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The Girl Who Gave It a Try.

Fat Mum Slim /

Brought to you by Bupa.

I have kids that are naturally quite nervous. They aren’t the kind of kids who jump right into anything. They like to observe, suss things out and then decide if they want to do it. I’m the mum giving my kids a million pep talks at the start of most things to get them to be involved. I know they’ll enjoy it {I wouldn’t push them if they didn’t} but they just need a gentle, encouraging nudge to get going.

I know, because I was exactly the same as a kid. I was nervous and hesitant. Part of me wanted to give stuff a go, but a big part of me wanted to stay in my comfort zone. I watch as other kids at Lacey’s school and other activities passionately jump into new experiences. We had a new girl turn up to Lacey’s netball team who had never played the game before in her life, her parents dropped her off and she jumped right into that first game without any obvious nerves and played amazingly. I was kinda gobsmacked. Imagine being so confident to just give it a red hot go without that pep talk or encouragement. Imagine!

I have a rule with the kids, and it’s simple. All I ask is that they try. They can bow out half way through, if they really want to, but I just want them to give it a crack and see if they like it. Ninety-nine percent of the time they like it, and sometimes they don’t, but as long as they’ve had a try, that’s all we care about.

Recently I signed Lacey up to do the Sanitarium Weet-bix Kids TRYathlon. We went last year to watch, and cheer on friends, and then this year I hoped that Lacey would give it a try. Lacey is a great swimmer, can ride her bike well and although she doesn’t love it, she can run quite well too. The distances in the TRYathlon are really achievable {75m swim, 3km bike ride and 500m run}, and it’s not competitive so it’s a great environment for someone who is naturally nervous to have some fun in.

Lacey is 10 now, so I know her quite well, and I know that reward motivations don’t really work well for her. Telling her that everyone gets a medal at the end was exciting, but I knew that it would really get her excited would be having a mate to do the event with. So, I invited a family friend to join us {Rebel’s son, Cael}. Best. Decision. Ever.

They were both equally nervous before the event, but never at the same time {which was so interesting to watch}. One minute Cael would be nervous, and they’d be supporting each other, and then right before the start Lacey got nervous and he supported her.

The event is super family-friendly, with the Bupa Family Zone to make support boards for the participants. Check out the sign Ivy {Cael’s little sister} made for them. It was so cute to work with Lulu on deciding what she wanted her sign for Lacey to say, and hear about how excited she was for her sister to do the TRYathlon.

There were activities for all the kids, stalls and even coffee to fuel the parents. The support crew at these events is next level, and they really get kids. When we were putting Lacey’s bike into the transition area {the area they move from the swim to the bike element of the TRYathlon} a lady helped us place Lacey’s clothes to change into, and tell her how to remember which row her bike was in. When you’ve got a nervous kid, all these things matter so much.

 

 

 

 

As we spent time waiting, the kids pulled out the Bupa Team Talk cards that were being handed out, and started asking each other questions. We use the cards at home a bit, so it was cute to see them filling time and chatting around them while they waited. It was also a win to have them use them on the long drive home after the event too. {No iPads, winning!}.

When it was time to line up for the start, the groups were split into genders, meaning that Lacey and Cael had to be apart. Lacey sidled up to me, and the first and only time muttered, “I don’t think I want to do this.”

Enter, mum’s pep talk. I told her that nothing she was doing was new. She can swim that distance like a dolphin, she has zoomed further than that on her bike before and she recently did a cross country run that was four times as much as she was about to do. She could do it. I told her to focus on the feeling of pride she’d had at the end.

I noticed another kid on her lonesome with her mum so I said, “Hey, Lacey is really new to this and a little nervous. Do you mind if our kids hang out and do it together?” The mum was thrilled, because her daughter was nervous too, and they went off chatting and my role was almost redundant.

My new role was to wait on the sidelines while Lacey was practically a super star. I watched from afar as she lined up for the swim. I waved furiously so she knew that I was there watching. She gestured something to me, which I had no idea what it was, so I just smiled and waved in return. Later she told me that she was asking me to put the sign up to support her.

She swam, she rode, and I was right there waiting at the finish line for the last leg of her run. Look at her go.

I’ve never felt so proud. Like, I wish I could describe the way my heart felt it might explode because of all the pride I was carrying for my girl, who wasn’t sure she wanted to do it, but did it anyway. And did it GOOD. Most importantly though, she was so proud of herself, and so happy that she gave it a try.

While we waited for the others to finish their race, so we could collect her bike and head off home, we sat on the grass, and told Lacey how proud I was of her. It was such a winning parenting moment for me, and I wanted Lacey to know, and I could see her have this beautiful sense of achievement and self-pride too. We had a big juicy family cuddle, and Lulu leaned in and told her that she was proud of her too. It was such a nice moment for all of us, and hopefully one the kids, especially Lacey, remember for a long time to come.

Do you have to give your kids a gentle nudge to get going too? Surely I’m not the only one!

For more beautiful ways to connect over the little moments, you can click here. The TRYathlons are over for the year, but click here to find out more about the event and when it will be back next year.

@Fatmumslim