Thursday, May 20, 2010

The boy + bad-water chronicles

As in, two separate chronicles, combined would be a little too much for me!

First, the boy ... yesterday was the last reading-together day of the year. He was in rare form -- almost as good as the day with the pet bee. (pause to polish off delicious strawberries, reaching for chocolate soymilk)

First of all, he was practically bouncing off the ground (like a tigger) when he came up to me ... this has never occurred before. As ever, he circled the bookcart with great fascination, and I indulgently let him, b/c how can I blame him, even tho it makes the school coordinator tense.

Finally, I round him up, and we head for the classroom. He's carrying a McDonald's bag, also a first, so we're both sorta excited about that (true, me mostly excited by his energy/mood). He tears down the hallway, reads a sign on the wall in the process, and we discuss rainboots -- he's wearing his cool firefighter ones, I say I have black shiny rainboots (I omit the part about how they remind me of dominiatrix wear) but am foolishly not wearing them today, so then he asks to see my shoes, and I show him. It's pretty endearing/funny.

He zips into the classroom and sits down, pulls out the McDonald's lunch. He's really quite excited about it. Never have I seen someone eat so many french fries at once. I take a moment to point out that it's the last reading day and talk about how we can continue next year, if he wants to, and that I'm going to come back either way. I don't want to pressure him or anything but he says something to indicate he wants to continue next year. So that's encouraging. Whether it happens or not is another story, but I'm cool either way -- don't want him to continue if he's not into it or would rather have a different reader. Then I talk about the party next week, and finally he points at the books. I get his point.

Start reading -- the chapter book. The thing is, it's really a high-level book for a first-grader. I mean, the word "melee" is in there! He tells me his older brother is reading them too, so that's a clue. So I read for a few pages, then he makes a gesture, and I get that he's done with it. I kinda anticipated this, so I brought along two other picture books, one pretty simple that I know he could read, because I have a sneaking suspicion....

Sure enough, he reads it to me. There are only a few lines per page, but he's a good reader -- "artist" throws him, but he gets through "handsome couple" without a problem. Impressive! There's a full-page letter from the author on the back page that I want to read, but he's having none of it.

Think it was after this book that he, with a big smile, displaying adorable tiny teeth (do all kids have such adorable, tiny teeth? I've never noticed), says something that for the life of me I can't get. Not only does the kid not talk much, but he is sorta hard to understand when he does. He keeps saying something that sounds like "Danny" or "Dan" ... I'm completely perplexed, until I finally figure out he's saying "done." Aha! So I ask, done with reading or with these books or with me? Naturally, he says done with me, but with a smile. So I laugh and tell him that's cool, but he's got 5 more minutes and needs to stay in his seat, then I'll leave. So he gets up and grabs a book (If You Give a Mouse a Cookie ... adorable), and he lets me read that. Then it's the last-minute warning and he's dashing for the carpet so as to be first. He's always first to the carpet.

So, I rate all that as a success, given the mysterious, unknowable world and lives of first-grade boys.

As for bad water ... ugggghhhhhhhhhh. Man. This'll be short b/c I got my ass so thoroughly kicked by deadlifts last night, I need to be asleep and have things yet remaining on my list.

Upshot: it wasn't really windy today, so I thought conditions would be fine, and they weren't so bad, but....

But they still went from sorta to relatively to really quite sucky from BU boathouse to Mass Ave bridge to Longfellow, respectively. It was a technique day, so we were at lighter pressure and lower stroke rating, so that sorta made it easier, and yet....

It was steadily getting worse the closer we got to Mass Ave bridge and it was my most-hated conditions -- the one where the water is choppy and grabs at your blade, trying to tip you. Every so often, it manages to grab your blade, and my heart stops, thinking I'm about to flip. Not that flipping is like so majorly bad, not like I'm gonna die (that's only in December and March). But it's something I'm pretty set on avoiding, so it does bad things for my heart.

Anyway, as we're getting near Longfellow, I'm hitting the point where it kinda just makes me want to cry. It's seriously. Not. Fun. And, nothing to be done for it. So I toil on, my coach saying encouraging things and reminding me of the technique flaws that emerge when I'm freaked/tired/sick of battling bad water. We stop to spin not much later, and he, encouragingly (he's like the nicest coach in the world, seriously) says that I'm doing better/rowing better in it. I hear it, but it somehow doesn't change anything for me. I say it just makes me want to cry. He suggests maybe it's no longer the bawling kind of crying? I could see this being true.

I dunno. I know my technique will ever continue to improve, and the worse the water I row in (oh, deep sigh), the better other conditions will feel ... but I feel like ... there's something. Something I'm not getting or that's not clicking. Some facet of mental toughness that's yet unrevealed. I'm not actually so sure I'll get it. I doubt I'll ever feel good rowing in water like this. But I'm stubborn enough to keep going, regardless.

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