Sunday, May 30, 2010

Thursday, May 27, 2010

I just need a little space

So, we're moving. Not far. We're buying a house across the street that has one more bedroom and one more bathroom. It's an intense time - selling our place, too - and there's lots to write about. Not only about this move but about the memories and emotions it raises because I moved around so regularly growing up. Even though it's not a new city and a new school like it always was then, there's just a lot that goes into leaving behind one home and entering another. Also, lots of stuff from observing the kids as they try to figure all of this out. More on that in a second.

The thing is, I have no time to write about all of this fascinating stuff. Maybe after our house gets listed and shown to some people. But then of course, we'll have to pack a little bit, even just to move across the street. Anyway, I'm going to be absent more than I want to until July 4th, at least.

My seven-year-old picked up on the fact that time will be tight and/or that a house upgrade produces short-term cash flow issues. On Friday, he said to me "Dad, after we get the new house, can we buy me some new sneakers? The one is down to the threads." I made time to buy him new sneakers on Monday evening.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Keeping my head...above water

My posts usually carry a tone of one who's figured it all out. At
least, I write when I have some insight to isolate and share. This post won't sound that way because I'm actually at a loss.

My kids don't know how to swim. Although some thee-year-olds know how to swim, they're precocious and possibly descended from fish. My seven-year-old's lack of aquatic competence worries me, though.

Right now, he's panicking his way through a brisk four-week learn-to-swim class after-school. I pick him up, and we go around the corner to one of the district's high schools and climb down the ladder into the Coldest Pool in the Western World. His cheery reading teacher, doubling as the swim instructor, leads the kids through various exercises with the support of a grownup (parent, grandparent, etc.). Within about five minutes, Charlie starts shivering uncontrollably. With zero percent body fat, a cold pool gets to him in a hurry. I actually can't distinguish sometimes, though, whether he shivers from cold or fear. He's that afraid of the water.

At moments, he just relaxes, and in those moments, he thrives. Much of the time, especially in the first two sessions, though, he thrashes against my support. While I stand in the water, holding him under his back and on his belly to help him float, he claws at my arms or curls his hand around my neck in a deathgrip. I have tried every approach from happy cheerleader to skill-based consultant to proud you-can-do-this papa. Eventually, both because it was true and because I had run out of other things to try, I told him I was getting angry about his refusal to cooperate and trust me and his own body. I thought maybe he would comply out of a desire to ease my anger.

None of my tactics are working, and I'm starting to worry that he'll never learn. Actually, I think that he will learn. He'll have an epiphany, and the time before he learned will fade into distant memory. But today, we're still pre-epiphany, and my biceps are tired.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Child's First Metaphor

Yet another day with a sick kid. We've had tons of evening events lately, and have signed over more than a typical amount of our income to babysitters. I decided to take Teddy to the office with me; he's grown to a more manageable age (3.75), and DVDs and some markers and some office toys kept him busy. I have the privilege of working on the 26th floor, and Teddy asked to look out the window. When I picked him up, he looked down at a plaza a half-block away and said "Wow! People are bugs."

P.S. When I told my friend Ginger that I knew Teddy was sick when he threw up in our priest's garbage can, she encouraged me to blog about that. I can't think of more to say about it, but what more does one need to say after vomit in a clergy garbage can?

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Daddy, I'm hungry and tired - take 2.

Maybe not as funny as the first time. A moment before this, the bread was in his mouth while he was sleeping.