Yay, it’s Friday

Not that it matters all that much to me which day of the week it is, but at least today there are no after-school obligations for the kids.

Yesterday Julia had a make-up swim class, since she missed Monday's lesson.  We didn't say anything about it when we'd scheduled it.  At that point there was still the possibility that she would be scared to go and would try to find reasons to get out of going.

I told her on the way home from the grocery store yesterday, before we picked up Alex after school. 

And she was fine.  "Okay," she said.  No fear, no tears.  Reconfirming for me that Monday she was genuinely sick, as if the vomiting hadn't done that already.

Anyway, we went to the pool last night, Julia all snug and cozy – and purple – in her new Warm Belly Wetsuit.  Alex has red.  These things are great - no more purple lips or chattering teeth.  Anyway, she went into the water with her teacher, Ms. C, and Alex and I watched from the bleachers.  Well, we watched, and also Alex drew pictures of collections of animals:  Animals from Africa…Dinosaurs…Sea Creatures.  

And Julia did SO well.  It's kind of culture shock for her, especially, in these lessons.  I think I've mentioned that before.  But the main things are 1) the kids don't wear any kind of flotation device during the lessons and 2) they actually are DOING SOMETHING during the whole half hour class.  Before, she was used to casually floating along in the pool with her classmates, maybe swimming, sort of, but nothing really intense or serious or scary.  She would have remained in that same class for another year, probably, because there was no emphasis on progress.  But don't get me started.  Anyway, this time around, she is LEARNING.  And it's not easy.  It's scary.  She's not tall enough to touch bottom with her head above water, so she really needs to keep herself afloat.  And she does.  Last night she swam from the end of the lane to the flags, which is, I think, about ten or fifteen feet.  She floated on her back, and the teacher slowly – talking to her all the time – took her hands away so Julia was floating all on her own.  I watched, remembering that feeling from when I took lessons an eternity ago.  And Julia stayed there, a little purple starfish on the surface of the water, until fear kicked in and she began to sink.  She was scared.  I could see it on her little face – that furrowed brow, the pout, the worried eyes.  But her teacher held her and talked to her and hugged her and worked with her, worked her through it.  It's horrible and wonderful to watch.  After the floating/sinking thing, Ms. C had Julia lie on her back, Ms C's hand under Julia's neck, supporting her.  Then they went up and down half the length of that lane, Ms C counting 1, 2, 3 and then having Julia turn over from her back onto her stomach and swim for another count of 1, 2, 3, and then flip back onto her back and float 1, 2, 3, and then flip back to her stomach again.  Over and over.  So Julia would know HOW to do that herself and NOT just sink down to the bottom in terror. 

And at the end of the class, Julia was all smiles, and I hugged her wet little warm belly'd body and told her how proud I was of her.  She got two stamps on the backs of her hands – they're big on positive reinforcement there – and then we headed back to the locker room, Julia somehow taller than when she'd arrived a half an hour before.


Let's see, what else….

Well, thank you to the people who have shared their spayed cat/abdominal stitches stories with me in the comments section of this post.  So far Softie is taking it easy (mostly) and her suture wound looks fine.  I check it multiple times a day (much to Softie's growing annoyance) and it is looking pink (not red or bloody) and healthy.  I apparently have strong, rapidly-healing cat stock here.

Funny thing about Softie – I don't know if I've told you about this before – she adores Alex.  It's funny – she's technically Julia's cat, and Scratchy is Alex's.  But really, they're all the family cats.  Of course, cats being cats, they decide where their own individual loyalties lie.  Scratchy, as I've said before, loves me.  I'm not bragging or anything, he just does.  It's obvious.  He is smitten.  And so adorable about it.  If he had opposable thumbs and was allowed outside, he'd probably pick dandelions for me just because.  In the summer, I mean.

But Softie – she loves Alex.  More specifically, she loves Alex's head when it's asleep and on a pillow. 

Last night at some point Julia was out of her bed and in our bed for a little while.  I brought her back to the kids' bedroom, and when I opened the door to go in, out of nowhere, Softie came racing past me, into the room, onto Alex's bed, and to his head, where she paced, purring LOUDLY and rubbing her cheek against his hair.  It's adorable and hysterical. 

I put Julia in her bed, tucked the covers around her, and Softie continued to purr and purr and purr, overjoyed at her luck.  But I had to put an end to her happiness.  Had to (gently because of the stitches) remove her from the bed and from the bedroom and close the door before she could race back in again.  If allowed to stay, she would have woken Alex up with all her loud, insistent affection.  It's only so cute when you're trying to sleep, apparently.  So Alex has asked that we keep the door shut so the cats won't wake him up.  (Scratchy would have joined in the fun, too.  He likes to attack Alex's feet.)

Softie accepted her exile without complaint.  She went back downstairs to sleep wherever she sleeps.  Just waiting, I presume, for the next opportunity to come along.


And that's it for the moment.  Have to get Alex to school.  Then it's back here for my big exciting project of the day:  I have to clean out the fridge.

Wish me luck.

7 thoughts on “Yay, it’s Friday

  1. Swimming lessons is obviously one of the best things you can do for your kids. But finding the right teacher is very hard. As a child I was taken to the public pool and ‘chunked’ into the deep end only to sink like a stone and had to be pulled out. Needless to say this caused more fear in my already non-swimming fearful mom who then unconsciously gave me her fears to add to my own. I grew up trying to overcome those fears of water and was resigned to the notion that is was something I’d just have to live with.

    For my own children, I searched for the BEST swimming instructor I could find, a 17 yr old member of a swim team who had already received a full ride scholarship to college. Kids are so good at teaching kids… My daughter was swimming the length of a residential pool at the age of 3 1/2! She’s a fish. Then at the age of 8 she taught her younger brother to swim. She had the patience to work with this little fearful boy. Today she works as a snorkeling instructor and life guard on day cruises out of Key West and formerly in the Virgin Islands. She’s in the water almost everyday and is right at home there. She’s very confidant in open water and makes other people confidant and comfortable when she’s in with them. That’s the key, becoming confidant. She even helped me overcome my fears last summer when she taught me to snorkel in St.Thomas. I have a whole new love for a part of the world that I would not have known about had I not had a GOOD teacher. Telling someone how to do it is one thing, taking the time to teach someone at their own pace is the secret.

    I’m so proud of Julia and hope your kids become full blown fishes like mine. Sounds like you have a fabulous teacher for Julia, congratulations, and congratulations to you on keeping calm while observing. I always had to drop Jolea off and drive away.

  2. I agree wholeheartedly with Jomamma. The right teacher is key. My kids were so lucky to have great instructors at our local “Y”, and in fact Conor joined their swim team when he was in kindergarten! (Ceileidh was in 2nd grade). They both continued to swim for the So.Co.Y for 7 years. Conor no longer swims competitively, but Ceileidh swims for the high school team and in fact is filling out a lifeguard application for a beach nearby, tonight! So, stick with it- it can really change the life of a kid!

  3. I totally agree with the two comments above. And with kids and cats ok, you must be feeling a lot happier than the other day.

    but…and this is possibly the most important thing…. did you get the fridge done??

  4. Yes!!  My fridge is clean and sparkly and all the scary furry things have been eliminated!  And because of this, I’m sure my kids will become Olympic swimmers and the cat will heal twice as fast as normal cats.  Woo hoo!

  5. Beth, that’s really great about Ceileidh and Conor.  And that’s sort of the frustrating thing about the Y system – some have great teachers, some don’t.  There was one instructor that we saw at “our” Y up here who was fabulous, but she was the only one.  Oh well – we’re making up for that now.  And good luck to Ceileidh with her lifeguarding application!  (And it still hurts my head to think that she’s old enough to do something like that.  She was just born a month or two ago!!)

  6. Wow – tossed into the deep end.  What a way to instill confidence!

    I’m glad you found such a great teacher for your daughter – that’s what we wanted for our kids – no more wasting time with lame little games and too much sitting on the edge of the pool waiting for a turn to kick with a pool noodle while wearing a bubble thing on their backs.  I want my kids to be fish, too!

  7. Oh.

    I really hoped you say, “nah, I couldn’t be bothered in the end. It is still skuzzy…” and let me off the hook.

    Now I have to do mine too… 🙁

Leave a Reply