Eldest and I are gearing up for our second tournament, which takes place in Mississauga on Saturday (it's at Mentor College, 40 Forest Street, if you're in the area and want to come say hello - look for Team Douvris uniforms, we're the cute ones). We've been training pretty hard for it. Eldest even started adding more training a few weeks ago. Her technique is slowly but surely improving, and so is her endurance. Combined with a healthy clean diet and enough sleep, she's turning into a fine little athlete. But what's really impressing me about how she takes all this is her attitude. She works hard during training and doesn't mind getting yelled at (and yes, there are times when yelling is called for). When it happens she hustles and tries again harder. Which usually leads to praise and that seems to make her happy. She's even improved her attitude at home and with the homeschooling. Every now and then, when I have some computer work to do, I'll ask her to read something to her sisters (these days they're reading a mini-biography of Leonardo da Vinci) and she's happy to do it. She can also be relied on to coach her sisters (properly, that is) through their math or grammar exercises when I need her to take over from me. All this without neglecting her own work. She's also more thoughtful and helpful with chores; instead of waiting for me to ask her to set the table, she notices me preparing lunch and starts doing it. The other day I commented that she would be having fun at the tournament playing with her friends once they're done competing, and she said you know, Mom, I don't think I want to play and run around as much this time. I think I want to go from ring to ring and cheer other members of our team.

I'd like to take all the credit for this wonderful attitude of hers, but I can't. Most of it is her, of course, and being part of this fantastic competitive team has certainly given her a great deal of motivation to improve herself. And I'd say that's money and time well spent.