They swore they would only get their ankles wet.
It needs to be answered every day and it’s a question that strikes fear into the hearts of most parents: what am I going to do with my child today? How am I going to occupy the next fourteen hours? What can we do that will hold her attention for more than six seconds?
I’m sure this question will start to sort itself out as they get older and into more activities but right now a well-rested four year old is a vibrating, unstable atomic particle. If we don’t find a way to vent that energy we can safely declare our household a federal disaster zone before lunch.
Did I mention that we also have a puppy? A very energetic puppy?
Make that two unstable particles.
Put another way: take a honey badger, add a rattlesnake, plus a low-level tropical storm and put a roof over it and I feel like you’d have our typical weekend.
Luckily, Momma recently discovered a simple distraction that drives both of them to exhaustion.
For a solid ten minutes.
I’ll take it.
As a parent, and by definition, someone who is chained to their kids, or at least must sleep in the same house (most nights), it can be difficult to see and appreciate the changes in your children. Sure, you’ll notice if they take the steak knife to their hair or lose a few finger nubs in the blender, but when people visit and exclaim, “Wow, she’s getting so big.” or “She looks just like her great-grandfather” we are mostly left in the position to just shrug and carry on. It’s like trying to see, really see, your own toenails grow. The changes are just too fine or too imperceptible to notice during daily tantrums over what flavor of bath bubbles to use or the exact geographical cheese region necessary to make the ‘good’ mac and cheese.
So, back in December when Michelle was home with Allison, it fell to me to take Cecilia to swim lessons. Now it’s been several months since summer beach days and longer than that since I was able to go to a swim lesson. My previous few visits to the tot swim lessons were living examples of what an ant colony must look like after being doused with a hose. A lot of screaming, a lot of kicking and flailing, a lot of big, terrified eyes.
This time was very similar in many ways, but very different in others. Cecilia and her buddy Jackson were wily veterans by now. They were the calm, majestic king and queen ants in this colony. The frantic worker ants didn’t bother them. Something had clicked. They had conquered their fear. They had discovered buoyancy and a whole new wet, slippery world was open to them (at least the shallow end).
It was startling to watch. This must be why so many people put up with raging hormones and the general unpleasantness of adolescents to become high school and middle school teachers. Witnessing someone finally put all those little fragile pieces together is quite a rush.
Or maybe this is just what it feels like to be a proud Dad. Either way, I’ll take it.
Here’s the proof.
And here’s some moving pictures.
For comparison, here is a link to last year’s swim video.
Now that we’ve reintegrated into reality and caught up on work, you can expect a lot more vacation photos and videos soon, but here is a little video that captures the mood pretty well. A sunset like that will quickly make you forget a long flight in coach with a toddler.
This was taken at dinner one night when Ce was antsy. Not unusual. Sitting still for toddlers isn’t a normal trait, right? What was a bit unusual was Ce getting up and dancing in front of many, many people. Let’s just say she typically takes after her Dad and is a bit more reserved in public (we don’t know about her air guitar or how she acts at weddings yet). You’ll notice she sort of stops and stares when people try to interact with her almost as if they popped the invisible, isolation bubble she believes she’s in.
The whole show lasted a solid twenty minutes and received rave reviews from other diners. So much so that the following night, in an entirely different town, two people approached us at dinner and said how much they like the show previous night.