Monthly Archives: April 2018

Mia loves playing goalie

In the final weekends of the hockey season, Mia got to play goalie for both of her hockey teams, the highlight of her season! As her mom and one of the assistant coaches for her over the past five seasons, it’s been a joy to witness her development, focus, self advocacy, and passion for this position as goalie. While I played hockey through college, I was not a goalie and was never drawn to the position.
Mia started to play hockey when she was four, see Preparing for First Hockey Season. The previous winter, she had skating lessons. Mia’s Skating, Play Detective with Me shows her early skating progress. Pretty early on, in her first season of house league hockey when she was five, Mia started to ask to play goalie whenever she could. Since she’s left handed with a smaller and less functional right hand due to a stroke at birth, we figured out that she needed to hold the goalie stick in her left hand. There was not any beginner equipment in the league locker for this opposite side glove/blocker, “full right”, or if we found it, it was way too big. So, Mia played goalie in her regular hockey gloves.
Mia is incredibly persistent when she wants something so she started to ask for me to buy goalie gloves for her. By December 2015, she was successful in persuading me. I still had my doubts but didn’t voice them to her. Instead, I delighted in that grin, got out some tennis balls and started tossing them at  her.
Pretty soon, she got a chance to wear the new gloves on the ice
The following season, when Mia was seven, she had an opportunity to play on a 10-and-under girts team that actually had players ranging in age from 7 to 12. Mia was the youngest. They played full-ice hockey, 6 vs. 6, including a goalie. Undaunted, when the regular goalie was away, Mia volunteered to play in net. She attended a few goalie clinics that the league offered throughout the season.
Mia kept working on her glove skills for goalie, off-ice. When she attended a week-long constraint therapy camp where they cast her left arm and she focuses on improving functioning with her right arm, her chosen goal was to improve her catching ability with that glove.

Around this time, she also got fitted for a neoprene hand brace to wear on her right hand. We tried having her wear it under her goalie catching glove and it worked for a while to keep it on more consistently, but she eventually said it was not as comfortable with the hand brace so she stopped wearing it.

This 2017-2018 season, Mia played on two teams, a coed Mite A team with just two girls, and an all-girls 8-and-under team. She asked to play goalie whenever she could, though both teams rotated the goalie position among all teammates. In a recent tournament, Mia was picked to play goalie for her girls’ team. And, they got into the playoff round of the tournament due to her lower goals-against total.
Our local hockey program offers to pay half of the cost for private goalie lessons, 30 minute lessons once a week for 20 weeks, and so I signed Mia up for that. The first goalie coach suggested a new helmet and a bigger stick so we went shopping again. Mia’s chest protector is a hand-me-down and her leg pads are on loan from our hockey program. I’ve done surgery on the catching glove multiple times to help Mia get a better fit. Still, several times each practice or game, she comes over to ask me to help put it back on which is a two-person job since she has less strength and dexterity with righty. She’s learned a decent butterfly move.
Initially, the coach we were assigned was a poor fit. He yelled at the Mia and coached 8-year-olds as if they were at a much higher level. He was not making any accommodations for Mia’s limited use of her right hand. It took me a while to sort this out as Mia was getting a ride to these afternoon lessons mostly with our au pair. Then, I went to a lesson and saw Mia in tears. She said she didn’t want to do the private goalie lessons anymore. With her permission, I wrote to the head goalie coach to express my concerns, and we took a break before trying again with a new goalie coach who was thankfully a much better fit. He immediately saw what Mia could and could not do, and gave her homework to watch YouTube videos of Connor Hellebuyck, an NHL player who catches in a nontraditional way. Mia learned a new way to catch, and continues to refine this. She has been so thrilled to catch pucks in games.

Here is Mia in action in some games. She ended the season loving goalie more than ever and tried out for next season to play goalie full time. I’ll still make sure she practices her skating without all the pads but her heart is in goal. She’ll play on a U10 all-girls team, seeing time in net every game.

2000 Days of Reading Aloud

When Zoe was in Kindergarten, I read The Reading Promise and told her about it and she asked how many days that father read to his daughter. 3218 days. Zoe wanted to beat that. We were already reading aloud most nights, but we started to keep track. Well, we’re nearly 2/3 of the way there! It’s hard to believe. Two thousand consecutive days of reading is more than 5.5 years. In that time, both of my children have grown so much. Zoe will finish elementary school in a couple months. She’s eleven, Mia’s nearly nine.

I started reading chapter books when Zoe was four. Mia was not yet two. Zoe’s appetite for listening grew until she could listen for as long as I was willing to read, sometimes hours per day, in two separate sessions, sometimes two books at once, one for each girl. We read some books many times, some series repeatedly. You can see our complete list of books on our reading streak page.

Zoe graduated to listening to audiobooks which meant that I was not the only source of read aloud pleasure. She could listen to five or six hours in a row, and often refused to get out of the car after a long drive as she wanted to finish the book. “Harriet the Spy” and “The Penderwicks” were early listening favorites on audiobook.

With “The Penderwicks in Spring” which was first published in the spring of Zoe’s second grade year, I started to read it aloud, and my pace was too slow for Zoe, not my reading pace itself, but how many pages or chapters we could read in one sitting. It was finite, and her appetite for words was not. She said, “Sorry Mom, I need to read the whole thing.”

Since then, it’s been a bit more challenging to choose books that have staying power for our reading streak. They need to be meaty enough to hold both girls’ interest, but not so compelling that Zoe wants to grab the book out of my hands to race ahead. We learned about the “Swallows and Amazons” series from a reference in “The Penderwicks” and the first book was really slow. These books are set in the 1930s in the Lake District and Norfok Broads areas of England, a pack of kids on sailing, hiking, and camping adventures without many adults in the action. There are references to “Treasure Island”’ and “Robinson Crusoe.” And, now we’re finishing book 5 “Coot Club” and starting book 6 “Pigeon Post.”

Zoe reads independently, devouring books, and I do not attempt to keep track of her reading. She prefers to read in English, historical fiction or sometimes fantasy, though she can read well in Spanish too. Sometimes I get piles of books for her from the library. More often, she requests them herself from the library and if she’s feeling particularly impatient, she’ll read directly through the Libby app. But, she prefers paper books. We still sometimes say that she’s a “book head” or “lost in a book.” The intensity of her reading is such that it’s comparably hard to get her to pause her reading as to get her off of a screen. In one reading binge over the Thanksgiving holiday, I know that she read more than 24 hours in a week because she was reading the “Warriors” series on an app called Epic, and Epic sent me weekly reports on the girls’ reading.

Mia enjoys listening to the books we’re reading now most of the time, but it’s not her special thing. She still has a sense of it being Zoe’s reading streak. So, when Mia and I have time alone together in the evening, she asks to play games. The hard part about games is that it’s more challenging to keep the timeframe in check and it’s not easy to stop a game in the middle. Books can be stopped at a chapter, page, or paragraph break. So, with games, I have to say, “We’ll play three rounds.”

Mia also has become a capable reader in both English and Spanish. Graphic novels are her favorite genre and she reads on her own every day. The most telling sign that Mia’s listening is that she comes out with vocabulary I might not have predicted. The most recent was when she started to say, “dismantled.” I don’t specifically know where or when she learned the word, but it’s now part of her working vocabulary.

I was away for four days last weekend, and I called each day to read aloud to the girls from “Coot Club” to keep the streak going. It was hard for them to have me away, and it was both nice for me to get a break and hard to be away. The reading for minutes together on each of those days over the phone was like a lifeline pouring connection into them, giving them my voice and a bit more of this long-running story to carry them off into sleep. On the day we hit 2000, and I told them we had, they asked me to blog about it, to mark the occasion. So, here I am.

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