We had some breakthroughs this week. The first was Jack at swimming. He knew he didn’t have a choice about going to swimming lessons- with Trevor’s parents having a pool, there was no way I could let them go without some formal swimming training. So we signed them both up at the Y for Monday night. He started complaining that his tummy hurt at suppertime. I aksed if he was nervous about swimming lessons. He nodded and pouted. “It’s ok to be nervous about stuff when you don’t know what to expect, Bud. It’s normal. I would be nervous too.” He asked time and again if his class would be in the baby pool or the big pool. I reassured him time and again that it would be in the baby pool. He said he would be brave. Well, when we got to the Y his worst fear was realized. They had had a “fouling” and the baby pool was closed. He would have to have his first lesson in the big pool. He started to cry. I reassured him he could wear a life jacket and sit on the edge. The teachers reassured him.I got a little mileage out of explainign the term “fouling”, but the tears started back up in short order (Aimee was tickled though, and had no problem calling all the grandparents and reporting that swimming was in the big pool because someone pooped in the little one). I told him parents weren’t allowed to stay in the pool area and I was going to watch from the windows. He let me out, still crying, but not clinging. Victory number one. By the time I got out to the viewing area, he was in the pool. Still whining, but in. After five or ten minutes of reluctant participation, he looked over at me, and I gave an exaggerated grin and a thumbs up. He grinned back, and the rest is history. He floated on his back, he “jumped” in to pool (that is, he dropped to his knees and plopped in, holding onto the edge), and came out yelling, “THAT WAS SO MUCH FUN!!”. He actually said to me, “Hey, mommy, can we come on Sunday and only go in the big pool?” I tell you, when this kid is ready, he’s ready.
Aimee’s breakthrough was at gymnastics. The kid has incredible hand and upper body strength. She goes back and forth on the monkey bars at school as easily as walking. Trevor has been suggesting she do gymnastics, and he managed to convince her, too. So we signed her up, for $300. She started today. However, Aimee has a history of wanting to do things and then clinging to my leg or crying or generally refusing to participate, once she is there. So I was reserved in my enthusiasm for the idea of gymnastics. But Trevor’s argument was that if she has some sort of natural talent, we should nurture it. So I agreed. Anyway, as we were getting ready to go today, I asked her if she was nervous. “No,” she said. She looked a bit concerned when we actually got to the facility, but the organizer lady checked her off her list, took her by the hand, and shoved her at the coach. We didn’t even have time to say goodbye. She trotted in, without looking back. She participated, she played and ran and did cartwheels and walked on the balance beam. Her group didn’t get to use the foam pit or the bars today, but she’s all excited to go back next week and try them then. I was pleasantly surprised that she was so ready to join in. I credit school for bringing her out of her shell. She knows we would never let her go into a situation that was unsafe, and she trusts that we will always be there for her when she is finished whatever she is doing. She has finally figured out that it’s ok to try things, risk free. I guess that’s our job as parents, to create a safe, trusting environment to let them explore their talents and aptitudes. It will be very interesting to see how she develops as a gymnast. I just keep thinking of her hysterical fits at dance classes and other activities. It used to drive me insane. But she has grown up a lot and I couldn’t be happier for her. She’s not missing out anymore.
We made a big deal about how brave they both were this week. It’s important to play that up a bit, I think. We’ll play down the temper tantrums that still happen regularly, and reinforce the good stuff, in the hope that they will choose wisely more often than they choose emotionally. It wil turn out better, I think.
Trevor’s breatkthrough was shaving his head almost bald. I think it looks great. It’s something that most men eventually have to face… the growing bald gracefully (no combovers in this house). He’s lucky enough to have a wife who thinks bald men are sexy.
My breakthrough was the mere fact of getting through the week. With the number of sick calls and my current position, I felt like I did a job and a half this week.I was exhausted last night. I’m catching up, though, and I’m hardly thinking of work at all. The new routine of the week looks like it will be me and the kids for dinner alone at least one night a week, and it worked out very well this week. I kept my patience and fed them healthy food, and Jack and I managed to read Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Now the exciting task is picking the next book to read. I’m lobbying for Harry Potter, but Aimee’s suggesting Junie B. Jones. Either way, I am so excited that they are entering a chapter book stage. The world is opening up for them. They can do anything when they can read.
Oh, and in another bit of news I would like to record for posterity, Jack has announced he is going to try out for Canadian Idol when he is older. He figures he would like to be a rock star and a garbage man. I told him it was always good to have a day job to earn a living while you try to make it in the music business. “What’s a living, mom?” he asked. The kid is full of questions. I’m pegging him more as a lawyer than a rock star, but you never know where his talents might lie. Only time will tell and sometimes it is the most intensely frustrating thing in the world not to be able to see the future. I guess life would be much duller without a little suspense, but really, would it hurt to know they were going to turn out well?
Anyway, after this crazy week, all I want to do is nap. I think I’ll finish my book and do just that.