2012 marked the first year that this typically grown-ups only outing was voted kid-friendly, if not mom-friendly.

 

On our chosen Saturday, we head out with the kids to Danbury, WI to Pardun’s Canoe Rental. Our very own Julie McCoy (aka Sarah) calls them up each year — they know her by name — and she rents everything for the group, which amounted to 20 some people with 8 canoes and 10 inner tubes.  Breakfast is optional at the restaurant in Danbury, but we bypass it this year in favor of getting a later start.

 

The Calm at the Onset

The Calm at the Onset

At the canoe place, everyone corrals all of the gear near our two van buses and the kids select their inner tubes of choice – bottom or bottomless, chair back or not, and orange, green, blue or purple. All come equipped with a built-in drink holder. The kids cannot resist snaking through the center of the lined-up bottomless inner tubes. This whole loading process takes about 45 minutes. Then we climb into the dusty vans and head up river, canoes trailing.

 

Luckily the incoming dust is kept to a minimum with the new paving of a good portion of the trip’s route. The drive takes about 20 minutes. It’s now 10:00a.m. We pile out and move our stuff to the river entry point. Coolers, chairs, towels, sunscreen — the works. It’s a beautiful day.

 

We shove off and get our entourage connected with bungy cords and ropes.  And soon after, some choose to  disconnect. I watch my husband opt out of the canoe for the inner tube and completely detach from us. I was sure I could handle it and navigate with one kid in the canoe and one kid in the tube connected by rope. After all, it’s a peaceful river, really… One that is clean, clear, meandering and virtually free of any development. And free of rapids.

 

Inner Tube vs Canoe: Inner Wins

Inner Tube vs Canoe: Inner Wins

Save for the huge crisscrossed trees we came upon when we took the wrong fork in river. I fought the current for a while, trying to turn us around to glide through the narrow entry.  No such luck. When help arrived on his solo floatation device it was in the nick of time to untangle Ava’s leg from the rope that kept trying to drag her under. Okay, I might be exaggerating here, but it was really hard to assess what was going on.

 

I was ready for an adult beverage. Our canoe plus still needed a bit of maneuvering. By this time, Ava opted back into the canoe and Calvin took to the tube. Ava turned out to be a quick learner and diligent paddler. We rested easy for a while, then we came to the concrete bridge. The current pace picked up and by some magnetic force, we were pulled in the exact direction I aimed to avoid – right into a fallen tree that hovered over the river about three feet. With a shove of my paddle, Calvin sailed out of harm’s way. Ava ducked and I got totally horizontal to grab the lowest threatening branch with both hands. After that limbo, the canoe rocked from side to side and onlookers said later that they were sure we’d tip.

 

I was too off-guard to do much of anything to avoid the concrete pylon that supported the bridge above. Luckily we sailed through, but it was too late to pull over at the stop immediately to the right. We ended up downstream on the left a bit, too taxed to paddle upstream. That’s when Ava, Calvin and I had the talk about chivalry. Five minutes later, my relaxed husband floated over to us singing the praises of the detached inner tube ride. I suggested Calvin try it out with him. I was down one kid. Things were looking up.

 

Mid-journey we pulled over to a sandbar so the adult boys could toss and catch the football one-handed and a few of us girls could do the same with the 10-13 year-old boys. We ate lunch, snapped some photos, hunted down fish and shells of sorts. At the upstart again – I took to the tube and made use of the drinkholder. That did work slick. I could see where he was going with this.

 

Be Your Own Warrior

Be Your Own Warrior

Then, all to soon (5:00p.m.), it was over. Our crew, tied together via Luck, WI, highschool graduates, all made it through unscathed. The kids (ages 4-14) got to know each other a bit more, we didn’t have the challenges of finding daycare and it was reassuring to know we could pull off an all-day friend and family outing. We’ll be smarter about the equipment next time – solo tubes for this family, perhaps? 

 

And, in closing the debate around chivalry, I’m curious – what do women think? With the rise of the independent woman, might it be considered a thing of the past?  What sort of gestures are chivalrous? Ava was taking this all in… I informed her, it’s okay to accept it when the time is right. Like today for instance…. furthermore, if it does not come your way, step up and be your own warrior.  She thought about that for a moment, grabbed the paddle, and did just that.

 

Character on the Course June 18, 2011

Filed under: Activities — edamomie @ 4:35 pm
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A: Activities

Prior to kids, it was easy for my husband to get in 18 holes of golf and for me, I actually had a weekly gig at Theodore Wirth Golf Course in Minneapolis for 9 with the girls on Wednesday nights. After kids, the time commitment and expense of golf, tapered our ability to play quite a bit. Golf just did not happen due to many other priorities. I accepted this for years.
 

There milestones in a parent’s life when the kids are maturing that allow you to get some of your former life and self back. And it’s even better if it’s an activity you can do as a family, as we recently discovered on a golf outing with kids 8 and nearly 6. And my perspective, I can focus my energy on improving their game and not fretting so much over mine.

Fancy Clubs at Troon, Scottsdale

Fancy Clubs at Troon, Scottsdale


 

Ava, my now 8-yr-old, got her first set of clubs at age 4. We started with some practice at the range during the first summer – it was probably a five time occurrence. We also played some mini-golf, a confidence builder. By age 5, we took her out on the course to ride with us a few times. After teeing off and putting on the first 3 holes, it became less fun (I assured her I could sympathize). We always rented a cart, even though the past me preferred to walk. We gave her jobs like ball washing and keeping score. This continued over the next few summers to present. Often, we’d gauge the mood of the kids and if weather looked good and spirits were positive, we’d call up Hiawatha Golf Course and see how quickly we could jump on there. We also checked out Braemar’s Executive Nine in Edina.  We never had an issue doing this.
 

We hadn’t considered golf lessons for either quite yet and have not wanted to force their play – just expose them to it, make it fun and hope they join in. On a March trip to Scottsdale, AZ, on our family vacation, I wondered how they would withstand a group golf outing in the desert with snakes and the like. My husband, Chad, had not a worry about this and scouted out Troon North Golf Course in Scottsdale. Just for signing up for their free membership, our entire family received a free round of golf (twilight hour play required), complete with fancy clubs for the kids and carts. (I am still on their email newsletter list and wish we could go again).

Journaling About Golf

Journaling About Golf


 

I was optimistic. I hadn’t picked up clubs in quite a while. The kids were a bit restless, possibly over-tiredness from vacationing. Whatever it was, talking in the back swing, sauntering up into your swing-range, all made it difficult for me to concentrate this round. The scenery and togetherness made up for it.
 

It used to be Chad and I driving the idea – let’s go golfing! C’Mon, it’ll be fun!  As of this last Thursday, our family now had a new member championing for golf: Calvin, my soon-to-be 6-yr-old.  He anticipated our two day trip to Luck to visit Grandma and made sure his clubs made it into the trunk, even if they were the ones inherited from his sister. After his dad played 36 on Thursday, Calvin had his work cut out for him, convincing us that we should go.

Father & Son, In Luck

Father & Son, In Luck


 

Calvin won out. We got a 12:45 tee time set at the Luck Golf Course in Luck, WI, finished up lunch and off we went. Ava, was a bit unsure if she really wanted to go. Grandma kindly offered to come pick her up if it got intolerable. Green fees are weekly rates until 5:00p.m. on Fridays and with a grown-up, kids golf for free. We got carts. We were all set. Ava took out her journal and began writing, her head not quite in the game. Prior to teeing off on hole #1, she wanted to speed-dial Grandma.
 

Calvin was ready to take on the course with a no whining attitude I was convinced would end mid-round. He insisted on hitting every shot, not just off the tee and close to the green. I admired the speed with which he ran from one short distance shot to the next. A few times, looking a little annoyed to have to remind us not to talk during his back swing.
 

At the conclusion of hole #3, Grandma conveniently pulled up and whisked Ava away. I’m not sure what was going on, but I know you can’t always force a good attitude on the golf course. The three of us happily continued on. It was a beautiful day with a nice breeze, no pesky bugs either. Calvin’s determination carried him through the next six and seeing some of my shortfalls might have been a boost for him.  The video I shot was one of two only. He asked me to take it, so he could work on improving his swing. And for the record, we challenged him to make it in on the #9 par 3 in 10. He did.
 

To top it off, uncle Jay solved the shared club issue with a set of hand-me down clubs in great shape for kids 6-9 versus the other clubs for kids 3-6. I’m hoping for more positive family golf outings this summer – for both kids and adults -because we know that golf is a game of patience that definitely builds character. See you on the city (and Luck) courses!
 


 

To watch: rotate your head 90 degrees counterclockwise.

 

 
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