Friday, June 24, 2011

How survive a swim meet

Six weeks into our first experiment with swim team I feel like I've got a lot to share.

There's nothing in the world quite like the strange experience of a swim meet. If you're considering a foray into the aquatics world next summer here are some points to consider:

1) Prepare yourself for pre-meet tantrums. Your children will moan and grumble, "I don't want to go." But you won't try to talk them into going because frankly, it's not really your idea of fun to sit in 112 degree heat, huddling under the tiny patch of shade you were able to shoulder your way into. Somehow your reluctance to convince them to go will persuade them that they really do want to go after all and at the last minute they'll stumble into their suits and goggles and into the car.

2) Don't be embarrassed that your son is wearing shorts that are basically painted on. All the boys are wearing them. It could be worse. It could be a Speedo.

3) There some really, really fast kids. And even though your kids have gotten faster and faster, there are just some incredibly fast kids. It's amazing.

4) Everyone gets a ribbon. But not the same ribbon. Every place, down to the 8th gets a different color. I'm sure you know that blue is 1st, but did you know that 8th is pink? Or that 6th is maroon? These colors will become very important to your children.

5) Especially when he gets a color he doesn't like.

6) You'll forget your camera when they finally get a color they do like.

7) When it's all over go home and wash off the salt deposits left from the rivers of sweat coursing down your bodily ravines. By the time you're clean you'll find that your kids have proudly hung their 7th and 8th place ribbons on the wall, right next to their 2nd and 3rd place ribbons without any hesitation.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Summer induced imagination

My kids went to Mexico. One morning after their work, #3 started packing her bags and when asked, informed me that she was on her way to Mexico. It wasn't long before our family room was a maze of blankets draped between backs of chairs; pillows, pretend food and stuffed animals were dragged out of bedrooms and play room and used as provisions for their stay in Mexico. The kids crawled under their blanket forts, occasionally emerging to write letters home and slip them under my bedroom door. Later I sent a letter back to Mexico, asking the children to come home soon because their Mama missed them.

It's hard to go to Mexico all day without getting hungry. Fruit snacks and crackers were smuggled into the country. And I'm pretty sure watery tea was served beneath the blankety fortress.

In the late afternoon, when every toy, blanket and pillow in our house were in Mexico I insisted that it was time for the kids to come home. The Great Clean Up began with surprisingly few complaints and mostly helpful kids.

When the house was put back in order and we sat around the dinner table, #3 asked, "After dinner can we go to Mexico again?"

I just love unstructured time in the summer when our children come up with these elaborate schemes. What fun or crazy things have your kids done this summer?