Posts Tagged ‘swimming’

Go greased drama…..greased drama! Go greased drama!

January 17, 2013

Well, it’s official. We are swimming school dropouts. Not entirely sure how I feel about it. This morning Snort asked to go to swimming lessons (sigh), and at the mere mention Coconut began to cry again. It’s all go go gadget drama.

Yesterday we ended up meeting some friends at a museum, so that was a bright spot. The other bright spot was getting a full refund for the remaining eleven weeks in the swimming term. Of course, I will now have to spend more money to take them swimming myself, but at least we got that money back. Phew.

The other thing going on is that I’ve been accepted as a writer for a well known site. I am going back and forth in my head about writing as me versus writing as existere. Well, obviously both are me, but you know what I mean – fake names or not. Writing as existere would certainly drive traffic towards this blog, but I’m not too keen on that. I write this blog for myself, my family, and the small community that has sprung up as a result of it.

I am tempted to write as myself. To gain a few writing credits under my real name, however small time they are. We shall see.

In the meantime, we are all inside today. I’m all sore and brokenesque, and I think we are all fighting a cold. Coconut also managed to scrape off fully 70% of the skin on the underside of one of her pinkies, and we are now on fever and red streaks watch. That is a whole separate drama. I won’t write about it now because she has just started crying about how it may snow tomorrow and she doesn’t want her extensive finger plaster to get wet.

I am tired.

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Adios, swimming lessons.

January 16, 2013

You guys, I am just crying. Or trying not to cry. And then crying again.

Yes, my period will be here soon….or at least it SHOULD be, though my cycles are still nowhere near regular since the failed IVF. So that may help you think I am just hormonal and not simply an overemotional mother.

You see, swimming lessons are today. At the first mention yesterday, Coconut started crying. And she’s been crying all this morning. Like, heart wrenching, soul shattering crying. Begging me to let her stay home.

My gut is saying, ‘Stop the lessons. I want swimming to be fun, not evil. I don’t want to give her a complex.’ Part of my brain is saying, ‘But they need to learn how to swim!’ A lovely friend has commented (on Facebook, where embarrassingly anyone who is my friend can read that I have been crying and I am an indecisive fool) that they have their whole lives to learn. I can only thank her for that injection of sanity.

I floated the idea of Coconut sitting on the side with me and watching Snort swim. She was happy with that. He was not. He was the opposite of okay.

So I’ve just placed a phone call to the pool, explained the situation, and have been given the number of the swimming coordinator. I am praying we can receive at least a partial refund. This cost 125 smackaroos in our expensive brand of currency. That shit is a lot to us. A fucking TON. I didn’t mind spending it when I thought they were going to learn a lifelong necessary skill. But paying it so we can sit at home/do other shit? Not so cool with me.

If we can’t get a refund, I guess we can’t. The last time Coconut did an activity without me, she broke her arm. And you know, even if that wasn’t the case, she is allowed to not be ready for this. As is Snort. The whole point of home education is surely to cater learning experiences to what they are ready for, when they are ready for it. Sometimes that means pushing ourselves, but sometimes it means losing 125 pounds and trying to not think about all that money being flushed down the proverbial swimming pool.

I AM ALIVE!!!!

January 4, 2013

This is probably the longest I’ve ever gone without blogging. Here is  my litany of excuses…I mean, updates:

  • Aussie came to stay with her two little ones – Walnut and Travolta. Snort and Coconut were overjoyed to have their friends back, with the addition of a cute baby to fawn over. Since their departure, Walnut and Spiderman play a very big part in bedtime stories, by request. Aussie got sick, as did her kids. Before I realised just how sick she was, I ate some leftovers from a bowl she’d had. That is what Got Me Very Sick. Luckily neither of my kids fell prey.
  • The aforementioned Very Sick.
  • Those Christmas stockings. I’m not sure whether to use ‘fucking’ or ‘amazing’ as the adverb to describe them. I stayed up till 1:30 am on Christmas Eve morning so the kids could get them a day early and their splendor not lost amidst a haze of presents. You guys, they are beautiful. So beautiful that I would seriously have commissioned someone to make us stockings if I saw these as a sample. Don’t get any ideas, though. I’m not about to open a business. But they are perfect, exactly what I wanted, and handstitched to last a lifetime.
  • iPad. Since my sister gave me her hand-me-down iPad in the summer, blogging has taken a bit of a hit for me. Not only because of soul destroying games like Candy Crush Saga, but also because I write longest and best on a real keyboard.
  • Adventures – lots of them. New giant playgrounds, train rides with Santa, museum trips, and on and on and on.
  • Me. When TMD is home, literally all I want to do is lie in bed and read….if I can avoid Candy Crush Saga. I am seriously debating whether something is medically wrong with me, the amount of time I could just lie in bed and luxuriate. However, I am lax to take these wonderings seriously, because I think the only thing I could be diagnosed with is Parenting Young Children (PYC). I hear PYC is a well known and documented creator of exhaustion.

I’m sure I have more excuses tucked away here or there, but largely I’ve had a good few weeks. TMD has been home from work for an extended holiday break – we celebrate Christmas in a purely secular way, for those who wonder, and will probably celebrate Yule next year as well – and it’s been amazing having her home. She’s had a chance to dabble in our daily lives – trips to a cafe for shortbread, children ripping the house apart, etc. I wish we were independently wealthy so she could be here ALL THE TIME.

My other wish is a for a nice, reliable printer. We haven’t had one for a good long while, but as we get further into our home education journey, I realise just how useful one would be. I am also attracted to one that would print photos (though I suppose they all do, nowadays, ye whippersnappers) but only if that is actually cheaper than paying someone else to print them.

Have you all had a nice holiday? Lots of holiday angst…I mean, joy? I sincerely hope so. I know *I* had a great time hanging out with the relatives I just unfriended on facebook, namely because I clearly made my BIL very uncomfortable. I am sad about this. But as TMD says, all we need is an apology and we’re back in business.

In other news, my little sister is moving to Country B (!) possibly this month (!) and while she’ll be in the capitol, she’ll hopefully live on OUR side of it so she’ll be a mere two hours away. Very different from 7,000 miles away! She is a techie sort of gal, so we will be entering the land of more blogging, perhaps. If we aren’t constantly in the capital stalking Lady and her kids and visiting my sister! The kids’ schedule now involves classes of one sort or another on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, which is perhaps not ideal for visits.  We also have a weekly home ed group on Thursdays that lasts all day, but that is totally optional and does not cost six million gazoombas per term.

And one more thing. Our new Wednesday activity is swimming, and we started this week. I don’t know what I expected, but it was not that my children were, in fact, adults. Three of the five kids in the class are totally new to swimming lessons, and so I expected some sort of water confidence build up. But no, lo and behold, we are preschoolers (or preunschoolers, in our case!!), and 3-4 year olds are hardcore. It was one teacher and assistant, no parents required. Swimming laps from the get go. LAPS. I know. They looked so grown up and awesome!

Snort and Coconut were fucking STARS. While I don’t much hold with giving automatic respect to someone just because they are an adult, I did explain that water can be dangerous, which is why you need a grown up helper. I explained their helper would be the swimming teacher, and they listened and followed instructions…and most importantly, just BEAMED the whole time. When they weren’t making their concentration faces, anyway. It couldn’t have gone better, especially as they are by far the youngest in the group, and I look forward to next week.

Coco did swallow a bit of water when she went under, and was not well pleased, so that may be a hiccup. But judging by the amount of imaginative play devoted to swimming lessons since Wednesday, I think we’re okay.

Swimming! Splashing! FUN!

November 17, 2011

‘You’re pretty good at swimming, innit?’

How do you reply to this? Because I’m pretty sure I can’t say:

Yes, I’m better than you. But I have to admit I LOVE the way you swim. You know how Pheobe on Friends runs? That’s the way you swim. Childlike and carefree and weird.

It’s charming.

Instead I laugh in a self-depracating way and say, ‘I guess,’ before this guy embarks on a swimming related conversation. (If I want to reenter the heterosexual lifestyle I am now pretty well convinced it would be easy to do so from the swimming pool. This is two nights in a row I’ve had a friendly, albeit weird or drunk, man hit on me.)

This guy is weird, though. As I entered the locker room, all I could hear was insane splashing and lots of ‘You can do it! Go on!’ Don’t forget the heavy breathing, either. I groaned inwardly as it sounded like a family of five was swimming and it’s only a tiny pool.

So I peeked around the corner – nope, just this one guy. Freakishly bashing his arms into the water, stopping every five feet to huff and puff and/or egg himself on, swerving from side to side.

When I was in the pool with him, I noticed that he kept trying to swim underwater while repeatedly touching the bottom of the pool – presumeably to make sure of where he was, since he didn’t open his eyes. This also explains the wild careening from side to side.

And while I sound like I’m mocking him, I’m not. I meant what I said: I was quite taken with his swimming. It was joyful. He was having fun.

And surely that’s all that matters.

Why does swimming give me headaches?

November 10, 2011

So. I got a swim membership to a local pool. Monday night I went swimming for the first time – and had a slight headache afterward. Woke up at 4 am with a full on migraine, including forty minutes of stomach bile vomiting. Okaaaaaaay. Didn’t think much of it, except for it being another reminder of why pregnancy might suck.

Then last night I went swimming again. After twelve minutes – TWELVE – I got a headache again. So now I’m thinking that swimming equals headache, which is totally weird as in a past life (ie before children) I was quite the swimmer and was even a qualified lifeguard for a number of years. Swimming is not headache fodder for me – or the old me, at least. If anything, swimming has magical powers. My last year in university I was the sole lifeguard in a grungy little inner city pool. I dry shaved my bikini line like every day and nothing bad ever happened. See? Magic.

So, why am I getting headaches?

The physical exertion? The new goggles? The what the fuck? Any ideas, because I’m going to keep swimming, folks.

(In semi-related news, it’s a lot easier to swim 56 laps the first time you go swimming. The second time, when your muscles are already tired from 56 Monday laps AND going swimming with your toddlers that same day? Not so easy.)

First family holiday, just us!

November 29, 2010

You all know we went away for a week, but did you know it was our first family vacation? Sure, we’ve gone on transatlantic flights – but that was to visit my family. We’ve also gone and stayed with TMD’s family.

As far as holidays with just our little family go, this was IT! We went pseudo-camping (think electricity, running water, full working kitchen in a little cabin, mixed with longish walks through SNOW to get anywhere) about two hours north of where we live.

I picked this place because of the indoor Subtropical Swimming Paradise. I love me some swimming pools, and this country is sadly lacking in pools in hotels and things. Seriously. And basically no outdoor pools, at least when compared to Country A.

I can firmly recommend the Subtropical Swimming Paradise for Thanksgiving week (a new family tradition, perhaps!). It was mostly families with babies and toddlers (no Thanksgiving here in Country B), so no big kids going apeshit splashing….ha ha, big kids. Hope you enjoyed being in school while we went on the water rapids, waterslides, wave pool, and toddler pools!

I liked this place because it has activities from baby age through to kids, teens, and adults. Lots of progression for future trips, even though I hope Snort & Coconut just want to stay in the pool area the whole time.

Things I want to remember:

At one meal, Coconut finished first and was roaming around. Every now and then she would come by me, and I’d hand her a tiny piece of food. Then I heard raucous giggling, from two kids. She was stood looking up at Snort, who was still at the table, and he was putting food in her mouth!

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In the toddler area, there was one pool for very little ones, and one pool for slightly bigger little ones. That pool had two waterslides, and Coconut was determined. She kept climbing out of the toddler pool and marching over the the big pool, trying to climb up the slide.

One morning we were there before anyone else, so I told TMD to just take her on the smallest slide before we got caught by the Age Police. TMD climbed up to the top, set Coco down, and then Coco essentially came down the slide on her back, by herself. The look on her face as she whizzed by me was extraordinary. I have NEVER seen her look so happy, so joyous!

————–

In other swimming related new, Snort managed to fall and his entire body was underwater, despite the lifejackets they both wore. I guess lifejackets are pretty fucking useless in eight inches of water when you are flat on your back, but whatevs.

It was like time froze, and a lady nearby scooped him out while I was reaching for him. He just blinked, rubbed his eyes, and grinned before toddling back off to the water fountains he loved splashing in. Water baby!

————-

We were lucky enough to have the best fucking cabin in the world, considering it was the cheapest one – seriously a few steps below economy.  We had to bring our own toilet paper, people.

But luckily the people who own the fake camping place understand the families deserve some good times. Our cabin was the closest to – you guessed it – the Subtropical Swimming Paradise – and also situated right on a lake. So we had plenty of little visitors.

Namely, ducks….and consequently Coconut learned the word ‘duck!’ which she was prone to enthusiastically yell, 700 times in a row, every time the ducks appeared. There was also plenty of quacking….from her, and him. And the ducks, I suppose.

Both were a bit shocked by the sheer size of geese, but Snort was particularly amazed by squirrels. His whole face lit up and he couldn’t take his eyes off this little ballsy squirrel that hung out with the ducks. TMD bought duck food, and tried to open the patio door to throw some out to convince him to stay around for Snort’s sake, but the fucking squirrel ran at TMD, much to her horror, and tried to push past her into the house.

He got no food that morning.

————

We also took the babies to their first fireworks! It was lovely, really. Everything was Christmas themed, so lights everywhere, music playing, etc. The fireworks were over the lake.

Due to some finangling mistakes with our borrowed double stroller and common sense, we had to babywear them to the fireworks. TMD was horrified because, as you all know, I’ve been in a pretty bad relapse (week four as we speak). But I really didn’t want them to miss the fireworks, so we popped on a baby each and walked down to the big lake.

Coconut was speechless, which is pretty rare. Her eyes were huge and staring. Snort apparently just kept beaming up at TMD. So sweet.

They were both on our fronts, but really at this age the back would be better – they both were leaning their heads right back so they could get a good look around.

————–

Our last morning we went to softplay, where Snort latched onto a giant hula hoop and would not let go. He took it on bike rides, on the seesaw, everywhere. He was also blown away by the slide. He’d never been on one, not really, and I held him as he swooped down (and his big blonde hair stuck up in every direction from static electricity!). The second he bumped down to the bottom, he held his arms out to be picked up and given another ride!

Coco ended up being pushed round on a bike that was way too big for her feet to reach the ground, and she freaking loved it. She adores being on bikes.

——–

Our main afternoon activity (we went swimming every morning…those fucking changing rooms!) was walking around the little centre – though we occasionally watched people play indoor badminton or wandered through a sweet shop (an incredibly big hit with both kids – all of the colours, tiny little sweetie toys and tins, the big clear candy canes filled with stuff). Coconut is enamored with walking and fearless.

She just walked and walked and walked and walked and walked. And got pissed if you tried to direct her or lift her up.

Snort really had the opportunity to practice as well, and our few afternoons in this place saw him get like 300% better. He, too, is fearless. He made friends with every adult male for miles. Including a crane driver who told me he could see my boobs.

—————

Snort’s mad giggles when we were in the pool singing ‘The Grand Old Duke of York’ and lifting him up and then speed splashing him down into the water. The kid loves this song anyway, but when it involves multiple throw downs into water, he BEAMS. Love.

———————

All in all, it was a rockin’ holiday. Singing reindeer, glow in the dark swans, a trip to the emergency room. All of these are ingredients in any great trip.

I can’t wait till our next time away. It should hopefully only get easier. It takes so much TIME with 15 month old twins to get ready to go anywhere. For any activity we did, we easily spent three times however long it was just getting ready to walk from cabin to activity and vice versa.

They slept on a twin mattress (ha!) we dragged into the lounge next to the couch. Hopefully next time they can sleep in the freakishly tall beds in one room, and we can sleep in the freakishly tall bed in the other.

I adored our trip and could write another million words about how I manifested a McDonald’s, the fucking blizzard we experienced (by Country B standards, anyway!), paninis for lunch ‘a’,  the way they both sucked down fruit smoothies from Starbucks, or the items yanked from the grocery store shelves that exploded when they hit the floor.

Another time, maybe.

Show me the SEXY.

November 24, 2010

Imagine two hot women, naked, in a changing room. As they move, their bodies occasionally touch briefly. Got that basic image in your head? Good. Let’s see if I can sexy it up for you a bit.

One of the women is bent forward over a changing mat table that has pulled down from the wall. Ignoring all the stern pictures and directions everywhere – MAKE SURE YOUR BABY IS PROPERLY STRAPPED TO THE CHANGING AREA AT ALL TIMES – she has her arms around two toddlers who are sitting on the table. The straps are dangling over the edge.

People keep pushing open the doors, which are on both sides and unlockable.

One of the women says, ‘Two sets of families have seen my boobs.’

The other replies, ‘Everybody in this place has seen my cootch.’

As both women struggle with dressing screaming, overtired toddlers in slightly wet clothing, they are singing. Loudly. So loudly that it almost overpowers the echoing noise of the other 50 babies and toddlers who are also screaming.

So loudly that a lady leads her screaming kid outside their changing door and says, ‘Listen! Someone is singing.’ The kid stops crying, presumably left standing outside the door.

Perhaps he heard one of the women scream, ‘Help! He’s pissing! Pissing all over me!’ as she grabs for a towel (and disturbingly cannot now remember which towel, and no laundry facilities are available) and presses it over her child’s penis. She peels back the towel, starts to use the pee soaked towel to wipe off some of the pee that is rolling down her stomach and coming to rest in her pubic hair, when he begins to pee again.

Strangely, she is so cold and tired that she almost welcomes the warmth of his pee on her goosepimpled body.

Her eye catches the other sign issuing stern directions for the fiftieth time – ‘No one with infectious diseases should enter the subtropical swimming paradise!’ She flushes as she pictures the razor burned mess her inner right thigh has become. Misshapen, red, lumpy. Possibly oozing.

Nevermind, she thinks. At least her swimsuit is red and orange and probably means her thigh/bikini line is not noticeable. Her other side still has the odd merry pubic hair dancing about, but she is now afraid to take a razor to the area again.

Doesn’t matter. In this world, the world of screaming children and tiny family changing areas, razor burn doesn’t matter. Nothing does.

Everyone in this place, this swimming paradise, is human. All of the women have stretch marks and sagging tummies – not to mention their shoulders being pulled out of sockets by children yanking them in every direction. All of the men are far too pale and drawn looking.

Every now and then you hear the low hiss of a father saying to a child, ‘You calm down. Right now. Do you hear me? If you don’t calm down we are leaving.’ This is often in harmony with an unrelated mother a few feet away, grabbing her toddler and heading for the pool, her voice falsely bright. ‘We’d better just go in, darling, there’s no point in waiting for your father any longer.’

‘Passive aggressive,’ one of the women whispers to her wife.

‘Look! There’s that other lesbian couple with twins!’ the other whispers back, nodding her head furtively toward the family walking past.

This is how all ‘conversations’ work. None of them are joined on. You are in the Changing Rooms now, and you are subject to the laws of trying to speed change your 15 month old twins, as an ever growing line of impatient and harried families waits to pounce on the first door to open, staking claim.

You keep singing songs. You eye up the two soaking swim nappies on the floor and consider holding one to your crotch so you can pee, because, let’s be real here, you really have to pee. There is no time for you to worry about your bra being twisted, or about yanking on a winter hat over your soaking wet bun. It goes without saying you have not shampooed or even combed your hair.

You are at a holiday spa for toddlers, and the parents are only along to do the domestic chores. So your thigh is probably getting infected, and is more attention drawing than the original pubic hairs? Who cares. So you leaned over last night talking to two strange men while holding up a small child, only to have one of the men point out that he could see all of your breasts hanging out? Move on.

You have a goal, a primary objective. You will wipe small noses with your thumb and smear it on your sock. You will not bother to rinse off your pee soaked stomach. You will jam your soaking wet feet into socks and shoes with nary a thought for the possible athlete’s foot you are inviting.

You are a mother now. You are in the subtropical swimming paradise changing rooms. You don’t care who sees you naked, you don’t care about sitting on the ground to stop your children from sitting on the ground, you barely have a chance to notice your wife is naked before she jams her equally soaking wet body into clothes.

Your kids are all fashionable and looking gorgeous. You are wearing velour sweatpants and a sweatshirt that is ten years old. Nothing you are wearing matches. Green mittens, brown hat, black scarf, red sweatshirt.

None of this matters.

You are in the subtropical paradise swimming changing rooms. You will spend thirty minutes in the actual pool, but these changing rooms? Prepare to sign away your life, because this is it. Your new home.

People check in, they never check out.