Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Mini Derin 5

Derin once again proved that she is definitely not a “morning person”. Her silence going up the Bollin chair spoke volumes. If there is a collision with people on the mountain and you are not sure if someone is fully conscious there are a few questions that you ask them. First you can ask if they know where they are – she failed that one – not knowing she was in Tignes. When asked her name she did reply “Derin” so that was hopeful. True to form when I let her go on the gentle portion of the piste she practically straight-lined it and ended up eventually off the side somewhere in the deep snow. I really wanted her to be skiing under control today so this was not an encouraging start. After about an hour or so I decided that she needed a hot chocolate to wake her up because it was going nowhere. Indoors I asked her to use her left leg and body to push against the magic wall (Tiffany in this case) and she couldn’t clearly remember what she had seemed to understand so clearly yesterday – so we revised it and it returned to her quickly. She admitted that she hadn’t been using the Magic Wall this morning. Tiffany tried a focusing exercise with Derin where she had to write a big circle in the air with her finger tip and keep her eyes completely on the finger while doing it. Absolutely impossible! Hardly a second would go by without attention and eyes darting off almost at random – and that was even after the hot chocolate. After getting back out we had to ship camp to Tignes Le Lac due to some sort of malfunction of the Bollin chairlift. Hopefully those people already on the lift weren’t stuck there too long in the wind that was building.

True to form Derin woke up for the second session. It’s easy to know when she is awake because the noise is continuous. When she got bored with me not understanding a word she said she would just sing endlessly to herself. On skis the Magic Wall magically returned and she was on top of things – able to easily follow me down the mountain. She started off being let loose about 1/3 of the way from the bottom and soon worked her way right up to the top – all except the narrow and steep entrance where it was simply not worth the risk. When following me I had to anticipate her actions because she would aim straight for me at any instant instead of following my tracks. The key here is to turn sharply so that she never needs to stay pointing downhill too long. Now we had the opportunity at last to get some useful and unassisted mileage under her feet. My line was designed to force her to almost stop and have complete control of speed on every turn until the flatter section at the bottom of the piste. I don’t think she was really aware of the function of this although I explained it constantly.

We had completed this without any incidents whatsoever several times so I decided to try to film her myself. On her first turn – near the top of the hill – she just pointed herself downhill and headed straight off totally out of control – a ‘tout droit” as the French call it – a favourite trick of young children. I had to let go the camera (thankfully hanging around my neck) after she failed to respond to my shouts and skate like mad to try to catch up. I thought I’d never be able to get to her but I managed to catch her and lift her off the ground before she impacted with anyone. I’m not sure really who was the most scared by this – perhaps me! I asked her why she had let that happen and she said that her hair had gone into her eye. In reality it was probably a necessary experience for her to learn that she must always turn and stay in control. By this time the weather was very wild and she was probably becoming distracted. For a little girl of four from Istanbul she was already doing incredibly well dealing with extreme mountain weather. She bravely agreed to do one more descent so as not to finish on a bad note and the next time she stayed in control again.

Below: Derin having some energy food between ski sessions after failing to eat lunch due to a doomed power struggle with her nanny and English teacher Tiffany, which caused her to spend the entire lunch with her neck warmer pulled over her face. I managed to avoid getting too involved – female psychology being well beyond me at the best of times. Getting back on skis did the trick of getting her to focus on other things and to forget her negative emotions. Afterwards she was very affectionate towards Tiffany – who obviously did a good job with her – and a great job of filming with my camera for the video clip.

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