Just keep swimming

swim lessonsLast week, we wrapped up another summer of swim lessons. It has been a crazy busy summer, to say the least, and I am honestly relieved to be done with swimming for now. But I must first take a moment to brag on my little fishies, and how wonderful they did this year!!

The boys all made incredible strides with swimming this summer! I think back to last year, and I remember three very timid boys. They would have nothing to do with the instructor and didn’t want to leave my side. As the season went on, Connor warmed up and grew more confident, but Ben and Alex never really did. This year, however, was a whole different story.

Connor began the season with amazing independence. He immediately joined his class, eager to swim with the instructors, eager to put his head under water and jump off the side. He even developed a cute habit of yelling out something silly every time he jumped into the water, which of course led me to encourage him to shout “cannonball” with every leap. He happily obliged. The boy who once refused to put his head under water would now let me playfully dunk him, and come back up laughing hysterically. But the most incredible progress for Connor: he began swimming without arm floaties on! He was still a bit timid about jumping into the pool without his floaties, I think he was secretly afraid nobody would catch him. But as the days went on, he would begin swimming from one instructor to another, or from me to the wall and back, a little farther each time. By the end of lessons, Connor was kicking off from the steps and swimming to me, almost at the other end of the width of the pool, without any assistance from floaties. What a rock star!!! No he is not ready to completely swim on his own yet, but he has made amazing progress, and has the confidence in himself to get there very soon. I am so proud of his courage to get out there and swim!

Ben and Alex made incredible strides this year too! I never did let them try to take their floaties off (mama paranoia over here, I can keep track of one drowning hazard at a time… three….. too much). But they still made amazing progress. Remember these are the boys who spent much of last year clinging to me for dear life. This year, they quickly gained the confidence to move away from me and be on their own in the water. They happily got out and jumped to the instructor (as long as I gave them a countdown first, “3, 2, 1, go!”…. hahaha). Alex even got brave enough to swim completely with the instructors across the length of the pool, whether I was nearby or not. Ben didn’t do this yet, but he found the courage to float on his back all on his own. They both got out of their comfort zone in different ways, which I am so very proud of them for. And by the end of lessons, I had them chasing me across the length of the pool, which they thought was the greatest thing ever. “Get Mommy!” Okay, go for it… by the way, you are swimming on your own!

So needless to say, it was a good round of swim lessons this year. The boys all pushed themselves to learn something new, even when they were scared at first. I could not be more proud of my little fishies! And they are already excited to go back next year, which is always a sign of success in my book.

Now to focus on the next big thing….. Kindergarten! T-Minus 22 days… let the panic begin.

When a child gets lost or left behind

Something scary happened today at Connor’s preschool, and I feel the need to share the story. First please let me be clear, I do not blame his teachers whatsoever for what happened. It was an honest mistake, and as parents we know that mistakes and accidents are unfortunately a necessary evil of life, we just do whatever we can to try and avoid them. And that is why I want to share this story, in hopes that it will encourage other parents to have the conversations I wish I had had before today.

At school today, his class left their classroom to go to the play area in the main part of the building (outside of the preschool and its security). Their policy is to count heads any time they go anywhere. But for whatever reason today, a mistake was made in counting as they left the room. Connor was in the bathroom, and they left without him, not realizing he was missing.

Another teacher across the hall discovered Connor, who came out of the bathroom, found his class gone, got scared, and started crying. Thankfully Connor knew to stay put in his classroom, and I cannot thank God enough for that, because it’s not something I ever told him to do. Now after the fact, I can only imagine him trying to follow behind his class, leaving the preschool and entering the main building that is open to the public, and who knows what could have happened next. He could have gotten hurt, lost, kidnapped, my imagination carries me away at this point… too many years in the news business and I always envision the worst.

We have had limited conversations with Connor in the past: about not talking to strangers, looking for a store worker or police officer if we ever got separated at the store, etc. But there haven’t been enough conversations, not nearly enough. I never told Connor to stay put if he gets lost or left behind, how did he know to do that today??? But I should have told him that. That if he gets separated from us, I don’t want him to wander after me looking for me, and potentially get hurt or worse. I want him to stay put, so I know where to find him and he stays safe.

We have been way too lax about all these safety measures. It’s easy to be when your kids are rarely out of your sight. But Connor will be gone to school all day next year, and I haven’t done a good enough job of preparing him for the potential dangers that are out there. So that’s what we will do now. We will have specific conversations about what to do if he gets lost, what to do if a stranger approaches him and says Mommy and Daddy said he should go with that stranger, which adults are safe to trust and which are not, and whatever other scenarios I can possibly think of.

And I want to encourage all the other parents of young kids reading this to please do the same. Sometimes we think our kids are too young and it doesn’t apply, or that we shouldn’t scare them unnecessarily with “what if’s”…. but if those conversations can prevent something terrible from happening, then the time to have them is right now.

The Bubble Boy had it right all along

No, I’m not talking moors versus moops here (please tell me you get the reference!), but these days I am thinking life in a bubble might not be so bad. Or at least, sticking my kids in a bubble.

Our entire family is currently recovering from a bout of the flu. Which is ridiculous in and of itself, seeing as how four out of the five of us got flu shots! But what is more ridiculous is that this latest illness has just been the icing on the cake of a terrible season of germs for us. It seriously feels like our family has been sick at least once a month, all Winter long. And it’s getting old… I honestly don’t even have the time to be sick anymore, there is too much going on (hence the not having time to write lately).

I wish I could understand why we seem so susceptible to germs this year. Has it just been that nasty of a year for everyone? We have avoided virtually all indoor play areas, ie: germ factories, and yet the germs seem to find us regardless… Maybe next Winter surgical masks and gloves for everyone is the way to go.

I do know this, we are a family that shares everything, and that includes illness. We simply cannot help it. This is a family who is constantly in one another’s faces with kisses and snuggles and loving. So if one person contracts an illness, there is a really good chance it will be spread to all of us before that first infector even begins to show symptoms. Such is life, but I’m not willing to give up my kisses. I know that someday, not too far away, I will have three surly teenage boys who refuse to show affection. So I’m going to eat up every ounce of affection they are willing to give me now, germs be damned.

 

Growing Older

Typically, this blog is about my three little Knights, but tonight I am going to focus on me. You see, I am but a few short hours away from a fairly significant milestone in my life. Yes, I am turning 30.

The number itself does not bother me. I’m not afraid to be 30, I’m not going to go around saying this is my second 29th birthday, or anything equally ridiculous. There is no shame in growing older, for with it, we hope to grow wiser as well. But perhaps that in itself has led to the dilemma I currently face. Entering my 30s just feels…. so much more grown up. And with that I feel a sense of responsibility, to myself, to my family, to rise to a higher level in all things in my life. I want to be a better person, for myself, for my husband, for my three angel boys. I want to hold myself to a higher standard in everything I do and everything I am. I want to take better care of myself for a change, not just for me, but to set a good example for my kids. I want to be more patient with the boys on the days when my patience is lacking. I want to spend more time rediscovering my own passions in life, be it writing, or music, or whatever. And the list goes on….

I have never been one to make New Year’s resolutions, but I have always been one to set goals for myself. And I do have several particular goals in mind as I enter this new decade of life. Some of those goals are too personal to even list here, but I will share with you the bottom line: to be able to close my eyes at the end of each day knowing that I did everything I could to make that day as special and meaningful as possible for my family, to make sure that we always live for today while working towards tomorrow, to spend each day sharing all the love and laughter that we have to give. It is a perpetual work in progress but the best kind of work I could imagine.

My Little Secret to Stress Relief

I have a confession to make, I.Am.Stressed.Out…. big time. I guess lately I’ve just been feeling this overwhelming sense of, well, being overwhelmed. There are so many things I feel like I need to do, want to do, have to do, to keep our family running smoothly, and there simply aren’t enough hours in the day, aren’t enough “me’s” to go around, and never enough rest. It seems like I get five things crossed off the proverbial to-do list, only to add 15 more. So yes, I am stressed out. And that leads to anxiety, which leads to trouble sleeping, which just makes things harder…. sigh.

But the other night, my amazing husband reminded me of the secret to relieving stress. We were just finishing up dinner and I was in a less than pleasant mood, because of all the stress I was feeling. As I was lifting Benjamin out of his high chair, Alan stopped me and asked me to do something for him that would only take a few seconds. In my head, of course, I’m thinking, “geez, what else can I possibly add to my list of things to do?!?” Then my Knight in shining armor told me to take the child who was still in my arms, and just simply stare him in the eyes for five seconds. So I lifted Ben up until our noses were touching, and I met the gaze of his beautiful blue/hazel eyes, and immediately I felt the scowl on my face change into a smile, the wrinkles from my forehead disappear, the tension in my body lift. And there I was, laughing as I gazed upon one of my three greatest creations, as he giggled right back at me.

Sometimes it takes something that simple to remember what it’s all about. Yes I still have a million things I want to get done, that I firmly believe will make our lives easier/better/whatever. But at the end of the day, what really matters is ourselves, our family circle, and creating moments like that when we can simply enjoy the love that surrounds us. Sometimes you really do have to stop and smell the roses… or in my case, that sweet baby smell as you press your nose to the nose of someone you love so dearly.

My little stress reliever (Benjamin)

My little stress reliever (Benjamin)

Well Sh*t…

I’m going to take 30 seconds to vent here. I am really getting frustrated with myself, after I created this blog, that I never have the time or energy to write in it! I have about a million posts running through my head, but never the free moment to jot them down. Or when I do have a moment, I’m too darn tired. Ugh.

Just for the record, all you mothers out there who had your babies sleeping through the night by 8 weeks old, I hate you. Just kidding. Not really. That is all.

How I Do It…

Since becoming a mom of 3 under 3 (3 under 2 for a little while there, sheesh!), I often hear two different phrases from friends, family, even strangers. The first is, “boy, you have your hands full”… more on that special little statement in another post to come.

But I also frequently hear the question, “How do you do it?” Or, “I don’t know how you do it.” Or something similar, you get the point. My short answer is, how do I not do it? These are my kids, this is my life, I do it because I don’t have any other choice. But truthfully, there is a great deal more to it.

This will probably sound strange to all but a few, but I have given this question quite a bit of thought, and I honestly believe that one of the secrets to my success (and by success I mean enjoying 90% of my day and not pulling my hair out or going crazy, oh and keeping all the kids alive too) is my background as a news producer. Crazy, right? Well, maybe not so much.

I’ve always said it takes a certain kind of person to make a good producer. It has nothing to do with intelligence, it has to do with how your brain is wired, and I think producers’ brains are just wired a little differently. Think about it, it’s a job that is all about multi-tasking, assessing on the fly, keeping your cool, planning ahead, etc, etc. You have to be able to juggle a dozen balls all at once, without dropping any of them. And you have to make deadline. Period.

In a way, managing the needs of three small children, and the house, and the finances, and on and on, is a similar dance. You are constantly multi-tasking, because each child needs something different at the same time, and don’t forget your own needs, like say eating from time to time, or going to the restroom. When all three kids are screaming at once, I compare it to triage in the ER. You have to quickly assess who needs you the most first, and who will survive if left to cry for an extra minute or two. And of course, no matter what is going on, you have to keep your cool, because you are in charge and three small sets of eyes are always looking to you for guidance.

Do I keep my cool 100 percent of the time? Of course not. I’m human. But I try my best. Do I always make deadline? In my new “newscast” my deadline is having three kids who are fed, changed, healthy, safe, and most of the time happy. So yes, I do always make deadline. Because there is no other option in my book. Period.

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