a peek inside the fishbowl

28 Mar, 2007

A note to my circus girls

Posted by andrea tomkins in: Easy ways to make kids happy

Dear Emma and Sarah –

I want to clear the air with you, just in case you’re reading the archive of this little blog twenty years from now.

As I write this, Sarah, you’re almost six. And Emma, you’re almost eight . I’d like to state for the record that I’m fully aware that you both may be heading toward a lifelong career in the circus. If it ever happens that you do join the circus, I should not and will not be very surprised.

It started at Christmas, when Santa brought you a pair of stilts and a pogo stick. That crazy guy! Should we really have trusted the judgment of a man who dresses up in a red suit and eats cookies at every house he visits … all around the world? I wondered why would he choose those kinds of gifts for my children. But his reasons became clear once the snow started to melt and the driveway finally cleared of ice.

here she isI’ve always known you two have natural gifts as clowns, but I never would have known that becoming a professional stilt walker and scooter-trick-girl would become your new goals.

Emma: you’ve taken to those stilts like a duck to water. At first I was worried. I mean hey, you’re the kid who took a year to muster the courage to ride your training-wheel-equipped bicycle.

How many times in your life have you heard me parrot the old saying: “practice makes perfect” ? But now you truly know what it means. Emma, it took so very few hours of practice before you started taking your first steps on the stilts. At first I didn’t want to help you up on the stilts (I wanted you to learn for yourself), but then I realized that that’s what we did when you were learning to ride your bike. We always gave you that “starter push,” and like that time so long ago, that starter push I gave you on the stilts went a long way to ease any frustrations you may have had about learning how to use them.

Just the other day you took 49 steps (we counted together) along the driveway without my help. Wow! I was so impressed. You only fell once that day. You fell on your backside. And you didn’t cry or make a fuss. You sprang up with a loud “I’m ok!” and got right back on. I was, and am, so proud of you. I only wish that my heart would ease it’s way out of my throat while I watch you negotiate with those awkward things while Sarah does her own tricks around your “legs.”

Sarah, you are a little nervous with the pogo stick. You tried it once and poked yourself in the eye. You need some more time with it. That’s okay. In the meantime you’ve been practicing the Hidden Arts of the Scooter. Sticking your leg out in the air while you sail majestically down the driveway, doing fancy jumps and stops and who knows what else. Historically, you’ve been the more physically outgoing of the two of you. When Emma was finally riding her two-wheeler at six, you, at four, were determined to do so as well. And you did. It’s because you see yourself as your older sister’s equal. You don’t see the age difference, and you believe it’s unequivocally unfair that she might be able to do something that you can’t. Unbeknownst to you, this has meant that you’ve accomplished a lot of things early in life. Biking, swimming, swinging … are all things that you excel at. That’s why I’m not worried about the pogo thing and your future career as a circus star.

You training has been going very well my little grasshoppers. We’re quietly planning a big circus-themed barbeque at the end of the summer. Our invite list is growing longer. Our unsuspecting guests don’t yet realize that they’re going to have to sing for their suppers and provide some circus-related entertainment. So far we know of a juggler and a unicycle-rider. I suspect that everyone will have a hidden talent to contribute, even if it’s the singing of a song or the recital of a poem.

It’s times like this I’m glad to have you girls in my life. Now I just need to start learning how to make a few more kinds of balloon animals and find a clown nose for your father.

Love,

Your Mumma

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2 Responses to "A note to my circus girls"

1 | Marla

March 28th, 2007 at 8:59 am

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If they need a monkey-child friend, who can climb anything and who grips things with her practically prehensile toes…I know someone. (eyes dart toward Josephine and back)

2 | Melissa R. Garrett

March 28th, 2007 at 3:51 pm

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That’s such a sweet letter! I second what Marla said – I’ve got three that can flip off the furniture and climb a door frame.

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The Obligatory Blurb

My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark. We have two daughters: Emma (19) and Sarah (17). I am the managing editor of our community newspaper, the Kitchissippi Times. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999. The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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