Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Lessons in Parenting

Lesson #1
When you can take a photo (contrived or not) of your two kids together, do it.

This picture isn't the most organic showcase of sibling affection.

I love both of their expressions in the picture above because it absolutely captures their personality.

Graham.....running fast, happy, just glad someone's hugging him smile. Fine, I'll do it, just don't get too close to me. She also has that glean of mischief in her eyes too.

You know what else isn't organic?
Almost everything in my fridge.
Except the milk.

I can't keep up with the healthy culture where we live.
I'm trying.
I've abstained from creamy jalapeno dip for almost 6 months now.

I was talking to a friend this morning who also moved here in the last year. We were discussing the change in "culture" here.
She said, "You know you live in California when your kid comes home from preschool and asks for seaweed as a snack."


But healthy eating aside, we are really starting to LOVE it out here. We have found a church and are starting to really connect with new friends. It's making all the difference.
Not to say that I'm not ecstatic that we're going back to Houston in 16 days for a visit!

Bring on the creamy jalapeno. And Grimaldi's.
And RJ Goodies.

Lesson #2
Keep your eye on your kids.
Like every second.

Sunday night I was making dinner for some friends who were coming over. I look outside and Graham and Addison are out enjoying the backyard. Andy is keeping an eye on kids and March Madness. Hard to do simultaneously.
I put water on the stove to boil, glance outside and Graham is IN the pond.
Now before you think I've committed the sin of all sins in parenting, we DO have a cover for the pond.
In fact, it's from a company called "Catch a Kid".
It works.
It caught my kid and he's sitting on top of the netting with both legs dangling through (jeans & shoes totally soaked) and doesn't seem to be concerned in the slightest.
Addison being the concerned big sister that she is....
is just watching him, not saying a word.
She was looking at him like, "Now whata you going to do?"

So I run out screaming to Andy, "Graham is IN THE POND!!"
and Addison looks up and says,
"Mommy, I fink Graham is in the pond."

Thanks Addison. I'm glad your babysitting years are 10 years down the road, make that 15.
Lesson #3
Don't take parenting advice given from a swim coach personally.

Meet my strong -willed "spirited" daughter, Addison.
A friend of mine invited me to join in a swim lesson session that began on Monday.
It's taught by this guy.

She warned me that his people skills were not the best but Addison was guaranteed to be able to swim at the end of the 10 day session.
Sign. Us. Up.

I'm going to give you a short summary of Monday's 1st 10 minute private lesson.

Addison: "Mommy, I'm excited to swim!"
Me: "I know, it's going to be so fun! You're such a big girl!"

We get to the pool, and I begin to introduce myself to John, while getting Addison out of her cover-up....still excited.

John: "Mom, hand her to me."
Me. "Oh....uh, ok." You're going to do great Addison!"
John: "Mom, your smile says a lot more than your words. No more talking, just smiling."

Me: Er....ok. Smiling big

John then proceeds to tell Addison to swim and pushes her towards the wall, which takes her by surprise. She still is really happy screaming because she's excited, and still loving it.

After the fourth time of being told to swim, she's realizing this is not fun. There is no jumping off the side, splashing around, or fun stuff that she's used to.....that and she can't breathe.

The whole time, John is talking to me about Texas football.

A. I know nothing about Texas Football.
B. I don't care.
C. My child is screaming and crying in the water.....STOP TALKING TO ME!!!

He then tells Addison to rest and lay her head on his shoulder. I started laughing.
She has laid her head on my shoulder maybe once in her whole life. We got the video camera out for it.
There is no way she is going to lay her head on the shoulder of the scary man that just caused her to chug water 4 times.

She's crying and saying no to him.
John: No noise Addison, just rest.
Addison: "Nnnnoooo,.....I....uh.....(breath)"
John: stifles a laugh before telling her to swim again.

The torture continues until the next rest period.

John: "Rest Addison, no noise or you have to swim."

Addison hits him.

John then drops her in the water and walks away from her saying, " she won't ever hit anyone again."

My child is underwater struggling.

I am on the side of the pool about to leap in the water, grab my kid, and then strangle to guy.

He pulls her up and she is gasping for air.

John: "Do not hit Mr. John."

I am now crying a so thankful that I have my sunglasses on.

John: "Smile mom!"

I'm going to hurt him.

The "lesson" continues for about 2 more minutes. He tells me that he is needing to show her who's boss and that her crying is a form of manipulation before asking me, "Is this how she is at home? Does dad just eventually give in to her?"

No. He. Didn't.

Yes. He. Did.

Me: "No, I don't give in to her!!!!" But I don't let her drown in the water either!"

The lesson is over and Addison struggles to get out of the water. I immediately wrap her in a towel and say, "Addison, you're ok. You did great."

John: "No mom. She didn't do great. She didn't listen to Mr. John. Do not tell her she did a good job."

We scramble to get into the house and the other moms, who did not hear our little lesson begin to sing her praises, encouraging Addison.

John bellows, "Do not tell her she did a good job. She didn't. She didn't listen."

I am crying as I'm trying to dry off Addison and being comforted by my sweet friend. I tell Addison I love her and she says, "Mommy, I need to listen to Mr. John."

Andy and I had a long conversation Monday night. I read through this guy's website. I may not agree with his teaching style 100% or even 75% but it's been proven effective. As Andy said, it's not like we're trying to decide if she takes a ballet class. This is a skill that could save her life.

So we went back yesterday. And we're going back today. And I'm questioning my parenting.

But Addison is going to learn how to swim. And I may learn something as well.
Or...I may hurt Mr. John.


the deKorne family said...

Yikes! You're a good mom. They have lots of those swimming things here, too. But no Mr. John. I'm glad. :) They are so beautiful!

Lacey said...

prOH man. Mr. John seems like an interesting man to put it nicely. I started a refresher of swim lessons for hadley this week. We are doing ISR and it is 10 minutes every day. So far, so good. I think I may have hit John too- wow. Excited about the 20th. :)

Brad, Carla, Addison, Hudson and Mason said...

You used to laugh that we would go to Chuy's 3 times every trip to Texas. :)

The Montgomerys said...

i am dying here! i knew you had that swim lesson monday but didn't realize it was going to be so hard core! not sure that i am a big fan of mr. john, but you are hysterical in the telling of that story. i was seriously laughing until i realized how crazy he is.

ps. we 're not all super healthy here in CA;)

The Montgomerys said...

so glad i now know your blog! looking forward to more fun stories!

tastybeets said...

All I'm going to say is that you and I weren't abused in order to learn how to swim. Mr. John drops her in the water and walks away again and I would consider a law suit. I'm sure mom would agree. She's gonna learn to hate the water.