Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Dragon boat race practice.

We survived our first dragon boat race practice, and that is quite a miracle since we are so freakishly out of shape. Although we are experienced kayakers, this type of paddling is different than anything we have done before, including white water rafting. It feels so awkward to hold the paddle, and even more awkward to take such quick and small strokes. Add the fact that I'm the most uncoordinated person ever, and you have the makings of failure. But, since they didn't throw me off the boat there's hope that I'll get better.

I had been awake since 2:00 a.m., and by 6:00 I was ready for bed. We needed to be at Mother's Beach in Long Beach by 10:00 a.m., and that meant leaving home by 8:30 a.m. I took a short nap, was about to fall into deep sleep when P shook me awake. It was really difficult not to tell him to buzz off and go back to sleep. But we made an eight week commitment to paddle, and to provide SS with the opportunity to be around other Chinese children, and families that are similar to hers. Spending time with Joe and Michelle, plus getting some exercise is icing on an already delicious cake.

After practice the group heads over to In N Out, to effectively negate any healthy effects gained from paddling by scarfing down burgers and fries.Thankfully Michelle had the presence of mind to warn us that it could be 2:00 p.m. before we got to In N Out. Since practice was from 11:00 to 12:30, we were kind of confused about what could take so long. The woman was not kidding, and we were glad to have cheese, crackers, fruit and chips for SS, along with water, juice, and sport drinks. 

I was paired with Michelle and P was paired with Joe. We paddled first, while Joe and P watched SS on the beach.  I felt bad about separating them, and hopefully they will get to paddle together in future dates. Some parents paddled on both sessions, and there's at least one parent on the beach watching the children. We are not comfortable enough to have both of us away from SS at this time. We trust Joe and Michelle, but other than that one of us needs to be with SS.  SS really surprised me by getting in the water almost waist deep. That water was very cold, so on top of her rash guard I put on her wetsuit (bumble bee like of course), and added her PFD just in case.  Maybe a bit of an overkill, but our girl has no baby fat to keep her warm.

Something funny happened when we were with SS. There was a man with his daughter, who appeared to be around eight years old.  They each were on a kayak, which by the way, they make kid kayaks, can't wait to get one for SS, and get her paddling.  The father was heavily tattooed, arms, shoulders, legs, and of course shirtless. We see SS looking him over and goes up to him, and talks to the guy (for which she was in major trouble with us, no talking to strangers). We thought she was asking about his tattoos, and I prepared myself to be embarrassed. Turns out the guy had pink nail polish on, yes, our child totally ignored the tattoos, but honed in on his pink nails. The guy was gracious, just told SS that he has a daughter, and she did his nails. 

At In N Out one of the group leaders came to our table to ask SS if she wanted to seat with the big girls. SS shared a table with a stunning sixteen year old girl, who is also very mild mannered. We were hoping some of her serenity would rub off on our loud mouth child. Maybe in the next seven weeks it will happen.  This particular teen started paddling when she was seven years old (now children must be eight to paddle), and this is her ninth year participating.

P talked to one of the fathers, who is a member of FCC. According to him the FCC families get together only about four times a year, so they actually prefer the interaction during the eight weeks of practice.

The area where we paddled was surprisingly tranquil, making even the coward in me comfortable.  We are going to bring our kayaks next week, to get some paddling done before practice, and during our time on the beach.  

We love this stroller, SS was initially less than thrilled about sharing her space with our cooler, and assorted beach needs. We did a good job of getting SS's rash guard, wetsuit, three PFDs, towels, and snacks. But we managed to leave SS's sand toys at home. It turned out OK, SS shared with the other girls at the beach, and had a good time.

All the little kids joined in the warm up exercises, but not SS. She quickly seized Michelle's cushion, and pretended it was Captain America's shield. For once, we were the parents of the wild child.

Poor Michelle and Joe were seated at the back of the boat due to our status as newbies.

SS and her friends went through the sour cream and chive potato chips rather quickly.

Our warmly layered daughter was much more daring this time, splashing around with her new friends.

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