Well, my little fishy is officially (or is that of-fish-ily?) a trout!
Claire had her last class of Minnows today and got her certificate, passing her on to the Trout Class!
Well, my little fishy is officially (or is that of-fish-ily?) a trout!
Claire had her last class of Minnows today and got her certificate, passing her on to the Trout Class!
Today, you probably heard the shrieks of joy, amongst all the splashing, and wondered what was going on. Yeah…sorry ’bout that. That was me.
So, what happened?
Well, at the end of Claire’s last swim class, she was *this close* to doing a back-float unassisted in the “deeper pool.” *This close.* This was the one item not checked off of the “you get to move up to the next class” list. We decided to do another go-round, to see how she’d do.
I mean, she can float all day by herself in the shallow kiddie pool…but she panics in the big pool.
Today was the second class in that session, and guess what happened!?
She was a little clingy with the teacher, but to the outside world she appeared rather calm…and was *this close*…again.
Then, when we were playing afterward, we saw one of her preschool friends. This little girl is a year older than Claire and is in her same Preschool Class. “Emma” is an excellent swimmer and already in the next swim class. Emma can back-float all by herself.
I know this, so I decided to use Peer Pressure to my advantage.
“Hey, Emma!” I said. “Do you want to show Claire how you can back-float all by yourself in the big pool?”
“Sure!” she said.
“Yeah!” said Claire. She wanted to see it, too.
So, we went over there, and sure enough Emma, can do a back-float with the best of ‘em.
“I wanna try!” Claire said. “I wanna do it BY MYSELF, MOMMA.”
And, she did!! All it took to get over that hurdle in her mind was watching her friend do it. What made it even better was that her Swim Teacher saw her do it, and cheered for her!
I am SO proud of Claire for coming this far.
In other news, my face hurts from smiling.
Click photo to enlarge.
Yesterday, Claire turned 38-months old…so like any good perfectionist, I took a picture! And, since I had the camera out, she wanted me to take a picture of what she’d gotten the day before. She’s proudly holding her Swimming Lesson Certificate. She’s moving on to the next class!
Next week, she’ll jump right into her Minnow class, and if you can’t tell by the photo, she’s thrilled. We’re pretty excited about it, too…
Nope, she’s definitely not a tadpole anymore.
I love taking Claire to swimming lessons in the winter. I’m not being facetious. I really love it. The weather is so mild and varied here that it could be in the 60s one day and negative 2 the next. All I can do is hope for clear roads, and usually it’s not an issue.
I’m not required to be in the water with her during the class, but I put my swimsuit on and when she’s done with her lesson, we play in the pool. Yesterday, it was barely above freezing outside, which was a stark reminder that it’s January, but inside it was June. It’s always balmy and awesome.
In my head, swimming lessons and summer go hand in hand. The swimming lessons of my childhood were held in an outside pool. I can smell the sunscreen and chlorine. I can feel the summer breeze. I can hear the splashing and laughter. It makes me smile.
Yesterday, as we were putting on our swimsuits and then jeans and then thick socks and snow boots, I thought about how funny it all seems.
It was like we have a secret. Under these layers of coats, scarves, hats and mittens a little piece of summer has been hidden away. We’ll keep it safe, secure and warm until we get to the pool. Then, we’ll release it and frolic in it for an hour or two before wringing it out, carefully placing it the waterproof bag, bundling up and trudging out to the car through the snow.
Winter will be here for a couple more months, but it’s okay. It will be summer again on Thursday, if only for a couple hours.
The other day, after swimming lessons, she was singing something that sounded like Ring Around The Rosie, but I heard something about pockets and chocolate, and I just couldn’t figure it out.
I asked her to sing it again for me, and she would, but something wasn’t quite right. I knew the swimming teacher was having the girls play a game that looked like Ring Around The Rosie, so I just thought Claire was getting the words mixed up.
At the next class, I tried to listen, and sure enough, they were saying something about pockets and chocolate, and I couldn’t catch all of it.
I couldn’t let another day go by without finding out the words to this version, so when they were finished with the class, I went up to the teacher. I asked her about the song they’d been singing that sounds like Ring Around The Rosie, but wasn’t.
She sang it for me:
Ring around the rocket
A pocket full of chocolate
We all blast off!
So, as it turns out, Claire wasn’t making up things! They really were singing about pockets and chocolate!
And, I’m glad I asked…or I would have never figured it out!
Yesterday, Claire had her very first swimming lesson! This was much anticipated by all involved. Okay, truth be told, Daddy was only slightly excited compared to Momma and Claire, but that’s because he doesn’t get to go frolick in the pool in the middle of the day.
You have to be at least 3-yrs old to be enrolled in these particular lessons, so Claire was anxiously awaiting her birthday in November. Enrollment for the next class didn’t start until December, but as soon as the enrollment period opened up, I jumped at the chance. I enrolled Claire in two four-week sessions. The first class is the Tadpole class and the next level up is the Minnow. In order to get the class dates/times we want, they advised me to go ahead and enroll for both levels back-to-back, assuring me that it would be easy to adjust that if necessary.
Just like her Young Preschooler Class, I wasn’t sure how this would go, but I couldn’t wait to try it! She’s confident, balanced and enthusiastic, but she’s also three…so every day is a new day. Plus, this is her first swimming class. I’ve taken her swimming on a regular basis since she was 6-months old, but every other experience at the pool has been unstructured, unfettered, and carefree. I was so curious to see how she’d do in a class-setting.
I’m extremely happy to report that the first swimming lesson went swimmingly!
In fact, the class went a little too well. She now wants to go to swimming lessons every day, and she didn’t want to leave. Luckily, we’ll be going every Tuesday and Thursday for the next two months, so she won’t have to wait a whole week after each class like she does for “school.”
There are four little girls in her class, and they all seem to be at the same confidence level in the water, which is nice. None of the girls had problems putting their faces in the water, blowing bubbles, kicking, splashing, or practicing and learning the various things with the teacher. And, Claire only had to be reminded a couple times to turn around and pay attention, and the teacher did it in such a nice, patient way that I could tell that she not only really likes her job, but she’s really good at it, too.
I mean, she single-handedly kept four little über-excited swimmers focused and happy for almost half-an-hour…and she did it with a huge smile on her face.
Claire responded really well to her teacher and the class, and if this first lesson is any indication, I just know she’s going to learn a lot and have a great time doing it. I had a great time, and I was just watching.
In fact, I can’t wait for the next class!
Is it Thursday yet? Huh!? Huh!? Huh!? I can’t wait for Thursday!
A pool and to be within walking distance to The Plaza, those were our two criteria for lodging in Santa Fe. Also, we didn’t want to spend a million dollars a night for a hotel room, which can happen if you stay right on The Plaza. Luckily, we found Garrett’s Desert Inn, a hotel that was two blocks south of The Plaza, and it had a pool. We were able to get a good deal on the room-rate, so our pocketbooks were happy. The hotel was perfect for travelers like us, and it fit the criteria nicely. First Mission accomplished.
We all loved the pool. It was an outdoor pool, the perfect size and not crowded at all. It was also heated, which you would think wouldn’t be a big deal in Santa Fe, but that was a very nice feature. Some evenings, the breeze was just cool enough to give you a chill if the pool wouldn’t have been heated. I had a personal agenda to take Claire swimming as much as possible, and we did just that. The only day that Claire and I didn’t swim was the morning we left, but we’d swam the night before and had all slept in rather than go to the pool, so I was satisfied. Second Mission accomplished.
Claire loves swimming, and after she got used to the pool floaty toys that Linda brought with us, she had a great time. In fact, she relaxed so much one day that she took a nap! In the floaty toy! In the pool! I was right by her the whole time, and kept her gently rocking so that she could nap un-interrupted. Her toes were little prunes when we were done, but she’d had a 45-minute nap. That’s short by nap standards, but any nap while on vacation is a good nap. Third Mission accomplished.
Speaking of things sleep-related, luckily, she slept every night at the hotel! Just like on our trip to the Midwestern Trifecta, once she snuggled with us for a few minutes, she fell fast asleep and I transferred her to the pack-n-play, where she slept all night long. Fourth Mission accomplished.
And also like the trip to the Midwest, I’d consciously decided to have a good time. I knew that wouldn’t be difficult task in Santa Fe, and with such good friends, but any trip can be stressful if you let it. Other than a few bumps of turbulence, it was a smooth sailing trip. I’m really glad those unexpected things didn’t ruin the trip, and I think with a different attitude they may have. All the kids really were very well-behaved and played well together. It’s like they became built-in pseudo-siblings, but without all the fighting. All the adults had a great time, as well. We can look back at this trip to Santa Fe with fond memories and a longing to go back. Fifth Mission accomplished.
I had also promised myself to relax on this trip, and leave reality behind us for a few days. As we were walking through the lobby of the hotel, I spotted a computer, complete with an internet connection. “Look!” I said to my hubby. “I could check my email!”
“Resist,” he said calmly. And, I did. Another mission accomplished.
If you haven’t gathered it by now, Claire is a pretty easy-going girl. She greets everyone she sees, in stores, and restaurants, etc., with a “Hi!” but when it comes to getting really close to her or trying to hold her, it usually only takes her a few minutes to warm up to new people. Different people fall into different categories. If you’re female, and she’s seen you before, there is no hesitation. If you’re female, and she hasn’t seen you before, it takes a few more seconds. If you’re male…all bets are off. If she’s seen you a lot, she will eventually warm-up, but the truth is she’s scared to death of most men.
Because my hubby’s parents visit often, Claire is no longer hesitant of PaPa. She will go right to him, and the warm-up time has gotten shorter and shorter with each visit.
During their visit in June, Granny and PaPa went swimming with us. We have an awesome Rec Center near us that has a myriad of different pools and play areas, all done up in a water-park theme. It’s cheap for residents and seniors and free for kids Claire’s age, so we try to go as often as Momma’s workload will allow.
So, we all pile in the car, and Claire is chatting with PaPa and Granny all the way to the pool. We decide to go into the Family Locker Room, so that we can use the same padlock to lock up our things. PaPa goes into one of the dressing rooms to change into his swim trunks, and totally disappears. The person that came out of the dressing room sounded like him, but looked like this scary old man. Who was this man without glasses? Where is his shirt? Why does he keep following us!? Why is he trying to touch me!? Momma! Momma! Momma!
Claire was scared to death. I tried and tried to convince her that the scary old man was really PaPa without his glasses, but she wouldn’t believe me. She clung to me like a little monkey, her little face buried in my neck. She would only relax when that strange old man swam farther away from us or was taking his turn riding down the water-slide. (They have a really cool, fast, water-slide for kids and adults…the bigger you are the faster you go…and needless to say, it’s a pretty exciting ride. In fact, all we could see of PaPa when he came bursting out of the tube was an explosion of water and a flash of gray hair and red swim trunks.)
Neither Granny nor I swim with our glasses on, but Claire didn’t seem to mind that one bit. It was only poor PaPa that had disappeared and been replaced with that strange man. That disguise Superman uses? It would totally work on Claire.
So, we’re there for a couple of hours, and when we get out to the car, PaPa goes around back to put his swim bag in the trunk. I’m buckling Claire into the car seat, and PaPa pokes his head into the back seat. “Hi, Claire!” he says. “Oh, HI, PAPA!” she screamed! And, I could hear her babble something that sounded an awful lot like, “It’s so good to finally see you. It’s too bad you missed out on all the swimming.”
Wednesday morning, I decided I wanted to take Claire swimming since the boys had a chance to do so earlier in the week. That morning, before getting ready and checked out of the hotel, Claire and Momma put on their swimming suits and headed down to the pool. I don’t swim with my glasses on, and I’m near sighted, so I have to squint to see some of the signs. After discovering the pool to be freezing cold, I saw on the sign where the pool doesn’t even open until 10am! I guess they don’t have to put up a big sign asking people to stay out…they just make it so cold that no one would want to stay long anyway!
So, we headed back down to the room, packed everything up and checked out earlier than anticipated. This gave us the added boost to actually stop at a really nice, piggy place for breakfast on our way back west, out of town, and out of the state. (piggy = a place so good you gorge yourself and eat like pigs. Oink.)
We arrived back at Granny and PaPa’s place and had a really light, late lunch. We’d all eaten so much that we didn’t even have a real lunch. Claire had a couple of snacks, and then we grilled hamburgers. Daddy and PaPa went to a car-show, so the girls had fun playing at the house. Claire had fun telling Day about all her adventures on the farm.
Thursday was the day we’d devoted to visiting the third state in our tour. My hubby’s grandmother is in an assisted living facility in a state farther south, and she’s suffering from Alzheimer’s. It’s such a terrible disease. Thankfully, she’s happy in the moment, and that’s all we can ask at this point. We all piled in the car and took the 1.5 hour drive. Luckily, this doubled as Claire’s nap, since she hadn’t really been taking her naps, and she’d actually been in a really good mood despite this. Even then, any nap was a welcomed nap, and she slept all the way there.
We’d planned on stopping to get a “picnic lunch” to take to Great-Grandma, and the only game in town is McD’s. And, this brings us to another First on Claire’s List. No, she’d never had McD’s up to this point. I’ve just never seen the need. Well, when you’re hungry, and the only place that’s serving lunch is McD’s, it’s a nice little treat. As we discovered, she loves chicken nuggets and fries. Go figure. That’s a big shock. I think moderation is the key, and so far, she hasn’t snuck out to eat it since.
The visit with Great-Grandma went very well. Like I said, she lives totally in the moment, so she didn’t really remember the three of us. After Granny (her daughter – thankfully, she still remembers her…) explained who we were, she seemed to remember and her face lit up. Sadly, my hubby’s Grandfather passed away last year, and Great-Grandma doesn’t remember this. (Luckily, Great-Grandpa got to meet Claire before he died.) Great-Grandma knew he would have loved playing with Claire, and she was so afraid he was missing our visit, so she kept asking where he was and saying he needed to get down here right now! Granny had to explain that he wasn’t there, and why, and there would be momentary sadness, and then it would be replaced with the joy of seeing Claire…all to be repeated a few times throughout our visit. I’m glad we were able to end our visit on a happy note, and Claire loved playing with her and giving her hugs.
After making the trek back to Granny and PaPa’s house, we went to a fun Mexican place for dinner. Claire had a great time, because she would be happy eating her entire body weight in rice. Throw in a quesadilla, and you’d think that girl was in heaven! After dinner, PaPa took us for a drive around the airbase, and it was neat seeing all the sights. (PaPa is retired Air Force, and he gets a kick out of giving spontaneous tours. I’ve visited that city countless times and have never been on the base.) Claire had a nice after-dinner snooze, and the day was a success. Continue to Part 4 here…
Every day with my nephews is a new adventure…especially if you’re a fun-loving *this close to Eagle Scout* boy-at-heart like my hubby. As much as he grumbled about having to drive to the middle of nowhere, in the heat and humidity, I could tell he was looking forward to playing with my nephews. They always give him a run for his money, and this trip would be no exception. They have been impatiently waiting for our arrival for months.
We arrived out at the farm just after breakfast. (My parents live in a house that is a quarter-mile away from what used to be my grandmother’s house. It’s all on the same farmstead. After my grandmother’s death, my sister and her husband purchased the house, and they live there now with their four boys.) It was so good to finally meet my newest nephew! He was just 6-weeks old and still really tiny. Actually, he was a pretty big baby, but compared to the almost-30-lb. sack of potatoes I lug around, he still seemed pretty tiny. You could tell the other three brothers had taken his arrival in stride. I was amazed at how they have all grown! They are Three, Five, and Seven, or as I was reminded, “Almost Four,” “Almost Six,” and “Almost Eight.” Where does the time go??
Claire loved seeing the baby and kept saying, “Oh, HI, BABY! HI, BABY!” She was really gentle with him and held him a couple of times (with our assistance, of course). The other boys were very good with Claire and really tried to include her in a lot of things. They needed to be reminded to be a little gentle, but thankfully Grandma (my mom) was there to referee. I’m so glad that Claire warmed up right away to my mom. I know it’s hard for my mom to live so far from her only grand-daughter.
My dad, on the other hand, wasn’t so lucky. Claire was scared to death of him. No amount of coaxing could keep her from bursting into tears whenever he came near. I actually put her in his arms for a moment, and she cried so hard that she stopped breathing. In her defense, he’s a big ol’ farmer dude, and she’s just not used to people like that. I really think if she spent more time with him, she’d warm up. Maybe. But, I’d adopted my Zen Mentality, and decided that it was what it was, and we just adjusted. She’ll either come around, or she won’t.
It made him feel a little better that she was also afraid of my brother. She would actually sit on his lap for seven-seconds before trying to escape, but still. It’s not like there were many Hallmark moments to capture. Later that day, an aunt and uncle of mine stopped by for a visit. There was no way Claire would remember either of them. She looked at my uncle sideways, and he said, “I’m not even going to try! Don’t be so alarmed!” Then, she took one look at my aunt and extended her arms and asked to be picked up. My dad said, “Oh great. A perfect stranger can pick her up, but I don’t have a chance.” Poor Grandpa.
Oddly enough, Claire pretends to talk to my dad on her play phone, all the time. She begs to talk to him on the real phone. In real life, though, it’s another story. Quirky, that child o’ mine.
So, what was in store for my hubby? After lunch, he and my brother-in-law took Three, Five, and Seven to the hotel for the pool party. Claire and I stayed at the farm to visit with everyone else. After the pool party, my hubby stayed at the hotel to get ready; Claire and I drove by ourselves back to town to the hotel, and then the three of us picked up some take-out from our favorite Chinese restaurant and took it over to our friends’ house.
Of course, the “pool party” wasn’t just a pool party. It was a pool-party playground-hopping Dairy-Queen-visit and-who-knows-what-else boys-do-when they’re-by-themselves extravaganza. That night, I went to the bathroom to get ready for bed, and by the time I came out, Claire and Daddy were fast asleep… And, looking back, that wasn’t even the busy day!
Tuesday, July 17th was the day Claire’s great-grandmother (my mom’s mother) got to spend some time with us. That day was also devoted to playing with my nephews, and when accompanied with the swimming of the day before, completed the triathlon my hubby ran with the boys. Yesterday they swam, and today they ran races and rode bikes. They also did much more than that, but I lost count eventually.
Claire got to experience some First-Time Things while at my sister’s (on the farm). She got to play with play-doh (Note to self! Make that recipe and play with that here, too! I keep forgetting!). She got to swing in a swing and ride in a wagon (she wasn’t sure about those two things…so we’ll have to try that again.) She got to attempt to ride a tricycle. (Another note to self! She could totally do this with a little practice! She almost had it mastered!) On her many adventurous walks with Grandma, she got to see real live cows! My side of the family takes this for granted, because they live on the farm…but we don’t see many real live cows here in the suburbs (thankfully!). And? Claire got to eat pizza for the first time. No, I have not given my child pizza. It’s one of my favorite foods, and I figure she’ll have years to grow an appreciation for it. That will not be needed. She loves it. I think she would have eaten the whole thing, had she been given the chance.
Gee, after looking at that list, you would be led to believe my child is pretty sheltered. No, she’s not…these were just a few things that we haven’t had a chance to do yet. Needless to say, Claire had a blast.
Again, that evening in the hotel, both Daddy and Claire were fast to sleep within minutes. We’d already done so much, and our trip had only reached the half-way mark. Continue to Part 3…