Monday, June 29, 2009


Last Friday was a difficult day. Both kids had just finished up a two-week session of Red Cross swim lessons, and I was told that Joe did not pass Level 1 because he needs to work on his backfloat, but he was close. Kate did not pass Level 3 because she didn't have a strong front crawl, but she was close. So, I took the kids to the park after swim lessons, and then gave them an ice cream treat that afternoon to ease the sting of not passing.

Today was the start of the second session, and both kids were troopers. Kate went back to Level 3, and Joe was back in Level 1 with a little girl he knew who also didn't pass on Friday. Things were fine, I started reading my book, and a woman tapped my arm and asked, "Isn't that your little boy?" Before I could look up, I started wondering what he had done now. Then I saw him being switched over to Level 2 along with the little girl. Cool. Joe now has a wild swim instructor who likes to lipsynch songs and dance at the edge of the pool. They seem to be bonding given their mutual love of all things fun, and Joe's backfloat is fine now.

Just when Joe got settled in Level 2, Kate was being led up to Level 4. Her instructor is the brother of the wild and crazy guy who teaches Joe now. She still struggles a bit with her front crawl, and she's slower than the other students, though her technique looks good to me. She really tried hard all through class doing her best on her backstroke and treading water. At the end of class, instead of having free time, she asked the instructor if she could jump off the diving board. She loves diving.

When the class was over, she came over to me for her towel, and her little face was all lit up by her smile. I said, "Look at you! You are really working hard and trying your best!" She kept smiling and looked me in the eye and said, "I want to stay in Level 4 with the cute instructor."

My genes have surfaced again.

Monday, June 1, 2009


I'm not sure what my problem is lately.  I'm jumpy, crabby, and I can't remember anything at all (I forgot the word "popsicle" the other day.)  All of this end-of-school-year stuff just has me so preoccupied.  And then there are the day-to-day hurdles.  Yesterday, my daughter handed me her eyeglasses, in two pieces.  This is about three weeks to the day that her brother also handed me his eyeglasses in two pieces.  I suppressed the urge to scream both times.  

I am nervous about my daughter's dance recital this week.  She did beautifully at her dress rehearsal last weekend.  All of the other girls in her dance class (except one) knew each other from a parochial school here in Hudson.  And those girls were not accepting of Kaitlyn for most of the year.  Kaitlyn has handled it like a trooper.  I see her making attempts to talk to the other girls from time to time.  Sometimes they dismiss her by completely ignoring her.  Sometimes they are nice.  This "girl stuff" just keeps getting more and more frustrating all the time.  I spoke to the other little girl who was an "outsider" in this class at dress rehearsal.  She is giving up dance after this year.  She seems to want to turn her back on all of it and start something new.  Either gymnastics or karate she told me.  Kaitlyn is not letting herself be affected by any of the things that happened this year.  She is becoming more resilient with time.  (This should serve her well in the future.)  Ms. Jennifer has given her such a love of dance that she has not only signed up for tap and jazz again next year, but she wants to be in ballet also.  I will be living part-time at the dance studio next year.  

I am seeing a subtle change in my daughter lately.  She is still very, very shy, but she has become aware of a way to break the ice with people she doesn't know.  She smiles.  This has proven to be a very effective way to get attention.  She smiled at a boy in the local grocery store, and he turned around to stare at her while he was walking, and he walked right into a pole in the middle of the aisle.  We had a good laugh about that.  In any event, she seems to be making baby steps out of her shyness, which is a very good thing.  

And then there is my boy.  He draws pictures of me and him on little post-it notes and gives them to me.  He always draws us smiling with hearts and trees and birds and flowers surrounding us.  And he always scrawls "Joe" and "Mom" and draws a little heart between the words.  I am keeping all these little scraps of love notes in a box to look at when I am old(er) and gray.  

I had lunch with him last week.  One of the recess monitors at school saw me with him.  Her son is in the same grade as Kaitlyn, and she knew I was Kaitlyn's mother, but she didn't know that Joe was my son.  She could not believe that my two kids were siblings because they are polar opposites.  I hear this all the time.  Kaitlyn is shy and Joe is, well, he's something else.  I guess the world would be pretty boring if we were all the same.  Sometimes I think it would make my home life a little easier though . . . 

So, this video is dedicated to my two kids.  You get me through my crabby days, and you love me in spite of myself.  I love you right back.  You are my everything.