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  • Koreen Liew-Young

The Parenting Journey to Double Gold

Updated: Jan 6, 2019

It's been two months since my last blog.

Boy has time flown by, and I haven't had any capacity to write due to an influx of graphic design work as well as preparing for World Masters Games held right here in Auckland. Participating in a event where people come from all over the world to compete, was a once in a life time opportunity. Even though life was super busy as a parent, no way I was missing out on that!

As part of training, I joined up with local club Auckland Central Volleyball to get regular training and maximise my game time.

Week after week, I fumbled my way through getting to training and built up my confidence gradually. When I first started, going to training with my toddler in tow, seemed nearly impossible and hugely overwhelming. This included sticking to a rigorous schedule to ensure getting to training on time which included, dinner, bath and any other last minute surprises that could delay us, such as temper tantrums or "poonamis" in the nappy. I just had to focus in getting to the gym and my husband would collect him from there.

So I held Mr M's hand (he was decked out in his superhero pyjamas) along with carrying two massive backpacks. (One for volleyball gear and one for Mr M).  I introduced him to all his new volleyball aunties, (my teammates), at which he was very shy. He would grip onto one of the volleyballs defensively as if someone was threatening to take away his most treasured toy. He would not even let up for a high-five nor an "E.T". Coincidentally whenever mummy played volleyball he instantly turned into a whinging clip-on koala. It was as if he had a "spidey-sense" to be aware when Mum's focus wasn't on him. While all the other ladies did laps around the gym to warm up, I had to carry Mr M because he wouldn't let go of me or if I put him down. His face would scrunch up and the tears would run as if his very world was ending. Very good for weight training but VERY HARD to do shuttles.

Were there too many new people/ too big of a space / too close to bed time/ is he teething/ going through a developmental leap?? I dunno, my Wonder Weeks app which helps to forecast potential clingy stages, only went up to the age of two and now I'm supposed to be able to read him like a book. Ha! Yea right,

Most times however I would just have to wait till Julian arrived to allow me to play. I was hoping it was just a phase, but turns out his "clinginess" continued throughout the whole season.But man it was AWESOME doing something for myself again.

Come World Masters, phowr, Mr M was in his element! There were so many other things to keep him distracted. He would ride his little bike into the stadium and the people parted for him like he was privileged little king.  Balls were flying everywhere and hot chips were at his mercy! (Big thanks to grandparents for looking after him.) I think he was just as caught up in the infectious environment just as we were and seemed to let all his separation anxieties fall by the wayside.

It was such an amazing experience meeting new friends from all over the world and sharing gifts with your opposition before each game. Even met old teammates and old rivals at the net which was a great surprise!

Meeting Logan Tom!
Meeting Logan Tom!

Also had the huge opportunity of meeting Logan Tom, four time USA Olympic women's team member and all around all star. I sheepishly asked to get a photo with her, and she gushed about how cute my nieces were while her 6'1'' stature pulled me in for an embrace. Super lovely. Also had a great opportunity to be part of a coaching and Q & A session (thanks Drew) by Logan and Hugh McCutcheon (ex USA Olympic and national coach.)

It was well worth the time and investment, to do it first with "The Mix", a team consisting of my brother and other good friends from the Chinese New Zealand circles in the 30+ mixed grade. Then secondly have the awesome opportunity to play in a team who are mostly all super soldier ex- provincial Chinese representatives in the 35+ women's grade for Terra3. (Thanks Ellen for asking me to play.) I was incredibly humbled and stoked to get the game time I did. First time to represent China!

Both of my volleyball teams collecting their gold medals
Double Gold medals!

Mr M was digging the medals I got  - judging by this photo he didn't see it as a big deal to get a gold! ;) But double gold is a once in a life time opportunity! :) Kansai anyone?

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