Kate's awesome Daisy troop leader organized a great outing for the troop: Rock climbing.
I, for one, thought it was a fantastic idea. And it couldn't have come at a better time for my girl. Ever since Hubby/Daddy and I left for Kaua'i, my Kate has lost a bit of her... Kate-ness. Her perpetual sunny-ness, her verve, her spunk, her "nothing's gonna stop me" presence. (Don't get me started about the guilt of this developmental challenge, either. It's not pretty, here on the inside, watching your precious 6 1/2-year-old -- NOT sixTEEN and a half-year-old -- have such a crisis of confidence.)
Anyway. Kate has always had pretty impressive strength for her perpetual itty-bitty size (all part of having Noonan's Syndrome), and until recently, hadn't met a physical challenge she didn't attack with enthusiasm. I figured that a rock climbing expedition (in a safe, controlled environment) could be just the perfect thing to re-instate her unflappable composure.
And then, a couple of weeks ago when I noticed it on the Daisy schedule and transferred it to the family calendar, I told her about the upcoming adventure.
She was petrified.
She begged me to not make her go.
I couldn't hardly believe what I was seeing: My confident Kate, shaking in her proverbial boots.
Shocking. Absolutely shocking.
Well, needless to say, I made up my mind that we were going, no matter what. And I was certain that my Mother's Intuition had it right: She'd break-through her uncharacteristic fright-laced wallflower attitude and shine, once again, with her magically charming, unbridled Kate-brand of self-assurance.
Once again, my so-called "Mother's Intuition" failed me. *Sigh*
However, she did face her fear, though with trepidation. Which is certainly a win in and of itself. See for yourself -- photos of some of her experience are right below.
All buckled in to the climbing harness and ready to go:
Watching and encouraging her friends:
Facing the wall with the instructor providing some tips:
Notice that she has not only the red rope attached to her (which is customary, and you can see the instructor guiding it in the above picture), but she also needed what I think the instructor a "lead rope" (also red). (It's entirely conceivable I'm mis-remembering his term, of course.) You see, since my baby is not quite 38 pounds, she isn't heavy enough to simply lean back and let her weight bring her back to the ground. The "lead rope," which you can see coming down over her foot, was so we could pull her back down.
And yet, she was brave enough to flash me a smile over her shoulder (though forgetting to keep her feet on the footholds...):
Going a little further each try:
While many of her friends were able to climb the whole wall and move on to more challenging climbs, they are all, of course, well beyond Kate's size (tenth percentile for weight and fifteenth percentile for height). She made her personal goal to get past the small black and yellow sign (click on the photo to enlarge it), and by golly, she made it!
While rock climbing didn't turn out to be the catharsis for Kate that I'd anticipated, I am still so very proud of her efforts! And many thanks to our outstanding Daisy leader for planning such a great outing.
Melissa Lasko http://abrokencompass.com
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