Dave and Cathy's Family Blog

November 30, 2014

November 2014 – Family Updates

Filed under: Lilah and Luke,Mom and Dad — dave9169 @ 6:00 pm


November Highlights:

Cathy Goes to San Diego and I go into Maintenance Mode

Last month, Cathy’s training adventures took her to Seattle. This month, the destination was San Diego where she attended Les Mills AIM 2 training, a course for instructors who are looking to take their career to the next level. As usual, Cathy came back tired and a little sore from all the workouts she had to practice and perform in front of a group, but she also came back really pumped and eager to implement the strategies she learned in training.

Part of what you learn in these classes is how to do the various fitness routines with proper technique, but you also learn how to really hone your presentation skills and let your personality shine so that you can control the room and motivate those around you to stretch themselves and achieve their fitness goals. The next step in the process is for Cathy to film herself teaching a class so that she can submit it to the Les Mills management team who then determines if she is ready to receive the advanced or elite instructor designation.

While the intensity on Cat’s journey has picked up, I am in full “maintenance mode” these days when it comes to fitness. What this means is that I scale back the workouts a bit, wake up a little later, turn down the intensity, and integrate other fun activities into my life, like surfing and snowboarding. After the new year, I will begin to ramp up for the upcoming triathlon season again, but in the meantime I am enjoying the mental break that comes with a less structured life and the peaceful state of mind that comes when you give yourself a little more freedom to roam and live your life at a more leisurely pace.

Lilah My Misophonic Girl

From a pretty young age, Lilah has had an ultra-sensitivity to sound. This means that when we don’t want Lilah to hear something we have to talk in really soft whispers and, even then, she can sometimes pick things up with what I like to call her radar ears. However, this ultra sensitivity to noises can also put Lilah in a bad mood when the sound she hears is one she deems “annoying.” Among her chief irritants are the noises people make when they eat, drink, chew, sniffle, cough, and breath. The other day, Cathy went to the movies with her and Lilah complained that Cathy was “breathing too loud.” Lilah did a little research on the Internet and came up with a self-diagnosis for her condition: misophonia, which you can read all about on Wikipedia. So what do I do when Lilah complains about my chewing? I do what all dads do, I get real close to her and start crunching whatever I’m eating right behind her ear extra loud ;-). Luckily, I’ve noticed that she seems less sensitive to these “annoying” sounds when she’s in a good mood. But when she’s in a bad mood, look out.

She’s also the type of girl that gets easily annoyed by people misbehaving or acting stupidly and she’s not one to sugarcoat anything. Reminds me a lot of her grandma and, to a certain extent, her mom. These are the types of things I learn in the car when driving teenage girls home from school. When you turn down the radio you can hear friends make comments like “Lilah, you find everyone annoying,” or “Lilah, you don’t have to be so mean,” in reference to her being brutally honest with her responses. I asked Vicki what Lilah had said. Vicki explained that she was waiting for a friend to text her back. Apparently, it was important for her friend to text back, but she told Lilah that she didn’t think she was going to hear back from her. To which Lilah nonchalantly responded, “No, you’re not.” Lilah laughed as Vicki told the story and asked her, “Well, what did you want me to say?…Did you want me to say, well, maybe they didn’t get your text or maybe they are out of range and won’t be able to text back till later.” And Vicki said, “Well, yeah, something like that.”

So what I’m learning about my daughter is that even though she has friends, she is very selective about who she lets enter her inner circle. And even when you are in her circle, for better or worse, you will always be able to count on Lilah giving it to you straight – no fairy tales or rainbows here.

Luke Aiming to Give Lilah Competition in the Straight A Student Department

For years, Lilah spoiled us with her good grades — we dropped her off and picked her up from school and she delivered the grades. Then came Luke and things got a little more difficult. He did not have the drive to do the extra work required to achieve high marks. We didn’t pressure him to get better grades, but we did make sure he stayed on top of his homework and did the best he could, which Lilah would always remind us wasn’t ever as good as her. This year, during one of our many dinner conversations, Lilah said something about how Luke better not get a cell phone before she did (8th grade). I hadn’t really given the matter much thought and I don’t think Luke had been particularly insistent in asking for one. I took this as an opportunity to ask Lilah if Luke could have a cell phone if he earned straight As in middle school. She said that she got straight As in middle school and didn’t get a phone. I said, I know, but it might make some things easier for us if Luke had a phone earlier — assuming he could get the grades. Luke just kind of shrugged his shoulders about the offer as if not caring one way or the other. Later, I told Lilah that she probably didn’t have to worry about Luke getting the phone because he wasn’t as good of a student as she was. She laughed and snickered and said I was probably right.

Well, we are a third of the way into the school year and Luke recently let me know that he now has straight As. This didn’t come as a complete surprise to me because I’ve seen that he’s been checking his grades online on a regular basis (something Lilah also does) and he’s been constantly updating me on his status throughout the trimester. For the longest time the story was: I have mostly As and Bs, then it was As and B pluses, then it was I have all As and one B, and then the straight A announcement. As I continue with my “non-parenting” approach of not being too involved (which means not asking for grade updates), I see that Luke has taken it upon himself to do the work it takes to achieve his goal. When he gives me his status updates from time to time, I do make sure I tell him I’m glad that his hard work is paying off. But other than that, I think Cathy and I are almost back to the point where we were with Lilah — just drop him off and pick him up and let him take care of the rest (although I do know Cathy helps Luke with his homework from time to time). In any case, this just reinforces my belief that you do not have to over parent by putting so much pressure on your kids to achieve good grades — I know cases where this happens and I don’t think it fosters the kinds of relationships we want to have with our kids. If your kids aren’t succeeding in school, then no amount of berating or shaming them into it is going to get them there. Sure, there may be cases of those types of approaches working, but what is that really teaching your kids — fear, self loathing, manipulation? I think a better approach is to get them the help they need if they are struggling and that help can come in many forms: giving them more of your time, finding a good tutor, not over scheduling them with out of school activities, taking them out of a class that may not be right for them, etc.. Well, at least that’s the approach that’s working for us and we’re sticking to it.

Thanksgiving and Las Vegas

This year, my mom’s nephew Claudio came to stay with her and my dad for an extended 2+ month stay. During his stay, my parents have taken him to a few places including Hollywood, the Long Beach Aquarium, Malibu, Santa Monica, etc., but due to some knee issues my mom is having, she wasn’t going to be able to take him to Las Vegas, a trip she normally tries to do when people from our extended Chilean family come visit us. Fortunately, my sister and I had the Thanksgiving break to try to squeeze in a quick trip.

We celebrated Thanksgiving at our place as usual, but the very next day we got into the car and took a nice road trip to Vegas. Since Andres had to work, my sister and I went together along with Luke, Sebastian, Nicolas, and Claudio (my girls, Lilah and Cathy, happily stayed home). I recalled that it was just under a year ago that my sister and I had a blast on another trip we took together to Tennessee. This trip, was more of the same. We used the long road trip to do a lot of talking, laughing and reminiscing.

In Vegas, we stayed at the Golden Nugget in the historic downtown area. There, the kids shot through Fremont Street on a zipline, swam in the pool and slid down the water slide that goes right through a giant aquarium filled with some pretty spectacular fish, including quite a few sharks. We had perfect Goldilocks weather for our trip (not too hot and not too cold). At night, we took everyone to the strip to see the V variety show as well as the light and water show at the Bellagio (the kids really loved the variety show — I highly recommend going as it’s got a little bit of everything for a very reasonable price). Claudio experienced a real Vegas buffet for the first time, which included a Thanksgiving section with a carving station for prime rib and turkey. At first, Claudio thought you were only allowed one serving of food, but we quickly cleared up the confusion for him which led him to make many more trips — we’re always glad to help that way.

For the most part, we had a remarkably good time, free of much stress or drama. The only “incident” to speak of was when we were about one hour away from home. Nicolas had been complaining for a while that he wasn’t feeling good in the car so when we got to Northridge, I had my sister get off the freeway and drive to a neighborhood right next to the freeway. I took Nicolas on a walk to find a place for him to throw up. We found a pretty good spot but I could tell that Nicolas felt a little too self conscious and embarrassed to do the deed out in the open. No problem, that’s when I told Nicolas all he had to do was think about some greasy french fries, chili and cheese. He then said, “Oh Tio David, stop,” and proceeded to throw up. Mission accomplished. When he got back into the car he felt much better. To the point that we were even able to joke around about it and call him “superchunk” a not so subtle reference to what he had thrown up just a short while ago.

That’s all for now…More next month!

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