Friday, November 30, 2012

Atta Boy!

Here we are,just 2 weeks after this minor tragedy in the lives of the Twinkies.  We've been talking a lot about both hard work and disappointment. We made it to the pool a few times over break. During pool time, two little boys splashed and floated while the other little boy worked and worked. We tried to find a good balance between work and play in order to avoid frustration.

When he felt overwhelmed and wanted to give up, I would gently remind him that just playing for a while was fine, but his teachers said he hadn't  mastered these skills, and he wouldn't move on if he couldn't do them.

His response looked a bit like this:

Last night was swim class. The first one since the level tests. As soon as we went in he wanted me to make sure his teacher knew he had been practicing with the goal of passing.

His form is lackluster (even humorous -- somehow his little hiney sticks straight up in the air when his face is in the water), but his drive is powerful.

And the look of pride in his face was unmistakable when, as soon as his lesson was done, he shouted, "Mommy! My teacher said I passed the test! I get to move up to the next level!" Even if he did follow it up with, "What's a test?"

To persevere, trusting in what hopes he has, is courage in a man. ~Euripides

Saturday, November 24, 2012


To remind ourselves to be thankful, we spent most of November creating a garland of "Thankfulness Rings." Each night at dinner, we would talk about what we were thankful for, write it on the ring, and add it to the chain. Looking at the world through the eyes of a child is a wonderful way to remember that we should be thankful for all the little things. Nothing should be taken for granted. In no way is our list exhaustive, but here is what our family is thankful for (in no particular order):
  • Izzie my cat
  • myself
  • Yellow
  • green apples
  • Levi's anaconda from Colorado Springs
  • Daddy
  • Levi
  • Wesley
  • Nolan
  • Grace
  • Mia
  • Yaya & Grandad
  • CatWoman
  • Grandpa & Gigi
  • pumpkins
  • animals
  • school
  • chairs
  • God's love
  • dress up
  • paint
  • marshmallows
  • pictures
  • chess
  • sunshine
  • our "World Vision" friends
  • yogurt
  • spoons
  • having enough to eat
  • costumes
  • Daddy's job
  • Captain America
  • Robin
  • books
  • bottles of water
  • friends
  • food
  • BSF
  • Wolverine
  • TV
  • toys
  • teachers
  • Imo's pizza
  • turkeys
  • cups
  • bad days
  • lights
  • Jesus Christ
  • curtains
  • brothers
  • playing
  • church
  • Maizy & Luca
  • family
  • Yaya & Grandad's house
  • our house
  • clarinet
  • community group
  • drinks
  • paper
  • coffee
  • cheese
  • bread

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Trouble with a capital "T" and that rhymes with "P" and that stands for "POOL"

We're not talking about the kind of "pool" trouble they had in River City, folks. We're talking about the swimming pool variety.

My husband would tell you that I tend to take the long way around to get to the point of a story, starting and stopping several times, and maybe even backing all the way up at some middle point and having to retell it all again.

I'm going to try not to do that now.

However, I am going to back up for just a second so that you get a clear understanding of where we are.

Picture an infant and two two-year-olds. Add to that one frazzled mommy. Now imagine the 4 of these people in a swimming pool...a swimming pool in which no flotation devices were allowed.

Got that?

Yeah. That's why we didn't go to the pool much for a long, long time.

By the time it was, the boys were all quite scared of the water. Nice.This frazzled mommy (who can't do much beyond a glorified dog paddle herself) felt ill equipped to tackle the job of swim teacher.

So, periodically, we have enrolled the kids in swimming lessons. We aren't trying to raise up the next Michael Phelps. We would just like them to be able to stay afloat without floaties & maybe even move a bit if the need arises.

This past week was the level  test for their classes. Shorty failed. No problem. Thing 2 failed. Well, whatever. They all failed last time, too. Thing 1...passed.

Uh, oh.

They have never been in a class without each other before. I didn't even know which one of them was going to be more upset. Thing 2 puts a lot of pressure on himself to do things right. Thing 1 doesn't care as much, but is more sensitive.

Right away I talked to the instructor to discuss our options. It would be possible to hold Thing 1 back if we wanted to. Of course, he wouldn't learn as much. But then, just being in the water is better than not being in the water. Plus, he's not a rock star swimmer.

If Thing 2 can really REALLY improve on a few things in the next 2 weeks, they would be happy to move him up. That's a lot of work in a very short period of time. Thing 2 might just be motivated enough to get it done, though.

Or we could separate them. It would happen one day anyway. They aren't always going to be at the same level in everything they try. However, that could foster competition, comparison, and feelings of inadequacy. Already. They are only five. It would be nice to encourage comradery for a while longer.

photo by
This was all going through my head before I even broke the news to the kids.

Once we were in the car and away from public eye (not that I was anticipating anything embarrassing), I told them. Shorty didn't care. Thing 1 was happy. Thing 2 was in tears and argued that he DID do all of the things that his teacher said he needed to work on. He DIDN'T WANT to be in class without his brother. He screamed. He cried.

So...our goal over this holiday break is to swim as much as possible, specifically working on what the poor guy struggles with. His hope is that he will be able to convince his teacher that he can move up with his brother.

If he still doesn't pass?...well...hopefully we won't have to answer that question. I think there will be tears from somebody no matter what we decide.
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