Sunday, September 2, 2007

Sink or Swim

It’s coming. I can feel it.

Michael and I often feel swamped, drowning in children, barely keeping afloat in this sea of responsibility. It’s so much more than we thought it would be: having twin babies, now twin toddlers, while trying to mold a preschooler turned kindergartener into a good and whole being, complete with manners, a sense of responsibility and a positive spirit. We often feel if we get them all fed and napped, we have successfully made it through a day.

I know we are supposed to “live for today” and “stop and smell the roses” but sometimes I look with envy on those families with older kids, the ones who follow their parents through parking lots without wandering away. The ones who talk about their day while eating in a restaurant. We rarely do anything as a family because Noah still requires much attention on outings, and we each have a baby to manage.

When things get tough, we tell each other that it will soon get better. One more year. Maybe a year and a half. When they aren’t really babies anymore. And we can sometimes see the light at the end of the tunnel. We have the occasional successful restaurant experience. A social outing that is fun enough to be worth the effort of a half day of packing and the missing of naps and meals in high chairs.

This weekend, we took a great leap forward in that tunnel, toward that proverbial light.

You see, from the beginning Noah hated the water. He would scream bloody murder in the bathtub for the first full year of his life. Taking him in to a swimming pool and gliding him through the water was like dragging the poor guy through lava. So, those thoughts of teaching him to swim as an infant were right out.

The next child! The next child will learn right off the bat!

But the next child was two children, and now we were two parents with three non-swimmers. And at a pool, that is just not a safe situation. One could stay home with two while the other parent took a child swimming, but that child had to be Noah because if he knew you were taking a baby swimming he just HAD to go, or course. So the babies never got any swim experience.

So we take Noah every time, and every time he resists our efforts to teach him, and he just wants to play.

Leave it to Grandma to come up with the answer.

I wrote that Noah spent last weekend at Mima’s taking swim lessons. Well, he came home just begging to show us what he learned!

So, we did it. Yesterday, for the first time ever, we packed up the whole lot and traipsed over to the community pool. Michael took a baby, I took a baby, and Noah had enough confidence for once to be trusted not to drown, in the kiddie pool at least. And it was a blast!! Noah would show us again and again how he can put his face down in the pool, sometimes holding his nose, sometimes not. Eventually, he was jumping into the children’s pool, making sure that his head would go under when he did. And most importantly to us, when he lost his balance, he seemed finally to be able to right himself without help. He knew which way was up.

It was so much fun, we turned around and did it again today! We would all play together in the children’s pool, and then one of us would take the babies back home while the other worked with Noah in the big pool.

And may I say that after one day in the pool, getting dunked over and over, Ethan can hold his breath almost as well as Noah! Luka… not so well. After one too many coughing fits, he was vigorously doing the sign for “all done” and was pointing and yelling “Dit Down!” which was the closest thing he has in his vocabulary for “Get me out of this pool!” But as long as he wasn’t being forcefully dunked, he had a really good time, too.

And I must say that this is a godsend because we are in the midst of a heat wave and have no air conditioning!! It is in the upper 80s inside our house, and that is downstairs! Don’t even get me started on the heat upstairs in the bedrooms!

So I think we are going to make it through that tunnel. We are going to be one of those families eventually. The ones where everyone can walk in the same direction at the same time, follow directions, talk about our day at a dinner table, and enjoy a full-family outing. Sometimes.

We won’t sink. We will swim.

1 comment:

JeSais said...

Glad you're keeping cool! and what good timing to learn to swim.