Friday, June 27, 2008

Can It Be?

Swim Lessons: Day 4

Can it be that all the advice was true? That all those parents who offered wisdom over the past week really knew what they were talking about?

On our third day of actual swimming (Day 3 was rained out), Drew only screamed and cried for about 25 minutes out of a possible 45 minutes. He kicked, paddled, blew bubbles and willingly reached out for his teacher's arms. He said good-bye to his teacher after class and showed me some of his new moves (big arm circles forward and backward) in the car on the way home.

Can it be that someday I'll be able to offer the same words of encouragement to another parent of a despairing toddler? A day when this swimming saga will be a distance memory????

Four lessons down, four more to go...

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Let it Rain!

Swim Lessons, Day Three:

2 weeks of swim lessons at the local pool:
Cost - $35

Having your child melt down during
first 2 days of swim lessons:
Cost - One Mommy's Ego

An afternoon thunderstorm raining out
Day Three of Swim Lessons:

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

I wonder if anyone else noticed...

Swim Lessons, Day 2:

Stop crying, you're going to do great today.

Hello. We're here for swim less...oh, you remember us?
Thank you, we'll wait by the bleachers.

Hi, oh...thanks for the encouragement.

Yes, he certainly is strong-willed.

Thank you, I appreciate you stopping by to share.

So, your son did the same thing?
Wow, that makes me feel better.

Sshhhh...stop crying, here comes your teacher.
Drew, you need to calm down.

I'll be hiding behind these bushes right here.

Oh - yes, that's my child. You were here yesterday, too, huh?

Oh, thanks I appreciate your encouragement. That really means a lot.

So, how long was it before your daughter stopped crying. Wow, that is a long time.

Yes, he belongs to me. I know... bless his little heart.

I'm just trying to stay out of sight over here.

Oh, thanks for the update. Yes, I can hear him crying still.

It would be hard for you, too huh? Parenting certainly isn't easy, you're right.

Hey Honey, thanks for calling. We're here. Yep, that's can hear that through the phone, huh? Wow. OK, gotta go.

Hi there, oh thanks. I hope so. I appreciate your kind words.

They're done!? Terrific.

Hey Buddy! High Five! Mommy's so proud of you!
Tell your teacher bye-bye, we'll see you all tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

A Can of Spinach

When my brother was about four years old, he went through a "Popeye" phase, culminating in daily pleas for my mom to buy him a can of spinach. I'm sure he envisioned giving that can of vegetables a good squeeze, catching a few gulps in his mouth and watching the biceps burst forth!

So, when my mom purchased a can of spinach, my little brother carried it around with him for an entire day. Finally, at dinner, my parents opened his prized possession...

It's a sad thing when our anticipation collides with reality. I'll never forget the look on my brother's face when the first taste hit his tongue. A mixture of disgust, surprise and betrayal ("Why would you allow me to put that awful stuff in my mouth!?!?"). All those dreams of macho muscles lay crushed on top of a pile of soggy, slimy, bitter green veggies. And the only thing left was a broken-hearted, sobbing little boy.

We tasted our own can of spinach yesterday afternoon at the community pool. For a week, Drew has been thrilled about his upcoming swim lessons. He reminded me daily that he was going to be learning how to swim because he was a "Big Boy now!" When we got to the pool, we strolled around the complex and watched some other children finishing the swim class before ours. Drew spotted the kiddie pool, filled with colorful slides and spraying water, and asked if we could do our swim lessons over there.

"No," I replied. "You'll be doing your class wherever your teacher tells you to go."

Perhaps I should have explained swim lessons a little more clearly. The first bitter tastes began to hit his tongue.

"Aren't you staying with me, mommy?" he asked.
"Well, I'll be sitting over on the side while you swim with your class."

A tear or two filled his little eyes.
"I want to be with you, mommy."
Oh boy! This could get interesting.

The teacher arrived at that point and the children began following her like ducklings straight toward the pool. All except my son. By this point, he'd decided that swim lessons weren't matching up with his expectations, and he was no longer interested in participating. Unfortunately for everyone at the pool yesterday, I gave him no choice.

For the next 45 minutes, my child screamed and cried while sitting on the ledge of the pool, with his back to the teacher, unable to bear the idea of even looking at the water. He pleaded with me to save him from his misery. His sobs could be heard all across the complex...

"Please come get me mommy!"
"I'm all done now!"
"I miss you, mommy!"

Meanwhile, Grandma and Grandpa decided to stop by and check out their grandson's first day of swim. (After all, they had seen how excited he was for weeks before, how great his anticipation had been, and they wanted to share in that joy.)

But one look at the scene unfolding at the pool yesterday, and my father knew that he'd seen this situation before. "Uh Oh, Looks like Drew just opened his first can of spinach!!!" he said to my mom.

Perhaps swimming, like spinach, is an acquired taste. Stay tuned. One lesson down, seven more to go...

Friday, June 20, 2008

..And Grow in Christ Every Day!

Drew's been trying to teach me a song for several weeks. He sings it during the Kids Worship time at church each Sunday. But with his limited memory and mispronunication of some key words, I was having a very difficult time learning this new song.

Two weeks ago, as I was tucking him into bed on a Sunday night, he began to sing it to the best of his recollection. I gathered that it included the following:

"something something in SIN
something something KNOW
lalalalala WHITE AS SNOW."

I have learned my fair share of great children's Bible songs throughout my life, so I attempted to fill in the blanks. I'd sing something (with my own made-up tune), only to have my child respond with laughter, "No, Mommy! That's not it." He'd sing his version again. I'd try to repeat it. This went on several times until Drew finally said, "I'm falling asleep, Mommy."

Last week, a new line of the song was recalled, and he taught me to "GROW IN CHRIST EACH DAY." I was delighted when he stopped to explain, "That means to grow in Jesus, Mommy!"

By this point, I was determine to find out the actual words of the song. So, after a few emails back and forth with Drew's teacher, I was able to get the words AND the tune onto my computer. I practiced a few times, then excitedly called Drew into our home office. "Hey! Mommy has a surprise for you." I sang:

My heart was black with sin
Until the Savior came in
His precious blood, I know
Will wash me whiter than snow.
And in God’s Word I’m told
I’ll walk the streets of gold.
I’ll read my Bible and pray,
and Grow in Christ every day!

A smile spread across my son's face. "Yey!" he exclaimed. "Now you can come to Worship!!! You can sit next to me!"

His invitation was precious, as if sent straight from heaven to my heart. A reminder that even the smallest new thing learned about my Savior (like a little children's song) is reason enough to come and worship. I just picture His invitation: "Yes! You've learned something new about Me! Now, come sit with me! Come worship!"

Thursday, June 19, 2008

My Little Parrot

"What's my Problem??" son asked himself yesterday.

Please don't even ask where he learned the phrase. I'm considering a brief vow of silence today as I contemplate my position as role model.

Perhaps, as I take a time-out from talking, I should study up on one of my own role models, the Proverbs 31 woman.

"When she speaks, she has something worthwhile to say, and she always says it kindly." (Proverbs 31:26)

Friday, June 13, 2008

An Inheritance

I have only recently realized that this blog is completely and utterly unoriginal. Not because there are thousands of "Mom Blogs" out there (there are, by the way), and not because there are thousands of moms who've experienced the exact same feelings/emotions/adventures as I have (they have, by the way).

This blog is completely and utterly unoriginal because it was already written thirty years ago by my own mom.

The other day, I was at her house, searching for inspiration. My mom loved to write and kept wonderful records of our many milestones and memories. I borrowed the baby books the other day, along with a worn and faded blue spiral notebook.

The contents are breath-taking. I have laughed and cried, and finally today, I have been astounded by the realization of exactly how unoriginal my mommyhood really is.

The following is an entry written 30 years ago, as my mom described me at age 2:

"At prayer time at night, you always jump into bed, giggle, and say, Let's talk about the day!. When we begin to leave at night you say, Lay down with me....please! and when we do, you put your little arm around our neck and pat our backs."

This is the EXACT routine that occurs in my own home with my son every single night. I never knew that this nighttime routine was actually an inheritance from my own mom until today.

And while I'm the heir of this and many other marvelous gifts of time, love, energy and a passion for parenting... I am thrilled with the possibility that my own family is building upon this legacy. Reinforcing beloved traditions with Drew and making up a few new ones as we go along.

Perhaps one day, Drew will come across a faded old blog, and be curious enough to want to discover a little more of his own inheritance in these "pages".

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Swiftly Flow the Days

Several weeks ago, the 2008 high school graduates were recognized during our church service. As the youth pastor made his way to the platform to introduce each of the seniors to the congregation, I was on the edge of my seat.

I LOVED high school and fondly remember all the excitement that went along with graduation. As I watched these young people sitting in the front row, dressed in caps and gowns, I smiled from ear to ear, considering the promise and possibilities awaiting each one in the next decade of his/her life.

Then the first young man's name was read. As he got up from his seat and made his way to the front of the church, the large video screens behind the pulpit flashed a picture of this graduate as a young boy.

Immediately (and to my great surprise), tears filled my eyes and a huge lump lodged itself in my throat. Barely able to breathe, I turned to my husband and said, "I don't think I'm going to make it through this!"

The slideshow continued, showing the boy progress from toddler to boy to teen to young man in just under 10 seconds. The same kind of pictorial tribute was given to each of the next 20 or so students, as he or she walked across the stage to the delightful cheers of friends, family and classmates.

"No, no, no!" I thought to myself. "It all went too quickly! He was just a little boy!"

When I was a kid, I clearly remember making fun of my own mom for crying over McDonald's commercials or when she heard the song "Sunrise, Sunset" from Fiddler on the Roof.

Sunrise, Sunset
Sunrise, Sunset
Swiftly flow the days
Seedlings turn overnight to sunflowers
Blossoming even as we gaze

But in that moment, I was in a complete state of wistful emotions, wondering why it all had to go by so fast. I eventually reassured myself as I glanced at the nursery pager sitting next to a juice box in my purse. "Drew is only three years old. You have fifteen years before you'll be watching your boy walk across that stage."

When we picked our son up from the nursery later, he handed me his coloring sheet, and told me about his Bible story. He then asked my husband, "How was your class today, Daddy?"

As I watched my husband and son walking out to the car together, it occurred to me that graduation day will come all too soon.

For as the last stanza of the song observed:
Swiftly flow the years.


Monday, June 9, 2008

Ready or Not, Here I Come!!


Three pairs of bare toddler feet fly past my kitchen counter. Drew has two friends over for the morning, and I have barely seen him in the last hour.

But, for the past ten minutes, they have recruited me to be "It" in a riveting game of Hide and Seek.

While I'm impressed that they all seem to understand the basic concepts of the game, I wonder if I should point out that it's much easier for "It" to find them when they ALL insist on hiding together in the same place.

I simply follow the sounds of muffled laughter, then look for six arms and six legs protruding from underneath a stack of pillows or bed sheets.

I barely get the words out, "There you are!" and they scream their little heads off, delighted by the thrill of this chase.


I open my eyes and announce, "Ready or not, here I come!" This time, the giggles are definitely coming from mommy's room. With the lights off, there are many great dark corners for hiding, and I wonder if they will be able to elude my search for a little longer this time.

Three little light beams dance across my ceiling and closet doors. Ah, they've found the stash of flashlights. I try to pretend not to see them, but the giggles are already erupting into full-blown squeals, and now they're shining their flashlights directly into my eyes. So much for "hiding".

Drew is not good at hiding much of anything. Even when he knows he's about to do (or has already done) something wrong, he announces his transgression to anyone who will listen.
"I didn't share toys with my friend, Daddy!"
"I just drawed on the dog."
"You told me I could have two Skittles, Mommy. I'm getting three right now!"

It's like he carries around a constant flashlight.
"Look! I'm hiding something over here!"
"Don't let me do this."
"Are you paying attention to what I just did?"

So, while I'm counting to ten today, I'm counting my blessings. Because I know that someday he's going to figure out how to play a much more sophisticated game of "Hide and Seek", whether I'm ready or not!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Distracted by Dolphins

There are few times when I let my guard down or stop my busy schedule to be completely amazed or enthralled by something unexpected.

My son, and any other child his age, is the master of being distracted. I relate to a line in one of PK Hallinan's books, "ABC, I Love You", where the parent confesses, "I love the way you act amazed as ants go ambling by."

It's true for me, I love that curious and unhurried nature about Drew. He will stop what he's doing for anything...a plane flying overhead, a squirrel chasing up a tree, a pretty sunset.

I, and any other adult, am the master of avoiding distractions. I fill my schedule to the brim, then set my line of vision toward the goal, the prize, whatever I'm expecting in the distance, much of the time completely missing the wonderful distractions of life.

But today, even I was jolted out of my "zone" as I was power-walking (dog and Drew with me, as always) on a causeway leading out to the beach. It was hot, yet a cool breeze blew in off the gulf, allowing me an extra burst of energy to make it up the bridge one last time before heading to our car. As we approached the crest of the drawbridge, I looked out over the beautiful ocean water and saw not one, not two, but THREE dolphins diving directly under us!

I've seen many dolphins in the 30+ years that I've lived in Florida, but I'm always amazed at these gorgeous and elusive creatures. They aren't often spotted, especially in a busy channel of water like our intercoastal passage has become. So, when I saw three dolphins, I stopped our walk, put the brakes on the stroller and rose up on my tip toes like my three year old would do. And with the exuberance of a toddler, I couldn't help but pass the excitement along to the other walkers coming up the hill behind us.

"Dolphins!" I cried. "And there are three of them! Right over there!" I pointed and directed, bouncing up and down as they surfaced once over here, a few minutes later over there.

Two or three people stopped and enjoyed the sighting with us. We chatted and laughed for a few minutes, then we all continued along our routes once the dolphins moved farther along theirs.

Drew and I had a great time talking about the beautiful creatures we saw, wondering aloud where they might next be headed. I'm so grateful for today's unexpected distraction. I pray that it reminds me to allow more distractions into my life so that I might slow down and appreciate all the beauty around me.

Psalm 90:12 "Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom."

Monday, June 2, 2008

Mommy's Birthday

I recently celebrated my "thirty-something"th birthday. Having just celebrated his own birthday in a BIG way, Drew was ecstatic to wake me up at the crack of dawn to wish me a "Happy Birthday, Mommy!"

My poor husband hadn't been able to do much in preparation for my special day, as he'd just undergone knee surgery and couldn't walk or drive, etc. Drew wasn't letting him off the hook, though.

"Where are all the balloons, Daddy?"
"Where are the streamers?"
"Did you buy a cake?"

When Daddy confessed that he had done nothing of the sort, Drew grabbed my cell phone off the counter, brought it over to me, and said, "Call Grandma, Mommy! She has all these things!"

How sweet that he wanted to ensure my birthday had all the familiar festivities. He was right, too. We went to Grandma's house later that day, and all the decorations were just what he had hoped for - balloons, streamers, cake, presents, etc.

The real icing on the cake, though, was when we asked Drew, "How old is Mommy today?"

"Twenty and a half!"

Oooo... I love that little boy!