Cecilia is currently very interested in what Mommy and Daddy were like as little kids. Did you go to kindergarten when you were a little boy? Did you have chicken pox when you were a little girl? Did you get in trouble? Did you always eat your dinner? Did you have air conditioning? Did you watch a lot of Murder, She Wrote? Did you take a nap? Did you spend a lot of your youth on the Jersey Turnpike? Did you drive your parents to drink?
So today at lunch (when we were able to get a word in) she was thrilled to learn that we were going to show her a toy that both Mommy and Daddy had played with as a child. After spending the morning making our yard less of an embarrassment and lacking much more ambition on a hot day, but with an entire sunny afternoon still in front of us we needed to do something. So we did what a lot of people in more landlocked states probably do: went to Wal-Mart, came home, unrolled some plastic and turned on the hose. I’ll neither confirm nor deny that a cooler may also have been involved.
After some initial concern where Ce was really struggling with the entire concept, she eventually worked out a knee slide technique that worked for her. And after a few hours sprinting around the yard in the sun, both kids are in bed by 7 and I’m a very happy Slip’N Slide owner.
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.
Discussing stroke technique
Jackson is airborne. Such a boy.
At the wall for a rest
Floating on her own
And here’s some moving pictures.
For comparison, here is a link to last year’s swim video.
In preparation for our vacation this year, we thought getting Ce used to the water would be a good idea. After a rocky start, she’s really enjoyed the Wednesday morning routine with her ‘buddy’ Jackson. Mama has enjoyed the one thing a week guaranteed to wipe her out enough not to fight the afternoon nap. That fact alone is worth the lesson cost and definitely worth continuing till the spring thaw.
Swimming Lessons from Mike Donohue on Vimeo.
Continuing the catch-up from our trip down to Grandmother and Papa’s house: here is a look at the cousins going deep sea fishing. I have to say despite the endless colds and sometimes leg dragging drop-offs, I do appreciate how much daycare has helped Ce socialize and play with other kids.
You can also see she definitely inherited her Mama’s love of the water as there was no way Daddy was putting his feet in that ice bath. I’m glad kids are impervious to cold.