Monday, July 20, 2009

Moving right along

I mourned Catherine's departure for a little while, but then I had to keep going, because it's a busy summer. (And really, it's not like we won't all be seeing each other soon, when Kevin gets married.) After Betsy's T-ball camp, next on the roster was swimming lessons. Ahh, swimming lessons. I told you there was a story there...

See, back in the eighties, when I showed up for my very first lesson at the YMCA (and unlike most of the kids there, I actually couldn't swim at all) they informed us that first thing, right off the bat, we'd all be jumping into the deep end. And they had diving boards, so it was deep, like twelve feet or something and you could barely see the bottom. Now, I've always been good at math so I could figure out that at four-foot-something, I'd be jumping into water WAY over my head. My objection - and I think this is a valid one - is that maybe they should go ahead and teach me how to SWIM, first, and then I'll consider jumping into water considerably deeper than my short stature. The swim instructor, who I can still remember vividly (and this was the eighties, so there was one instructor for all these kids) told me to do it anyway, that I wouldn't drown. I've always had a hard time ignoring my instinct for self-preservation, so I refused. I did eventually jump in, but it didn't accomplish anything (although I didn't drown, obviously). I was scared and stubborn, and the instructor just didn't know how to handle that. All he ended up doing was making me MORE scared. Anyway, after a couple of summers Mom and Dad got tired of wasting their money so I was spared further torture. (I've actually had a few people since then try to teach me how to swim and I've figured out it's just not in the cards for someone as hopelessly uncoordinated as me. I'd be able to swim just fine if I had gills. Seriously, as soon as I turn my head to breathe, I sink like a stone. Needless to say, given the choice between swimming and continuing to live, I choose the latter.)

The thing I didn't realize until recently is that my experience was pretty much par for the course. The prevailing method of swim instruction for my generation was the whole "Throw 'em in and they'll figure it out." I mean, it was a different time, you know? Reagan was president and we used to walk to school. And being unceremoniously tossed into the water worked just fine for a lot of people - my husband, for example - but not so much for me. Sure, I'll go in the pool with the kids, but it was years before the smell of chlorine didn't make my stomach do flip-flops. (And it goes a long way in explaining this, although it's also possible that I'm just nuts.) But I also decided early on that I didn't want my kids to be non-swimming lame-os like their mom. I informed Matt that if I didn't like the way their swimming lessons were being run, I'd pull them out, even if they're non-refundable.

But, I'm happy to report that things have actually changed a lot since I was a kid. My kids are taking lessons down at one of the high schools, where there's one instructor for every two or three kids. And the instructors are a bunch of college-aged girls (they're adorable) who are actually patient and empathetic, and don't view it as a sign of weakness that my kids don't already know how to swim. (That's the thing which has always baffled me about my lessons at the Y: why the heck would my parents be paying for lessons if I already knew how? But I digress, and quite frankly, I'm sure you're all sick of this journey into my wounded and delicate psyche by now) Betsy was pretty intimidated the first day, but she's doing fine now. And Porter displays the usual fearlessness we've come to expect from him. When they were in the thirteen-foor diving well last Thursday, he was hanging on the edge with one hand and dunking his head under like it was nothing. (I have to spend my time talking to the other moms so that I can avoid projecting my fears onto my kids. But I still make them walk as close to the wall as possible when we're alongside the pool. I know, I'm a loser.) I think, with a few more summers like this, they'll be swimming like little fishes.

Unfortunately, we haven't been down to the neighborhood pool for my kids to hone their skills, because it's been in the seventies and low eighties for the last couple of weeks. Not that I'm complaining, mind you. I hate to sweat. But I think we all know what's going to happen... as soon as the kids start school (the second week of August! What the heck, Indiana?!) summer will finally begin in earnest. In the meantime, we've got plenty to keep us busy. Things like...

  • Getting Betsy's back-to-school shopping done. She really needs jeans that don't have gaping holes in the knees. I don't know how she does it. We've also got to get her on a schedule once we get back from our trip, because she tends to sleep in until 8:30 or so. Not going to work once you're in first grade, missy!
  • Preparing for our upcoming trip to Washington, D.C. for Kevin's wedding and a much-needed vacation. We've been walking around the neighborhood to get in shape; Matt's been poring over the Fodor and I've been reading this, which, while not technically a guidebook, is an awfully entertaining read.
  • Alternating between paper-crafting and sewing. Right now I'm working on the NCIS cards (I'll post pictures as soon as I'm finished). Matt got me an actual office chair for the basement (thank you very much, Staples, for having a 50% off sale) and my back is much happier. Next up: some knit dresses for Betsy to wear in the fall. I'm so excited about having a serger, because a serger means I can sew knits, and guess what? Stretchy dresses don't need zippers. So it's an elegant, if expensive, solution to my continued zipper-ineptitude.
  • I finally listed some stuff on Etsy and I had my first sale: a vintage card of tiny pink buttons. (They were featured in my National Pink Day post, and now they're in Colorado someplace.)
  • Cooking out as often as possible, and making S'mores. Oh, the deliciousness. Only we've let the marshmallows go slightly stale since then (I had to hide them, because even on the highest shelf in the pantry Porter could still get them) so I will have to make some Rice Krispy Treats. I know, it's hard, but making sacrifices is part of being a mother.
  • Trying not to drool too much over the CHA new releases (American Crafts, you'll be the death of me yet).
  • Adult conversation! Really! See, since joining Facebook I've gotten back in touch with a lot of my college friends (and it's only eight years since I graduated, so I don't have a good excuse) and some of us decided to gather at Buca di Beppo's last Saturday. Matt graciously volunteered to stay home with the kids, for which he was handsomely rewarded with leftover lasagna.
  • Updating my blog. See?

3 witty remarks on "Moving right along"

Molly said...

I'm waiting for September. Then is NCIS!!!! I have been getting more and more exited!

molly said...

i don't know how to swim, which means that whenever i am out at the beach i can't go very deep. it really sucks.

fatty mcslowslow said...

Looking forward to seeing you all again in about a week!


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