Archive for September, 2009

Learning to Swim

Beth and I have always agreed that we wanted our girls to be safe around the water as early as possible. You may have seen the video floating around online of infants learning to float and survive a fall into the pool. We’d seen it, but never gave it a second thought, until one of our neighbors raved about the progress her kids made in the ISR program. We decided to give it a shot and signed up to work with Kennette Pyles. It’s a rigorous program, 10 minutes a day, every day, for six weeks, or until the child is water safe. We enrolled Amelia (about 3.5 at the time) and Siena (about 21 months at the time). At the start, neither could swim. Amelia could get around well in her floaty vest, but take that off and she would sink like a stone. I was amazed a the results. About 3 1/2 weeks into the lessons, Amelia was learning the crawl stroke. Being a bit younger, Siena’s progress was a bit slower, but at the end of the 5 weeks, she passed her final exam and was able to swim around with her clothes on.

Now, at the end of the summer, Amelia is officially a little fish. In Florida last week, she swam 25 yards unassisted (enough to pass the YMCA swim test to swim by herself in their pools). Siena had a bit of a slump after ending her lessons and starting to swim in pools with much colder water. Now though, she seems to have regained her confidence and found the joy of swimming again. She can swim 5-6 feet unassisted and I think she has the right instincts to survive an unexpected fall into a pool. I don’t think I could ask for more.

Here’s some video of the progress they made during the lessons:

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First Day of School

Today marks a major milestone in the lives of our children and in the sanity of our Mommy. Both Amelia and Siena went off to preschool today. Yes, Mommy now has about 12 hours per week of uninterrupted free time to do what she pleases. No kids in tow, no diapers to change, no entertainment to provide. I think I’m just as excited as she is. It feels like a milestone transformation from the “dark ages” of early childhood to the “fun ages” of enjoying the kids. Stay tuned.

[Correction] 2.3 minutes after this post hit the Internet, Beth pointed out that it is actually only 10 hours of free time per week. Not that she is counting. My bad.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Some Pictures

The last few months:

Seagrove with the Gang:

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Battle Royale

Siena isn’t one to hold back, so it shouldn’t surprise us that she didn’t tiptoe into the “terrible twos”. No, this girl officially became two with a flippin thunderous bang. Yes, “flippin”, we’re at the “echo” stage where everything we say will get said back to us. So I’m trying really flippin hard to avoid those gosh darn words that Grandma would shooshe the bed if she heard come out of the mouth of a precious little girl. It’s amazing how much we do repeat and retain, 30 years later, I’ll still bust out a “oh f-?-f-fudge-sicles”. The “fudge” is coming straight from my Dad. The “sicles” is my own little twist. But I digress.

The girls have started to realize that they are siblings and thus should periodically be at each others’ throats. That is seemingly the way of the world. I used to think it was just instinct, but now I see the cause. For the last two years Amelia pretty much got her way. Siena was always willing to please, always willing to give up the toy she was playing with or even be Amelia’s little servant (or in her mind, helper). Well, now she realizes that she is big, she can talk, and, heck, she doesn’t have to put up with that shooshie any more. So the other day, when something went Amelia’s way, Siena reacted by yanking on her hair.

So far, pretty normal stuff. The fun part comes though when we tell Siena that she needs to say she’s sorry since hair pulling is not acceptable. She gives us a look that screams “there’s no fudgin way I’m saying I’m sorry”. So off to timeout we go.

TO+2 minutes: “Siena, are you ready to say you’re sorry”, “Wahhha”
TO+4 minutes: “Siena, will you say you’re sorry”, “No say sorry, wahha”
TO+6 minutes: “Siena, can you please tell your sister that you’re sorry”, “I no say sorry”
TO+8 minutes: “Siena, you’re going to have to stay in timeout until you say you’re sorry”, “ok, I stay in timeout”.
TO+many more minutes: repeat above
(in the mean time, the rest of us continue to set up Siena’s new big girl bed)
TO+1 hour: “Siena, you’ve stopped crying now, have you calmed down enough to say you’re sorry”, “I no say sorry”.
TO+++++++++: repeat every few minutes
TO+1.5 hours: “Are we being bad parents?”, “How long do we really need to stick to our guns for?”, “Is she really THIS stubborn?”
TO+2 hours: Siena still standing in corner behind the door, repeat sorry opportunities every 10 minutes or so
TO+2.5 hours: “There’s no fudgin way she’s still going!”
TO+3 hours: Siena, it’s time for a nap
TO+3.1 hours, “Oh shooshee, we can’t let her nap in her big girl bed, that would be a treat. Let’s get out the pack and play.”
TO+3.2 hours: “Siena, you have to nap in your pack and play at the foot of your new big girl bed.”
TO+4 hours: “Gosh darnnit, Is she really still not asleep?”
TO+4.5 hours: “Ok Siena, you can come down and have a snack.”
TO+5 hours: “Amelia is going to watch a movie now, but you need to go back to timeout until you say you’re sorry”. “Movie, Amelia watch a movie. I watch movie too”. “No Siena, not unless you say you’re sorry”. “I’m sorry for pulling your hair sister, now I watch movie?”

Yes, for those of you keeping score at home, that was a 5 hour time out! Good freaking grief, we’re going to have our hands full. On the positive side, if she ever makes it onto Survivor, we’re confident she will have the “Out Last” part down.

So yes, Siena’s big day in her new bed wasn’t quite as joyous as Amelia’s new bed. But she’s now fully acclimated and loving it. Somehow, we even got away with transitioning away from the paci without incident. Perhaps it was the 5 hour trauma earlier in the day that convinced her not to mess with us any more that day!

Despite it all, she’s pretty precious:

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