Natalie started 1st grade today. All of last year’s nervousness was gone. This year my sweet girl was full of confidence and excited to go back to school. She has an amazing teacher and a sweet intern that will also be with the class all year. A couple of her favorite kids are in the class. I think it’s going to be a fantastic year!
In early June, Nat and I travelled to South Carolina to visit the SC Grandparents. We had a wonderful time with them. Natalie – a huge animal lover – was thrilled to spend time with their diverse clowder of cats. During our visit we took a trip to Congaree National Park and took a 2 1/2 mile walk on a boardwalk through a swamp. It was gorgeous, but we were a bit disappointed that we didn’t see any snakes. Natalie has a fondness for them as well.
From SC we flew to NYC to visit Sissy. She lives right on the beach on the Rockaway Peninsula. The water was freezing cold… painfully so… but we were at the beach so we went in anyway. We had a grand time splashing in the waves, building sandcastles, hunting for shells, walking the dog Stella and spending time with our sweet Sissy.
Natalie spent the rest of June having playdates, swimming almost every day, dancing at RCDC for about 11 hours a week, working on reading fluency and creating a piece of art for a gallery show in September.
Natalie has been asking to have her ears pierced for over a year. I thought the end of summer would be a perfect time since she can’t go swimming in public pools for 3 months after the piercing. Also, I wanted her ears to have plenty of time to heal before dance competitions start up early next year since she will have to wear her heavier company dance earrings then.
I did a bunch of research (as usual🙂 ) to find out the best place to go. The first thing I learned is that places that use piercing guns like stores at the mall are not the best route. The guns can not be 100% sterilized which can lead to infection. The people wielding them are not professionals. Reputable tattoo parlors that offer piercing use completely sterile utensils and needles. Upon a recommendation from a friend we contacted 7th Street Tattoo in Little Rock. A super sweet woman named Angela told me she will do ear piercing for children as long as the child wants it done (not just the parent’s decision). As required we took Natalie’s birth certificate.
After talking to Natalie, giving us detailed after care instructions and letting her choose her earrings, Angela set Natalie on a booster cushion up on a table. She carefully measured multiple times and made dots perfectly in the center of Nat’s earlobes. After getting my approval on placement she called in another piercer. The ladies each put a clamp that has a small hole in the center of it on each of Nat’s ears. Then in perfect sync they pushed long needles through the marked dots. The actual piercing took about 1/10th of a second. Natalie didn’t flinch or have a single tear in her eye. All 3 of us were looking at her asking if she was ok. She later admitted to me that it did hurt, but that it was just so very quick that she didn’t need to cry. Angela and the other piercer were impressed by my brave sweetheart. I was too… as I am every single day.
Natalie picked red earrings because “Red is a lucky color in China”.
Natalie and her 11 teammates had their final competition of the season this April in Little Rock. The baseball dance – shown in the second video below – won first place for their age group. It was a musical theater The car dance (a Jazz dance) shown in the following video got third place.
By the way, there is another little Chinese American girl on Natalie’s team. With their hair pulled back and stage make up on the two girls look a bit alike from far away. Natalie is the one on the left side of the videos and group pictures.
When I asked Natalie which types of dance are her favorite she said, “Jazz, Contemporary, Hip-Hop, Ballet and Tap! All of them Mama!” Natalie is just a beginning dancer, but seeing her face light up when she is on the stage makes her look absolutely amazing to me.
In April, Katie, Natalie and I hiked part of the Seven Hollows Trail. It was about 2 1/2 miles of very rocky, hilly trail. Nat had her hiking poles and she rocked the hike. The stone arch bridge was one of Gary and my favorite places. Natalie and I enjoyed getting to connect with him through the natural beauty that he so loved. Click on the pictures below for captions and a larger version.