Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Hair bows, glitter, and zebra print, oh my!

My little one has always had a strong sense of style and I try my hardest to let her go with it, as long as it’s tasteful.  Looking through her closet the other day has made me realize how much of a tween she has become, even though she’s only 7.  Most things have some sort of bling, including her shoes.  Matching hair bows are a must, and this from the girl who wouldn’t let me put anything in her hair when she was a preschooler.  The accessories are beginning to look like they belong in a zoo.  She has told me that “zebra goes with everything, mama.  It doesn’t have to match, but it goes. Let’s not forget the funky tall socks.
When did this start?  When she started cheer.  That might be a coincidence, but I’ve noticed that she’s much more conscious of what she wears and wants to look like the “big” girls.  It used to be that any bow would do as long as her hair is up like her coaches wanted.  Suddenly, girls in the gym that she looks up to are oohing and ahhing over the bows that match their team and gym shirts, and she HAS to have them.  New tall socks are worn on one of  the other teams and the world will end if she doesn’t have a pair or ten.  Let’s not even get into the zebra practice shorts.  Eek!   Now, I don’t think that this is all necessarily a bad thing.  Developing a sense of style and having the confidence to pull it off is a great trait and one that I didn’t really have until my 20’s.  Getting caught up in the “gotta have its” is not something I want to encourage.  It’s going to be tough finding the right mix of copying styles, letting her have her own voice, staying age appropriate, and not giving in to every little whim.  I guess that’s one of my lessons as a Cheer Mom in Training.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Jumping in Feet First

2 years ago we received something in the mail that changed our lives forever.  Was it a notice that we’d won the lottery?  Was my husband’s job changing?  Did we discover a long-lost relative that had left us their entire fortune?  No.  It was a postcard from a local cheer gym.  My 5 year old saw it; her eyes lit up; and she said “Mama.  I HAVE to do this!”  Now, I grew up just across the river from Kentucky where cheer is serious business, even back in the stone ages when I was in high school, so I had an inkling of what was involved.  Or so I thought---ha!  I showed it to my husband, assuming that he’d say heck no.  Boy was I wrong.  We checked out the gym and discovered that they had a non-competitive squad that she could try to see if she liked it.  It was love at first high-V.

Last year we moved to a transition team.  One that was exhibition for the first half of the season and competed the second half.  What a great way to ease the girls into competition.  I think that it was more for the parents than the girls, though.  The season ended, and by the way how did I miss the memo that the season was 50 weeks long?!?!, and we assumed that my little 6 year old would stay on that team.  One thing that I’ve learned is to never assume.  She was asked to join a fully competitive team.  One that would be combined with girls ranging from age 6-11.  Yikes!  We fully trusted the coaches and figured how different could it be from last year?  She competed part of the year, so we knew what was expected.  Oh, no.  Life on a competitive squad is very different than life on a transition team.  Plus, just to make it more interesting I was asked to be squad mom and attend booster club meetings.  Might as well jump in head first!  Nothing like training by fire.

The biggest change that we’ve noticed is that the expectations have gone up.  The coaches realize that the girls are still kids, but they need the girls to pay attention, focus, and do what they are told.  The tumbling is scarier for a mom to watch (don’t those girls know that they could break their necks jumping backwards) and whose bright idea was it to throw a girl into the air LOL!  I know that we, ok I, will get through the season because my daughter loves what she does and her face lights up everytime she masters a new skill.  It’s just going to be an interesting ride.  Stay tuned for more tales from a Cheer Mom in Training.