Well, I completely failed at my challenge to blog every day in November...It's January! Well, a lot has happened. We finally got into our home and are still getting settled. Chris' mom came to visit for the holidays too so we did a lot of travel and fun. Now the Christmas tree is down, the kids are back in school and life is starting to settle in to a small calm and normalcy.
In the title I mention I'm blaming Lance. In the wake of Lance Armstrong's recent confession, I blame him not for laying low under the radar, but rather for something entirely different! Yes, another Italian experience! :)
Emily started taking an Italian dance class. It's sort of a cross between Hip Hop and Rhythmic Gymnastics. They use the ribbons and hoops but also do more modern dance styles. She really likes it and all the Italian girls in the class are very sweet to her. Whenever you sign up for a sport in Italy, the athlete is required to get a physical exam and a certificate of good health. Well, after much procrastination, we took her to the base hospital and they generated a very generic certification, rubber stamped and signed saying she's healthy and okay to dance. They also signed a couple of other forms specific to an upcoming dance competition that the dance company gave me.
I proudly took in my forms to the dance studio one evening thinking I've totally got it all together. Well, they look at this paperwork and they freak out! The certificate was not exactly what they were looking for, and they insisted I must send Emily to a Sport Specialist Doctor. They told me they would make the arrangements on my behalf and let me know what we need to do.
One week later, I get a hand written note with my "instructions". First, I must take Emily to the lab to have her give a urine sample and be tested for performance enhancing drugs. PERFORMANCE ENHANCING DRUGS FOR A 9 YEAR OLD GIRL WHO WANTS TO DANCE?!?! I am just in shock. I wonder, "Is this a huge problem in Italy?" Children doping? My first response was, "Have you SEEN her dance?" She's not terrible, but believe me, she's not on performance enhancing drugs. She's just a normal 9 year old girl who loves to dance! And that's how she dances. But none the less, I have to now explain to Emily what she is going to do and why. Boy, that was fun. :(
Then thankfully, the Dance Instructor picked us up this morning and drove us to the Italian Sports Doctor's office. I giggled when we walked up, because there were about 5 men in doctor coats eating pastry and sipping espressos when we walked in. This has become such a normal scenario for me but it still makes me laugh. Well, you could tell they were professionals because right away they came and greeted us to commence the exam. That was actually the surprising part ;)
Then we proceeded to the exam room. I was armed with a folder that had my and Emily's passports and Sojourner permits, Codice Fiscale documents (akin to our Social Security Cards in the US), lab results for Emily's urine test, a passport photo and forms from the dance society.
Immediately they take Emily's height and weight. Then they give her some cards that I think test color blindness. Images are hidden in series of different colored dots. She named them all, in ITALIAN no less! (Proud mama!) Then she had another set of cards in which to find hidden images. Then the old Eye chart (and she said all her letters in Italian!) Then she had an EKG at rest and after exertion (running in place).
Meanwhile they ask me questions like, "Does she have any allergies?" (Fairly normal) and "Was she a natural childbirth or Cesarean?" (Still trying to figure out the significance of that one!) When we were all done, she walked away with several forms and a 26 page Libretto Sanitario Dell'Atleta! (Athlete's Health Booklet). Every sport she participates in must be listed individually in the book.
Well, we passed the exam with flying inkblots! And she is now good for 5 years! YAY! But boy, that was much more than I ever expected. Emily has participated in sports like dance, martial arts, and gymnastics since she was 2. I have never had to go through something like this. Only for daycare and school, but not because of the sport itself.
So of course in reality I blame no one, not even Lance. Just another fun aspect of life in Italy. I also will have to go through something similar as I have to for running road races in Italy. So thanks to Emily, I know what to expect!