Saturday, November 14, 2015

My little mermaid

Lissa is nearing conclusion of her swim lesson sessions and today the instructor did evaluations.  It is very possible that if Lissa was continuing to the next session that she would move up a level.  She started in September and can now swim the length of the pool doing the crawl.  The rhythmic breathing is not perfect but it is pretty darn good.  She can float. She can go the length of the pool with both backstrokes.  She has the arms and the kick for breast stroke but they have not combined them as yet.  Oh and she can do a lovely dive from a kneeling position.  I was really impressed as this is a child who could really only swim underwater and dog paddle above water when we started.  Her strokes are fluid and so pretty to watch.

All my kids swim but by far, she has a natural grace for it.  Chet always flailed about and only looks calm in the water when he has burned off sufficient energy to stop treating the water as his adversary.  Rob swims well but with a grim athleticism. He has never enjoyed water and did it only because I required it and it showed.  KC swims with a bit of timidity. He is graceful but he hasn't got the stamina and fears that.  Lissa though. She really drew everyone's attention in the pool today.

I know they would like her to go up a level but she gets so cold after class that we are skipping winter sessions and may return in the spring.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Slumber Party Weekend

Lissa has been gone all weekend!  At 8, she is the youngest of my kids to do this.  Rob had overnights at friends houses at that age, and went to away camp when he was a couple years older.  But at 8 he was still not doing a weekend away.  Lissa is in her second year of Scouting and this is a Brownie event.  I pick her up in about an hour and I can't wait to hear how things have gone for her.

Lissa is a fascinating mix of fashionista diva and nature girl.  She wanted to go on this campout because she would be with her friends.  She literally counted down the days to it. But she also spoke with great sarcasm about how it was not really a campout.  They are in a heated building with flush plumbing and a kitchen.  They have a mattress albeit on the floor.  It is like a giant slumber party really not a campout.  And my girl totally knows the difference.

I pointed out that some kids don't get to camp the way we do and for them it would be an introduction to that. Also it might be cold or bad weather.  At which point she reminded me that we camped in May with snow on the ground in a tent.  Yup, we did darling, but I doubt that your friends have the experience and equipment for that.We have camped in rain more times than I can count.  And in reality, Lissa can be a significant help setting up a tent, so she just gave me the look.  You know that look.  It says you are a silly parent who can't see that this is lame!

To add insult to injury they were not having a campfire because the Scout leader said this was her first campout with the kids and she wanted to introduce that when they camp again in May.  Lissa can help get a fire going too, so I am wondering what they will have done this weekend that will meet her standards of what camping is.  It should be enlightening!

Growing ,growing, strong!

This is one of my new favorite pictures. Back when the leaves were green and still on the trees, my wife managed to snap a shot with all the kids together.This one is my present screen saver and I adore it.  I love the glee that is in their eyes. As they have increasingly grown and stretched their wings, there are fewer times that we and they are all together. But when the team is together, it is joyful. I am grateful for that.  I am also grateful that most of them are well grounded enough to really stretch and experience new things.

Rob is loving his new job.  Between his restaurant job, and his school work, and his cleaning job with my wife, I feel like I need an appointment to see him.  In reality I DO have an appointment to see him as I pick him up from the train most nghts.  Then we race across town to his job!  But it is worth it to see him growing in confidence, and to see him making connections that will help him as he increasingly steps out into the wider world on his own.

KC also is blossoming.  He adores a monthly boys book group that our local library holds.  It started with only about 5 kids going and now has more than doubled in size.  KC has been in it from the start, thrilled that finally there was a group which focussed on the literature that boys specifically like in these pre teen years.  This week when I picked him up, the librarian took me aside and said she wanted me to know what a leader he was. That he was kind and inclusive and always had great ideas that the group benefited from  Thinking back to how timid my guy once was, I can only shake my head and smile. Blooming indeed.

Lissa has always been assertive.  I have few worries that she will make her desires and needs known! She is quick to access a situation and equally quick to participate in it.   But her growth has been in becoming more empathetic and also in improving her abilities with the written word.

Fiona too is growing. We have moments of clarity and times when she understands and appreciates parental concern, pretty evenly balanced against the times she does not understand it at all.  Overall a better ratio for her than in the past, so I'll take that.

Chet has been doing better at taking social cues of late.  I am hoping this is going to continue.  It has been hard to convince him that societal norms are not something we need to rail against.  It does not make us mindless drones etc.  He is very happy that church has started again and this is always a good vehicle for showing him a variety of social connections.

As the kids have gotten older, my wife and I are rediscovering time that is just for us.  We have had adult times this fall with glasses of wine sipped while sitting in front of the little portable fire pit.  We are able to take morning walks together sans the kids.  (even sans dog since he is such a lazy pooch!)  It has been good to rediscover that facet of our relationship as well.