Friday, July 19, 2013

Swimming and Sickness

I'm going to try to catch you guys up in some sort of chronological order from where I left off--it's been such a busy, busy, busy last few weeks that I actually just had to consult my pictures to remind myself of what I did when!  I left you right after Alex's 3rd birthday, as Abby was finishing up first grade and Dan was enjoying his last few days at his old job.  He had a tough time saying goodbye to that work environment (as did I--the hours were so family-friendly, and we couldn't beat his 5-minute commute!), but was looking forward to some well-deserved time off between jobs.  As soon as he got off work on his last day, we relocated our little family to my sister's house for a few days--my 90-year-old grandmother was staying at my parents' house, so we decided to stay with my sister so that we wouldn't have to drive back and forth for hours every day just to visit!  We scheduled swim lessons for Abby and Jake out in my sister's neighborhood during that time, too, which was super convenient.

Abby has had swim lessons before (a parent/child class when she was 18 months old, and private lessons when she was 4 years old), but judging by the few times she's been in a pool this summer, we really wanted her to get a few lessons in before our beach vacation in early July--just to get her more comfortable on her own in the water, and give her a little more technique.  My sister had heard of a girl who gave lessons at her neighborhood pool, so we went ahead and signed Abby up for semi-private lessons with my niece.  After we had Abby's lessons on the calendar, I got to thinking about Jake--he's 4.5 years old now, and has never had swim lessons.  He's also extremely adventurous--he's never had any fear of the water, which is great...but is also very scary as his parent!  I went ahead and signed him up for private lessons with the same girl for the same days as Abby's lessons--I considered a swim school near our house for him, but figured he would do best one-on-one...a safer set up for our little daredevil, for sure!

The pool in my sister's neighborhood is so nice, and the lessons were in the morning before the pool opened--it was great, because we had the whole place to ourselves with no distractions!  We got there a little early on the first day, so we let the kids play in the kiddie pool before the instructor showed up...and we got the surprise of a box turtle swimming in the pool with them!  Poor little guy must have fallen in--my sister's husband rescued him back to the woods after the kids got a big kick out of watching him swim for a few minutes.

hello, little turtle!

The swim instructor was great with the kids--Abby had her lesson first (I wanted Jake to see how it all worked before it was his turn...I wasn't sure how he was going to do with the whole listening thing...), and she was like a fish in the water.  She was a little timid throughout the lesson, though, so we just needed to work on her confidence--but by the end of the 4 days (4 half-hour lessons), she was swimming freestyle on her own and working on side breathing!

love this one of Abby jumping into the water!

my girl practicing her freestyle technique

Jake, our fearless future stuntman, surprised the heck out of me--he has always been too comfortable in the water, not worrying at all about silly little things like drowning or the fact that he doesn't know how to swim.  I was expecting more of the same in his swim lessons--that the instructor was going to have her hands full with him...and she did, but not in the way I thought:  her hands were literally full of him, because he wouldn't venture away from her at all.  He was ridiculously clingy, and very, very timid.  The instructor told me that he is a natural swimmer, and she felt like if he would let her let him go a little bit, he would be swimming on his own...but he stuck to her like glue.  I don't know where this newfound fear came from in him (he never had a bad experience in the water to prompt that level of concern), but in a way, it made me more comfortable--I've always been super worried about his lack of caution in the water, so some extra care on his part is not a bad thing.  I think the lessons were good for him, even though it was sad (and strange!) to see him so nervous about everything.

happily floating, as long as she's holding onto him!

he was a great listener, even if he was clingy

Alex didn't get in on the swim lesson action--he's not a huge fan of the pool, so I didn't think lessons were a good fit for him right now.  He did come to the pool to watch the lessons with us--Dan took him in to play in the water the first day, but after that, he preferred to sit by the pool with me and cheer for Abby and Jake.

Alex wanted to float, like his brother and sister!

Alex and me by the pool

While we were staying out at my sister's house, we enjoyed good time with my side of the family.  After the morning swim lessons each day, we would get the kids ready and head over to my parents' house to visit with my grandmother and aunt.  The kids loved running around like monkeys with their cousins, and we adults managed to chat over the din.  My grandmother loved getting to see all the kids (she hadn't been to Virginia since 2009, and hadn't yet met Jake or Alex), and my librarian aunt enjoyed reading to all the kids one of the nights.

my sweet grandmother with 6 great grandkids

my aunt reading bedtime stories to a captivated audience

After dinner each night, we would head back over to my sister's house, get the kids to bed, and then hang out with my sister and her husband.  I somehow got pulled into helping my sister tackle some laundry projects (she would like to have me believe that she's allergic to any stains, and therefore needs me to come get all the stains out of her laundry for her--ha ha!), and Dan got to play Trivial Pursuit with my brother-in-law (I won't say who won...out of consideration for my poor husband, who is incredibly smart regardless of the outcome!).

We had a nice 3 days there, and were supposed to head home right after the kids' last swim lesson on 4th day...but I got horribly sick.  It was not good--I don't really know the cause (exhaustion?  raw cookie dough?  too much of my mom's heavy-yet-delicious home cooking?), but I was a horrible mess.  I started feeling badly when I went to bed the night before--my stomach was hurting, and I thought I was just overtired...but then I was up all night in the bathroom.  Ugh.  Dan had to take the kids to swim lessons by himself the next morning because I couldn't get out of bed--thankfully, my sister helped get Abby ready and to her lesson in their car.  We really needed to get home that afternoon, too--we had tickets to a concert that night (my favorite band, and a much-anticipated date night), and I was hosting a small birthday get-together at the playground near our house for Abby's birthday the following morning.  Needless to say, we missed our concert (boo!!) and I cancelled Abby's cupcakes in the playground--I felt terrible about the whole thing, but I really couldn't have made it home, much less gone out on a date or baked cupcakes!  I finally got out of bed that evening and was feeling a bit better--but after a few hours of feeling somewhat normal, I was standing in the kitchen chatting with my sister and her husband when I suddenly felt like I was going to pass out...I tried sitting down with my head between my legs, but that didn't make the feeling disappear.  I tried to make a run for it up the stairs to my bed (where Dan was already soundly sleeping), but I didn't quite make it before I wobbled and hit the floor right outside the bedroom door--I didn't lose consciousness, luckily, but I physically couldn't stay on my feet anymore.  My sister said it looked like I was dancing a weird jig before I fell over, and my brother-in-law bolted up the stairs to my aid like Superman--it was rather amusing, if I wasn't on the floor scaring the crap out of people.  Dan got the surprise of his life when he awoke to my sister standing over him yelling that I was passed out on the floor.  Urgh.  There's just never a dull moment, is there?  I think I was just depleted from my hours in the bathroom as well as my lack of food all day, and I honestly felt much, much better when I woke up the next morning...and we were able to head back to our own home after a wild adventure to kick off our summer!

be so, so careful what you wish for...

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