Valentine and the Olympics
As I mentioned last week, I watched a ton of Olympics last month. Growing up, my family didn’t own a TV, but I remember my parents borrowing one on two occasions—the outbreak of The Gulf War and the Olympics. Honestly, I think the Olympics is one of the best things that our world does and I wanted to take advantage of every spare minute I had in order to watch all the different athletes perform.
Four years ago, Valentine was only a few months old during the London Olympics, so now that she was old enough to watch and understand the events, I included her as much as possible. It soon became apparent that she was an even bigger fan of the Olympics than I was ::
Michael Phelps made a big impression on her. I mean, he made a big impression on most people, but it was just hilarious to watch her geek out. At the grocery store, watching commercials, anytime she saw his face she would just scream, “Michael Phelps!” One day while she was swimming in her kiddy pool, she ran up to me and said, “Look, I can make Michael Phelp’s fierce face.” She made this serious face and I snapped a picture, not really know what she was talking about. But later, when I looked up a picture of his face, I realized that she had totally nailed his game face.
One time, when we flipped on the TV, I said, “Tonight, Michael Phelps is going to swim again and he might win another gold medal.” She just looked at me and said, “Mama, you forgot—he WILL.”
Even more than Michael Phelps, Valentine loved Katie Ledecky. In very short order her love became a kind of idolization. She said she wanted to be just like Katie “Luhducky” and when I gave her swimming lessons, she taught herself to swim in under forty-five minutes.
One day, she drew a picture of Ledecky fighting a giant, which made me realize that in Valentine’s mind, Ledecky is a super hero.
This is a universal experience for any child watching the Olympics, and it was so fun to watch her try everything she saw on TV. Now, I catch her using the curb as a starting block on our walks. During the week of the swimming events, whenever we went to the pool, she’d go to the side of the pool and splash water up on her body the way the swimmers do before jumping in. After watching gymnastics, she got it in her head that she would learn how to do a flip. She landed on her head every time, but she was so determined that she wouldn’t stop trying. She was sobbing in pain before I finally couldn’t take it anymore and stepped in.
Valentine and Gender
She was saying all kinds of funny things about gender during the Olympics. Here are some of my favorites ::
*while watching men’s water polo* “Mama! Those boys have big, big, big, big, big, BIG…hands.”
*while watching women’s track & field* “Mama! Why are those girls wearing undies?”
“Well, they are trying to run really fast and so they wear as few clothes as possible so the clothes don’t slow them down. Kind of like when you’re swimming and you wear less clothes so you can swim fast.”
*later, while watching men’s track & field* “Mama! Why are those boys wearing so many clothes???”
*after watching women’s water polo for fifteen minutes* “Mama! Some of those boys are girls!”
And finally, this is what happened the moment she found out that the Olympics were over ::
Exactly the way I felt. :) What were some of your favorite moments from the Olympic games? Who were your favorite athletes?