Swimming, Updated

Ever since getting back from the lake, Ryan has been pestering me to take them to the pool. There is simply not enough swimming in his life now, after the luxury of being next to a lake every day.

Yesterday we finally made it back into the water. Ryan was ecstatic, Mica bobbed and jumped all over the place, and even Nathan, who’d been somewhat reluctant initially, was having a great time. And then, while hanging out in the deep end so Ryan could practice treading water, Nathan swam solo for the first time.

I’m not even quite sure how it happened. He let go of the styrofoam noodle he’d been holding and just tried, and just like Ryan a couple weeks ago, found that he could dog paddle without assistance. “I can swim! I can swim!” he kept saying, and did short paddles again and again, trying out his newfound skill.

After that there was an explosion of swimming experimentation. They tried out some cautious jumps from the side of the pool (except that Mica, who was wearing a life jacket, wasn’t cautious at all; she would just plunge straight in). The boys began ducking their faces underwater to various depths, and trying some back floats. Just as we were leaving Ryan set a noodle in the water and swam underneath it.

On the way home Nathan talked about how excited his swim teacher was gong to be. Bear in mind that Nathan was the one who, during a full two terms of swim lessons (i.e., half a year), dragged his feet to every single lesson and refused to try at least half of what was suggested to him. I hadn’t even yet addressed the question of further swim lessons this year; I assumed there’d be a battle with Nathan. Apparently not.

Now Nathan has joined Ryan in pestering me to go back to the pool. We have scheduled it for our very next free day.

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Other Than Swimming

Swimming is not the only thing that happens at the lake, although some of us (Ryan and me) think it’s the best part.

This year there was a lot of rock-hunting, with piles of neat rocks pulled from the bottom of the lake and brought up to the cabin. (Sadly, there was also a winnowing-down of the rock collection before we left, which was a bit traumatic for at least one of the rock-hunters.) In that vein, we bought a book on rocks and paid a visit to a rock and crystal shop in Coeur d’Alene, looked at all kinds of near stones, and came away with a few as souvenirs. My dad also bought a bag of small crystals that we planted on the floor of the lake as treasure for the boys to hunt. They were pretty excited to start finding quartz and amythest crystals, and eventually I was forced to admit that they weren’t naturally occurring.

There was some relaxing, especially on the adult side. (In fact I noticed that adults without small children did an awful lot of reading and napping. Dave and I are looking forward to trying that sometime.) Uncle Peter’s attempts to relax were sometimes interrupted by the smallest member of the party, who clearly found him the most fascinating person there. Sometimes we would see Mica trailing after him as he moved about the cabin. Sometimes she would even appropriate his lap. It’s hard to say no to a little red-headed three-year-old.

Perhaps best of all, there were puppies. This is the second time we’ve gotten to hang out with a batch of labradoodle puppies at the lake, and it was just as awesome as it sounds. Having four warm, soft, wiggly little bodies hanging around, tearing up leaves, checking out the lake, and licking at little hands (especially after meals) escalated this vacation from wonderful to absolute paradise.

And inevitably after all that activity, there was a lot of good sleep.

Swimming

If I could, I would swim every day. I can’t remember a time I didn’t love swimming, and my memories of swimming in a lake are so potent that even today, the mere scent of lake water makes me happy.

With luck my kids are building the same association.

I was hopeful that with a couple terms of swim lessons behind them, the kids would be more adventurous in the water than they had been. It didn’t work quite that way with Mica. She’s never been particularly worried about the water, but this time around she was very selective about immersing herself. As the vacation went on, though, and especially as adults played with her in the water, she started swimming more even in deep water.

I’m happy to say that the plan worked better for both of the boys. By the time we left they were spending hours in the water; Ryan in particular was hard to pry out of it. Just at the end of our trip the kids made friends with a pair of boys down the beach, whose family had a lot of water toys. The addition of new friends and toys made them much more adventurous, and soon they were running and jumping and paddling in ways that I would never have expected last year.

And Ryan for one made the next leap, too. He took off his life jacket and discovered that he could dog paddle without any flotation — an independent swimmer at last!

Sprinkler

I had honestly forgotten the sprinkler this summer. Probably it’s because I never use it for watering. But a couple weeks ago Nathan found it, and hooked it up, and the first I knew of it was when I looked out the window and saw a tell-tale fan of water drifting over my garden.

Also dripping children started appearing at the back door.

Three

Mica is three. It was bound to happen sooner or later, and in some ways it has felt a long time coming, but in other ways not so much. In any case there doesn’t seem to be any way around it: she is three, and, as she will inform anyone who calls her a baby, she is not a baby but a “big girl.”

Not too big, though. She is still small enough that getting helium balloons is a major source of excitement. That and the park were her main treats of the day, as well as a gift from her grandpa and, of course, dessert. She has known for months what she wanted her birthday dessert to be: strawberry cupcakes. I could do nothing but comply. They were both tasty and pink, and I suspect that both qualities were highly appreciated.

Geoduck Shirt

Here is Mica in her Grandpa’s birthday gift to her. Ryan was unable to recognize a geoduck when he saw one, which means that we are long overdue for a digging session out on the mud flats.

Grandma

We’ve just finished a week with Grandma. A week always seems like a long time, and then somehow isn’t. We managed to do fireworks, pick blueberries, hang out at the park, and go to OMSI together, but that was barely starting on our list of potential activities.

None of the children particularly wanted to be dragged into a photo session. Can you tell?