We are taking a short break and we’ll be going to la Gomera for a couple of days. We leave by plane on tuesday and return home on thursday. A short trip but very welcome to break up our daily routine.
We will be going with a few friends and at la Gomera we rented a big car for 7 people where we can all just fit. In addition to a big car we also rented a big house, hopefully with a garden so we can maybe even have a bbq! It will be quite the adventure. Of course there is also a big celebration! It is Alan’s birthday, so there will be a great party.
I will become a coach. The date we have to focus on is Saturday the 19th. The event is the Kids Race 2022, in Maspalomas. Alex and Alan will have to perform then. Alan will run 300 meters, and Alex needs to cover 1000 meters. The kids have developed some nasty habits for the weekends where they quickly get bored, and often the situation deteriorates rapidly into fighting. I hope to change this behaviour by focussing on something physical in the mornings. We will do a couple of training sessions, just like the real deal.
Usually we go to these running events without any preparation. The distances are so small that the kids can easily run them, and just participating is much more important than actually winning. This time I want to try and get a good result. Finish in the top 10. We need to approach this professionally. Evaluate the distance. Find out a good speed. See how much sprinting they can do. We have two weekends to prepare and train. If we go on Saterday and Sunday we have 4 sessions available. If they both try their distance twice it should be more than enough preparation. If they train in the morning they don’t even need to change their weekend routines (hopefully with less fighting).
Warming up. Walk to Romano (the track), do some jumping, some stretching, maybe a few push ups.
Review the track. Walk the entire distance, and discuss the optimal approach to running the distance in a good/easy/fast way.
Alan: 300 meters. First a small candy for some extra energy. Start running normally the first 220 meters, and finish with 80 meters superfast. Drink water and relax/rest. Do this twice! I will measure the time.
Alex: 1000 meters. First a small candy for some extra energy. Start running normally the first 300 meters, then slow down a bit for 300 meters to regain strength, then another 300 meters normally and finish with 100 meters superfast. Drink water and relax/rest. Do this twice! I will measure the time.
Cooling down, a few jumps, stretch, discuss results, walk back home.
The results really are not so important. If the kids have a good time that is the only important thing. The preparation is more meant to stimulate the kids and to prepare them a bit. If they reach their goal of finishing with the first 10, well, thats great! It will boost their self-esteem, which is great. If they just finish that is also great. They will have prepared for something, and gave if their best try. This is also something to feel good about.
Alan is just five years old, but that is enough to have some very clear ideas. He also has a bigger brother that serves as a perfect example. When Alex takes flight with a paraglider, it is clear that Alan will do exactly the same. Alan flew up to over a kilometer high, passing right through the clouds. Then flew around for a while checking out the scenery and went back down to earth for a very smooth landing.
Preparation, equipment check, double check, patiently waiting for a breeze, take-off, flight, journey into the clouds and, very important, the landing were anxiously watched by Alan’s parents, but Alan also had some very special attention! The instructors daughter (already an experienced para-glider herself), who made sure everything was okay and Alan was in good hands :).
After Alan’s journey he told us he had a great time, but once his flight outfit was removed he almost ran to a nearby almond tree to pick some Almonds. It made me suspect that Alan was still a bit to young to realize the value of this experience. Something which was clearly different with his bigger brother.
Alan’s flight resulted in a great experience for him, and some great photos and videos for us. If you want to float across the valley on El Hierro you can do it with Ondrej from Fly El Hierro. A massively experienced professional who provided a great experience. Highly recommended when jumping with kids!
Alex is only 10 years but that did not stop him from conquering his fears and making a big jump. We are so proud of him and he had a really good time. As a preparation we first went to just look at the whole process. Everything involved from preparation, gearing up, checking and double checking everything. Getting ready, patiently waiting for a good breeze, take-off, flight and, very important, the landing at the end.
The first day we only observed. Alex had started out a bit anxious, but quickly became more and more confident as we got to know the instructor a bit and familiarized ourselves with the routine involved. The next day Alex was the first who wanted to go. He took off to the skies and went up to over a kilometer high! He dived into the clouds, and got to handle and turn the para-glider. After a bit of sightseeing from the sky he went back down for a smooth landing. After Alex showed the way his little brother Alan also ventured into the skies.
Alex was very happy with his jump. His instructor told us that Alex was really enjoying himself up in the air. It was a great and valuable experience for Alex, and together with the preparation we did a day earlier it is easily the best experience Alex had during his holiday this year. He has really grown because of this experience. Adapting to a new situation by first observing, gaining trust, and shedding unjustified fear is a lesson that can prove valuable for the rest of his life. For Alex it easily won over his other experiences like the boat trips, Loro park, Siam park, the encounter with an octopus, the watering of lizards, various swimming pools, forest walks, the bbq, etc.
Alex is already planning his next flight. The next time he wants to do something special. Solve a Rubiks cube while up in the air! We are still evaluating if this is something we are confident with. Alex’s instructor Ondrej on El Hierro is literary one of the best para-glider in the world, but paragliding is still an inherently dangerous sport (hanging in the sky at a huge altitude with nothing but a couple of strings connected to a big sheet == clearly dangerous, even if the instructor is packing a backup parachute), so we need to see if this is something we want to repeat closer to home.
Alex’ flight resulted in a great experience for him, and some great photos and videos for us. If you want to float across the valley on El Hierro you can do it with Ondrej from Fly El Hierro. A massively experienced professional who provided a great experience. Highly recommended when jumping with kids!
Alan is 5 years. He is growing up very fast. Today we had a big party! Complete with masks we went to the crocodile park where we celebrated Alan’s birthday. We had a great time and Alan even got to hold a crocodile. After the croc-holding we had cake and presents!
This year the sint will have quite a boring birthday. There will be no parties and no gatherings. Still we seem to have gotten lucky and we received a letter from the Sint.
Dear Alan, Alex and Dario,
This year I am forced to celebrate my birthday a bit differently. Normally I go to hotel Barbacan in the south to celebrate my birthday with all the Dutch kids, but this year my plans for Sinterklaas have changed quite a bit.
This year I will stay at home, but I sent out my helpers to bring presents to all the kids that have been good. I have included a letter for you guys. I hope that Alex can help you if something needs to be translated to Spanish. All the kids that have behaved well last year will receive a gift, and in your case you have all been pretty good.
Alan, I want to congratulate you with your birthday tomorrow. I have been told that you started playing the piano this year, and that you are really trying hard to do a good job. This is really great! I love piano music and I am happy you started to learn how to play the piano. Your teacher told me you also started reading, and you are doing very well. Very good Alan! I would like you to think about this. When you get bigger people will start to expect more from you. Keep trying to do your best, and try to avoid fighting with your brother all the time.
Alex, this year you broke both your arms! That must have been a terrible experience. I’m happy your arms are slowly getting better but I would advice you to tke things a bit slower and be a bit more careful. I hear you are doing very well at school. This is super important for your future, and I hope you continue to do your best. Please try to not get angry when your parents tell you it is time to stop playing with your tablet.
Dario, you did very well this year. I am very happy with your school results. I have also seen a couple of your drawings. They looked very good and I thing you should keep drawing. Please try to be a bit more organised at home. Cleaning up your stuff after playing will keep your new house nice and clean.
I have one more piece of advice for all three of you. You keep getting bigger and are growing up really fast. One thing important about growing up is realizing that your actions have consequences. Whatever you do can effect your family, your friends or your surroundings. You should try and be aware of the effects you have, and you should all try to behave in a way that makes the effects positive for yourself and for others. Fighting and getting angry will never get you good results. Try and think about this, because this is what is important in growing up. In the end helping others will make things easier for yourself.
I can see that you are all doing very well. This makes me very happy. Next year I really hope to see you personally, and I hope this year you are happy with your presents.
This year Alan started taking piano lessons, just like his big brother. Normally he goed to the classes with his mother but today was the first time I accompanied him. The class was filled with 6 kids each with one parent. Alan was quite happy to be in the class, but it was clear that this was not the case for the majority of the class. Four kids were quite unhappy, and some did not want to touch the keyboard. One even looked to be asleep. Only Alan and one other kid were learning. Now if we can try and get Alex to practice at home for a few minutes a day I’m sure we’ll have another musician at home soon.
Alex is a very unlucky person. At least it seems that way at times. A couple of months ago he broke his arm while playing, and luckily his broken arm healed very well. A few weeks ago it was the turn of his other arm. Once again a broken arm, this time the left one, and once again a visit to the hospital, a cast, and lots on inconvenience.
Meanwhile that have already removed his cast, but because the bone was not set very well he now has a strong plastic cast around his arm. Just make provide a bit of extra security for the time being. This way his bones can mend a bit better.