Friday, July 27, 2012

Swimming Lessons

Today marks the last day of a two-week journey in our household...swimming lessons.  This was our first year with all three kids in lessons.  Last year Matthew and I hung out in the shade trying to stay cool while Joshua and Anna had their first-time swimmers' class.  This year we joined in the fun with the Parent-Tot class.  It was fun.  It was a good experience.  It was a wonderful chance to get great quality time with Matthew, just him and me.  It was an important opportunity for both Anna and Joshua to learn they can do things they've never tried before, like putting their face in the water or jumping off the diving boards.  It was an incredibly important thing for the kids to do as we want them to learn to be good swimmers.

It was exhausting.  I'm glad it's over.

During the past two weeks, I have made a number of observations and learned some remarkable things, and to that end, I give you the Swimming Lessons Lessons of 2012:

1. I am the only parent my age to not have a tattoo.  This is said neither as a judgment nor as a statement of regret.  Just an observation.

2. There are women who have children the age of my own that not only have 10 different bikinis to wear but the body to go in them.  DANG.

3. A four-year-old girl - who can sit for hours of PBS Kids without visiting the bathroom once - simply cannot go an entire 50 minute swimming lesson without making her teacher take her to the restroom. 

4. The teachers of the 3-5 year old class are saints.

5. There is quite a bit of psychology that goes into making a two-year-old perform his swimming lesson exercises.  The toddler boy who refuses to throw his diving ring and go get it will happily "help" his mother who "dropped" the ring...four feet away from where she is sitting.

6. When in doubt, pretend your two-year-old is Buzz Lightyear.  Then he'll do anything.  He will also shout "to infinity and BEYOND!" while doing it, which is a bonus because it's freakishly cute.

7. There is nothing quite like the mixture of terror and pride one feels when watching one's six-year-old jump off the diving board for the first time.

8. It does not matter how well you plan or how much you prepare.  When trying to get four people out the door to swimming lessons, there is about an 80% chance you will be late.

9. Teach your oldest child to put sunscreen on your back as soon as he or she is able to reasonably do so.  Do not say "oh well, I think I got enough on my back, should be good..."

10. Spray-on sunscreen is a gift from God.

11. A six-year-old boy who scrapes his toe on the bottom of the pool will not get out to address the injury.  He's going to go right on playing until they call for everyone to get out of the pool, and only then will he remember to show you the gushing wound.

12. Lifeguards are amazing.  When your six-year-old's foot is gushing blood, they don't blink an eye - they just throw him on their back piggy-back style and haul them up to the first-aid station faster than you can say "ANNA AND MATTHEW GET YOUR SHOES ON NOW WE HAVE TO GO HELP YOUR BROTHER!" 

13. Given the opportunity to put his own shoes on, a two-year-old has a 50% shot of getting them on the right feet.  This makes no difference.  He will put them on the wrong feet 100% of the time.

14. Always put your toddler in the bathtub to take off the swimming diaper or you will have a carpet full of urine to clean up.

And finally...

15. It is sad to see your time in the parent-tot class come to an end because it was fun to get so much one-on-one time with your youngest...and yet there is a sense of great anticipation when you realize that next year you are going to get an hour every day for two weeks to sit in the shade and read.

See you next year!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Musical Beds

On January 1, 2012, our household passed an enormous milestone:

Matthew climbed out the of the crib. 

And out.
And out.
And out.

It was clear that the crib's time had come.  Since we didn't have a bed available for him, we tried just taking a side off of the crib and turning into a day bed, but he kept falling out.  This didn't particularly bother him, but it bothered his mother, so sadly we dismantled the crib for the final time and resorted to putting Matthew to sleep in his brother's bed...with his brother.

This arrangement made both boys more than happy, but it still bothered me that Matthew did not have his own bed.  Wouldn't this scar him in some way?  Would he grow up to tell his therapist "I never had anything of my own...they sold my car seat...and they NEVER GAVE ME A BED!" 

In mentioning this to a  friend one day, she graciously offered their old toddler bed as an option.  We had not done toddler beds up to this point - Joshua and Anna had just moved directly into the twin-sized trundle bed that has been in my family for generations - but in this case, a toddler bed was the perfect solution.  It fit into the kids' room with ease, and it meant we did not have to purchase a mattress - the crib mattress fit nicely.  Matthew loved the idea of "his bed," so all was well.

Until we went to actually put him in the bed.  At which point he climbed right out and got back into bed with Joshua.

We tried to convince him that he had his own bed in which to sleep, to no avail.  The boys had gotten used to sharing a bed, so they continued to choose to sleep together.  Which, in the grand scheme of things, really isn't that big of a deal. 

The toddler bed, in the meantime, was put to all sorts of uses.  While it was apparently not going to be used for an actual bed anytime soon, it was a great place to dump toys you didn't want to put away, or tuck in all of Anna's "babies" that needed naptime, or to be used as a sailing ship, race car, or rocket ship.  It did not, however, get much use as a bed.

That is, until the other night when Joshua asked if he could sleep in it. 

At which point Anna asked if she could sleep in Joshua's bed. 

At this particular moment, Anna and Matthew are asleep in Joshua's bed, and Joshua is asleep in Matthew's bed.  What's more, Matthew took his nap today in Anna's bed.

So what do I think of all of this?  Heck, I don't care just as long as they sleep somewhere...preferrably not my bed.

At least not till 4am.

Which is a whole 'nother blog post in itself. 

Sunday, July 22, 2012

A Real Superhero!

Anna loves bugs.  Actually, she loves all things referring to nature, but she has this peculiar affection for critters.  She will walk right up to them with no fear, pick them up, talk to them, and name them...and she always names them Anna.  All bugs are named Anna.

Yesterday, when she was helping me clean behind a shelf, a bug of some sort crawled out.  I did what I always do - I hollered for my husband to come squish it.  He came around and started to get it, but Anna cried "No!  DON'T KILL IT!  DON'T SQUISH ANNA!"  She then carefully picked up the bug in her hands, went to the front door, and released it back into the wild. 

Afterwards, in the kitchen, we were discussing Anna's Great Rescue Mission of the Bug Named Anna.  Anna, loving the attention she was getting as we re-told the story, exclaimed one of my favorite Anna-isms ever:


While I generally do not consider the saving of roach-like critters to be superhero work, I had to admit, she very carefully worked hard to save that bug.  As my brother said, that bug will tell her her heroic deed for years to come...or at least for the next 24 hours, however long its lifespan is. 

Fight on, Anna.  Be the superhero you are! 

Friday, July 20, 2012

My Little Naturalist

Last night we had a water night at church - you know, one of those nights that starts out with water games and quickly turns into a free-for-all with everyone getting everyone else as wet as possible.  Great fun!

When Anna came home, she was walking all squishy, and she made the comment "Hey!  I'm walking on water!"

My husband, being the fantastic father that he is, saw his opportunity to make a Biblical connection to such a comment, and nabbed it.  "Who else walked on water, Anna?" he asked, trying to start a conversation about Jesus.

Anna thought for a moment and proudly answered "the basilisk lizard."

What the what?  My husband looked at me confused as I burst out laughing.

To understand, you have to know what I know, which is that one of Anna's favorite shows these days is Wild Kratts on PBS.  Have you seen this show?  It's really very good.  It teaches kids all about the creatures in the world and how amazing they are.  Anna, being my little outdoorswoman, loves it and retains everything about it.

And yesterday's episode just happened to be about the basilisk lizard.  Which does, in fact, run on top of the water.

Teachable moment lost.  Fantastic story born.  Chalk one up for the Kratt brothers!

Friday, July 13, 2012

A Day in the Life

Today was one of those days during which so many absurdities occurred, it was hard to pinpoint just one to write about.  So I include as many as I can remember here for your enjoyment and my reminder to laugh. 

- This morning, while I was still in bed snatching a few minutes of solitude, Matthew threw the large jar of chocolate chips over the safety gate and into the living room.  My husband graciously picked up the scattered chips before I got up - while, admittedly, helping himself to a few along the way.  (I don't care as long as I didn't wake up to a sea of chocolate chips.  My husband rocks.)

- I set the kids up with breakfast and then tried to give myself a bathroom break.  While occupied with this activity, I heard Joshua yell "Matthew is throwing his shake everywhere!"  I emerged from the bathroom to discover that, indeed, Matthew had flung the contents of his breakfast smoothie all over the table. 

- I did laundry all day, which is not in itself absurd, but as I pulled the last load out of the washer, there were about 10 screws in the bottom of the washer.  I do not for the life of me know where they came from.  I can't see where they would have fallen out of the washer itself, and I wasn't washing anything with pockets.  it remains a mystery.

- I sat down at least three times to read my Bible and was interrupted by the phone.  I would have ignored it, but it was my husband.  All three times. 

- During a fourth phone call from my husband, I was in the middle of wiping my four-year-old in the bathroom.  On the phone, I asked my husband to please promise me that on our getaway date this weekend(!), I would go 24 hours without wiping anyone's bottom.  He replied "Well, I can't promise anything, who knows what the Lord has in store?"  Which I suppose is true.  However, the Word also says He gives us the desires of our hearts...this is most definitely a desire of my heart...

- I had to have a heart-to-heart discussion with Joshua telling him to fight his baby brother back.  You read that right.  Matthew needs to learn he cannot attack people.  Joshua is six years old and about to be in first grade.  Joshua needs to quit being the victim and teach his brother he can't sit on people.  Don't judge me. 

- I found Matthew in the kitchen trying to give Buzz Lightyear a bath in the sink.  Never thought I'd have to utter the phrase "Buzz doesn't need a bath right now."

- Matthew also informed me that my lap was, in fact, his lap, and he could therefore sit in it anytime he wanted, regardless of my feelings on the matter.  (He didn't quite use that language, but that was most definitely the message.)

- My children spent a significant portion of the morning in their underwear.  Don't judge till you've been there. 

And it's only 1:00 pm!  Who knows what the afternoon will bring! 

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Of All the Things to Say...

Yesterday my little brother got married. 

(That really has nothing to do with the story I am about to tell, but I like it and wanted to say it.)

Anyway, we have been staying at my brother- and sister-in-law's house this week during the wedding festivities, and the other night we needed some sheets for one of the kids' beds.  I was texting with my sister-in-law while looking through a couple of her closets and a set of dressers in order to find where she kept her sheets.  When she got home, she picked up Anna and said "Hey Anna!  Whatcha been doing?"

To which Anna replied "Looking in all your drawers."

Of all the things to say to the person in whose house you are staying...

(P.S. Congratulations to my brother and new sister!!)