Swimming Lessons NDN Style

Cielo and Jr have been taking swimming lessons this week. (Every day, twice a day for 2 weeks. I need a vacation from my vacation.)

I never took swimming lessons, when people ask my general response is, “Ndns don’t swim…we like water but don’t swim. We frolic.” As a child and up til now I can count on my fingers the number of bathing suits I’ve owned. (Swim in cutoff shorts and a T? Don’t mind if I do.) Anyway, I want them to learn to swim so there I am hauling 3 kids, one of whom will NOT touch the sand tho I won’t name names (Diego.) We are the only native family taking lessons there. Maybe ever.

I feel like I’m taking lessons too because if I am not in the water my girl does not participate. She totally calls shenanigans on “swimming” as she would rather frolic. She is so my child.

I am reminded of being a kid and beginning school in town. Before at the rez school I never thought I had less (meaning material things) than others, until I saw other kids with more. It didn’t bother me, but it did embarrass me tho I tried to hide it. I thought those feelings went away but I’ve realized they have not.

It literally hurt my heart when I realized my kids were the only ones in their swimming class not wearing wet suits (the lake is cold yo.) It is not a requirement but I didn’t want them to feel different so I bought them each one. (Scored a sale, plus used $25 worth of Canadian Tire money cuz I’m thrifty like that.) When I showed the kids their response made me both sad and glad. They both said, “oh! It’s just like_____’s! Now I won’t be cold.”

I guess they noticed. Funny thing is, when I was a child I felt totally fancy if I had a “real” bathing suit. I still feel that way if you want me to be honest.

Now if I could just sit on the beach and read everything would be perfect.

It’s a Good Day to Dance

When asked what interests, motivates and inspires me besides Speech Pathology several things run through my mind:

1)      Shopping (certainly)

2)      Food (definitely)

3)      Social media (most assuredly)

However, my strongest and most important interests and sources of motivation and inspiration are best described by my twitter handle @ndnspeechmomNdn is an abbreviation of the term “Indian” which, although not politically correct is the term I grew up using to describe myself as a First Nations individual.  Speech seems self-explanatory and mom is the title I wear most proudly. 

The importance of family and cultural identity is the cornerstone of my life and is something that I plan to pass on to my children.  As a child I danced Pow Wow and was even once Thunderchild Junior Princess in 1986.  (If you’d like to see my beaded moosehide sash my dad has it in his man cave.)  It is difficult to describe the feeling you get when you dance to the drum.  It has been years since I was part of the Pow Wow circle but whenever I hear the drum and the singers start those familiar songs I can feel it in my heart.  Someday I want to dance again, but I especially want to raise my children to be comfortable traveling on the Pow Wow trail.  I was so proud on August 28, 2011 at the Thunderchild Pow Wow because that was the first day I got to take all three children into the center while they danced Tiny Tots.  My nervousness as to whether they would like it melted away when I saw my daughter lift her arms and begin to dance.  I was surprised because I didn’t even know that she knew any steps.  My sons were more reserved but they didn’t panic even with the crowds watching them.   I was so excited I forgot to take as many pictures as I would have liked. 

This compilation video includes pictures from the Thunderchild 2011 Pow Wow and several from my family photo album.  The music is a song called, “It’s a Good Day to Dance” by the drum group Blackstone. 

 

This is a video that I shot with my phone of the drum group that sat directly in front of us.  I was proud that my children enjoyed listening to the drum so close.  The two men visible onscreen are my cousin Marvin Thunderchild and my uncle Eric Tootoosis.  The name of the drum group is Saddleback and I believe they are from the Edmonton area of Alberta.

I feel as though my focus on family and culture serves me well in my professional life as well since I am a school based Speech Pathologist travelling to several different First Nations communities.  I find it rewarding to work with children in the communities around my home reserve of Thunderchild and I hope that I can encourage more First Nations  people to enter the fields of Speech Pathology and Audiology.   I encourage everyone reading this to partake in the beauty that is native culture and to feel the heartbeat of the drum.  It is always indeed “A Good Day to Dance.”

A day late…

Dear Diego,
This post comes a day late my handsome, but do not take that as a reflection of my love for you. You and your brother and sister always come first in my life. I did not get this post done in time because we had such a busy day at your party. I am sad that I did not get to take as many (good) pictures as I would have liked…I hope I will be able to get some from the other people that attended the party.

You are such a wonderful baby and have truly been a gift to our lives. Everybody always remarks how easy going and happy you are…I am constantly reminded how lucky I am to be your mommy. It seems like only yesterday I live tweeted your birth (I know, I know. I’m sorry. You probably will not enjoy reading that when you grow up…skip the parts about dillating.)

Did you know that on your birthday you awoke at 5 am to give me a big grin? Truthfully you ALWAYS awake with a smile (you did not get that from me) but this was special and brought a tear to my eye because you were born at 5 am.  It felt amazing to share the moment with you when you turned exactly 1.  (Bless your little heart for going right back to sleep after our moment.)  My boy I love you so much it hurts my heart.  I would give you the world if I could.  I hope you enjoyed your birthday…friends, family, laughter, pinatas, pony rides, presents, cake and best of all – LOVE.  Te amo mucho mi hijo.

Love, Mommy

Yes, that is a pony and no he didn't get to keep it.

P.S. Mommy is so assigning someone as a photographer next time so she doesn’t miss any special moments

Oh my god you guys

Things are going quite well, Diego will be three months on Friday and Junior will be 3 on Wednesday. THREE. Wow, I can’t believe how quickly time flies when you are sleep deprived.  Diego is sleeping a lot better and work is going well.  My back up plan of becoming an heiress still has not come to fruition.

OH!! I got a Blackberry Torch…it is SO SEXY y’all. *chickychickybowwow*

Back to my little (big) man

I was going to use the other picture when he was baring his teeth

That picture reminds me of Halloween.  We were so excited because it was our first Halloween in our own house.  We got over 150 kids, the lady who lived there before us said she never got more than 10.  I’m so glad we were prepared for lots of kids (I figured if I didn’t get many it could all go in Junior’s pinatas.)  Nehemias followed a custom that he says is common in Mexico—he cooked for the parents. OMG HIS TAMALES ARE AMAZING! If we weren’t already married we would def be now.  We live in a small town 10 minutes from my rez so people didn’t think it was strange…although they were surprised.  The next day I lost count of the people that came up to me to rave about his cooking while I was running errands.

Anyway, back to Halloween. It ruled.

She couldn't decide on a costume

She kept changing her mind...

Until she went back to her first choice

My lil' punkin

Luckily there was a back up costume due to an unfortunate diaper explosion

Today was First Nation Remembrance Day here in Canada.  This is a link to my late Mosom’s story from 1999, he has passed on now but I think it deserves a click.