Sunday featured chlorine. First there was the two hour total time expedition to the MIT pool that usually nets about 30 minutes in the pool at best. On Sunday, however, I lucked into a parking spot right across the street from the pool complex. Usually I have to park across a state boundary, and if I don’t have the stroller that means either walking at my son’s speed and missing class or carrying him and being sore afterwards. Luck was with us for the first time, so we were able to get through the changing room with time to spare. We used this to play around in some open lanes in the family swim area with a few other families who were doing the same. With the added twenty minutes of time in the pool, my son was zonked and chilled when we finally got out at the end of the lesson. He stayed awake during the ride home only because he had a snack of cashews and a bottle of water. After a quick lunch, off to sleep he went and stayed for a good long time.
In the evening after dinner, we went upstairs for bath and bed. My son had an accident in the tub, so I got the two kids out, called for backup from my wife, who has never been in the room for one of these events, and commenced cleaning the tub with, you’ve got it, bleach. I am sure I now smell of chlorine and will do so for at least another day. However, my kids got to swim and shower in their mommy’s tub, so they probably like the smell for its associations.
Though my daughter is sick with a new cold for the second week in a row, my son was set to get back to his swimming class on Sunday. I took him over while my wife and daughter stayed home and did lots of cleaning, art, and much more. I rushed to get there and found the only parking was pretty far away. This meant carrying my son to get there on time. I am trying to ween him of the stroller when we are out, but this was a bit too far. Also, the wind was knocking him around, so I carried him. As it turns out, the teacher was not there, so we just had a free swim session and received a free day pass as well. After our half hour swim, it took us almost half an hour to navigate the tiny family changing room and to walk back to the car. I didn’t carry him, and he stopped to look at everything that interested him. Luckily, I was able to keep him awake on the ride home so that his nap started at a normal time.
It feels good to be back in the water. I had been out, too, and have been meaning to get back to my own swimming. This little excursion was impetus to get myself in the deep end.
Sunday was a family day. There were no scheduled activities except for swim class, and that is one that the whole family attends. We were together in different combinations throughout the day. Some errands got done, my son did not nap in his crib, but he did catch about an hour in the stroller when I went grocery shopping.
And swim class saw my daughter jumping from the edge of the pool to the teacher and my son getting even more comfortable with the water.
It was a nice mix of productive and family. It was one of those days that easily slips by and is forgotten, but it should not be. Days like this are the bread and butter of being a family.
Solo parenting is nothing new for me or for my wife. We both have events and schedules that put the other into solo parent mode. Sunday, featuring an open house in which my wife’s students were singing, was no exception; I was on solo duty during swim class. Given my daughter’s recent tendency to melt down when challenged and not near one of us, I was worried about her reaction to getting in the pool with the instructor that she only had once before. I would be nearby, but I also would be focused on holding my son and doing the activities of the toddler group.
I worried about this for at least a day. Not only the in-water part, but I also built up tension around the slippery tile, the miniscule family changing room, my lost car key that turned out to not be there, and even the required swim diaper that is posted everywhere and that we don’t yet have. With all of these things going through my mind, it was amazing that my kids were able to get in the water without any major mishaps. Positive thinking can bring about good results, and negative thinking can make its own reality. Realizing this, I just tried hard not to think.
Sunday was the first swim class of this cycle. This time, we are taking both kids and both adults. It is a family outing.
I didn’t see much of my daughter’s class which was four kids and an instructor. They were situated on a submerged platform from which the instructor could take them one at a time to do an activity. It seemed to go well. My daughter was pumped up to take swimming classes, but when the moment came to get in the water with a new teacher, she started backing up and saying that she was tired or feeling like a bad monster or any of the other avoidance techniques she has refined recently. I reminded her that she was disappointed that she didn’t participate in soccer as much as she could have, and then I got in the water. She got in with me and easily transferred to the teacher. At that point, my wife handed me my son, and I headed to the other end of the kids’ pool.
My son is in the toddler’s group, and I was in the water with him. He slowly warmed up to the idea of being in the water and even was fairly tolerant of the floating on the back activity which regularly sends more than half the class into screaming fits.
Overall, it was a positive experience, and I really look forward to the family getting out together for this on a weekly basis.
Sunday was the last soccer day for my daughter for a while. With rain-outs and us out of town once, we actually have a few make-up sessions, but we are switching over to swimming in the winter. I have been so happy that my daughter has taken to soccer; it was my favorite sport as a kid, and it gives her a chance to get some good exercise.
Swimming was something I never thought of as exercise or as a sport when I was a kid. Obviously, millions of dollars are spent in crafting Olympic careers, but those brief moments of fame for others cannot compete, for me, with the memories of swimming in rivers during the middle of a Midwestern heat wave, the memories of floating up and down with waves in the remote Cape Hatteras of yesteryear, or the memories of swimming in the open Mediterranean while on a foolish adventure with random stranger I had recently met. My comfort with water and swimming made all of these and more possible. I didn’t think twice about jumping into water (with all the safety and visibility rules in play).
As much as my daughter has enjoyed soccer, I hope she also gets comfortable with water. It opens up more than half the world to her.
A panorama of the dance hall.
On Sunday I returned from a weekend near Bloomington, Indiana where I have attended a dance event for almost 20 years. During the weekend, I talk with friends, make new friends, camp, swim in a lake, find fossils, listen to music, dance, and many other things. All of these combine to make this weekend one of my favorite times of the year; it feeds my core person.
In time, perhaps next year, I plan to bring my children to this event. Because it is so close to the beginning of the school year, it is hard to get away as a family, but that might happen, too. I can’t wait to see my daughter discovering fossils, sleeping in her tent, listening to music, and most of all being welcomed by a community to which I am strongly connected.
I hope these thing become part of her core, too.