I said we were done with mini meets.
Our club just hosted their annual “Welcome to summer mini-meet”. It is a 9 and under meet and as such Sophie was eligible to swim. It’s a fun meet, the event is held at an outdoor pool and is short course meters – as are our summer meets. It is a great opportunity to see how much progress they have made before summer swimming starts and gives the kids an idea how they will do at time trials.
Last year it was a beautiful day. This year promised to be over cast and rainy. Last year I wore sunscreen. This year jeans and a hoodie. Storms were predicted and they had thought about moving the meet indoors. I talked to the coach about possibly scratching and she said it was fine. I mentioned this to Sophie and she was adamant that she wanted to swim.
The weather held out and it was a decent day. Grace and I timed and Sarah helped the coaches find kids. Sophie’s very good friend on the team also swam and they had a great time. They gave each other thumbs up before racing and congratulated each other on alternating victories against each other. Before the races they were decided who would be the faster swimmer.
At the end they swam a relay together against two other teams and crushed them!
I woke up the day of the meet completely dreading it. I left in a great mood. I forgot how adorable 6 year olds are swimming breast stroke. They literally smile all the way down the pool. It was nice to spend time with the family, we celebrated with dinner out. Above all else it was a nice gentle reminder that summer swimming is about having fun! Seeing Sophie and her friend having so much fun together really drove home the point that summer swimming is about friendships, camaraderie, and lots of nachos.
I look forward to seeing our summer friends again. I’ll revisit this feeling in a few weeks – it’s all about the fun…
Literally. And figuratively. Sophie really wanted to make a JO cut before her 9th birthday. She gave it her all and fell short on 50 and 100 fly – the two events she felt she had a shot at.
Our first a long course meet was two weeks after her 9th birthday. All three girls swam – it was our first meet with three kids in three age groups. With careful planning the weekend went very well. It was a long weekend but it wasn’t as bad as we had expected.
All three girls swam really well and were pleased with their times. It was Sarah and Sophie’s first LC meet so there were no expectations. It’s nice going in that way, expectations were easily met.
Grace swam some off events – she had already qualified for our next meet so nothing was on the line. She swam two events she was dreading – 100 breast and 200 fly – on Saturday. She completed the breast stroke without drowning which was all we had hoped for. She then swam a beautiful 200 fly. She beat her goal time but just fell short of the JO cut. Before the race she was certain she would die. She wanted to scratch and her coach and I ignored her. I think it is important for kids to try something outside their comfort zone. Grace did, not only did she survive the race, she enjoyed it. So much so that she is swimming it again in a few weeks, she has decided she wants that JO cut!
Sarah, having never swam LC just wanted to get a feel for the pool before setting any goals. She had a great weekend and is starting to see that she has the potential to do really well. Since the meet she has really been pushing herself in practice and I can’t wait to see what she does at the next meet.
I was worried Sophie would lose her mind when she saw the size of the pool. She didn’t. She swam really well on day 1. She missed the mark on her 50 fly, not swimming it quite a fast as she had hoped. Her final race day 2 was 100 fly. I was worried she would crash on the second 50. I was worried needlessly. She had an amazing swim.
After the race I got the famous wet Sophie hug. She was so happy, she is one of those kids who sheds tears of joy. I thought I knew why she was so happy. Sophie was just happy to have done well in her 100 fly. She didn’t realize that she had finally gotten that JO time she had wanted.
She wanted to do it before turning 9. Time wasn’t on her side in that regard – but in the end swimming is all about time. She made her first 9-10 qualifying cut as a 9 year old. But she did it the hard way. It’s not easy task swimming 100 fly LC at barely 9. But she sure made it look that way! And she was one happy kid leaving that pool!
Grace swam 400 free tonight. It is the first long course meet of the season, this particular pool has short and long course options.
As I am every year, I was shocked by how long the pool was. Grace is an old pro at Long Course, she is better at it than she is short course. I’m getting so old that when I was timing grace tonight she literally went out of my line of site before hitting the wall at the other end.
My first and only thought when I saw the pool? Holy Shit. Sophie is going to freak out. I’m not convinced she will survive warm ups let alone 200 free and 50 fly tomorrow. I think I was drunk when I thought my 9 year old swimming LC was a great idea.
Sarah will be fine. She would rather die trying than admit defeat. Sophie may need therapy Monday morning. Maybe she won’t notice how long it is. Maybe her eyes are 43 too.
Tomorrow night starts our first long course meet of the season. This will be Sophie’s first official meet as a 9-10. It will also be her first long course meet. Sarah too! She has always managed to have a broken body part during long course season. I’m sending her to school in bubble wrap tomorrow. I just put on my logistics coordinator hat and our weekend looks a little something like this:
Grace Friday night. Warm ups 345
Session 1 Grace – Kelly
Warm ups 6 am
Session 2 Sarah – Chris
Warm ups 1200
Kelly will bring Sophie and take Sarah home
Session 3 Sophie – Chris
Warm ups 450
Session 1 Grace – Chris
Warm ups 6 am
Session 2 Sarah – Kelly
Warm ups 1200
Chris will bring Sophie and take Sarah home
Session 3 Sophie – Kelly
Warm ups 450
We will be done around 730 PM all three nights. Thankfully Sunday is Cinco de Mayo and a margarita will be required when this is over.
Lots of new goals set – hopefully goals to be broken. It’s going to be a long and crazy ride from here on in. These crazy weekends are worth it. We signed on for this. We couldn’t wait for this. Good luck girls.
Last evening after practice two of the coaches came upstairs to talk to parents. Our pool is actually downstairs from the main lobby and the club has wisely (very wisely) adopted no parents on deck policy. The coaches also wisely (extremely wisely) duck out a back door some evenings. They all have full-time jobs and families and like to get home. They also make a point of coming upstairs and chatting with parents several times a week. Last night was one of those evenings.
They were surrounded by parents with questions about this weekends meet.
What time is warm-ups?
Which pool is hosting the meet?
Is there positive check-in?
Is 200 free first or last?
I was unfortunately sitting way too close and overheard all of this madness.
The most reliable source for all of this information is the meet announcement. Which is online. Everything you could ever want to know about the meet. You can pull it up on your phone. Your ipad. Heck you can even print it on paper on highlight information that matters to you. The club also emails everyone attending the meet ALL of this information the night before the meet starts – that would be tonight.
These are not parents that are new to the sport, most of their kids are in the advanced groups.
When everyone had their fill of stupid questions I asked the single most important question of all. Do you want your usual order from Starbucks.
Coaches aren’t complex creatures. Ask them the important questions. Ask your kids first though, they probably already know the answer. Grace had already gotten their coffee order. We are professionals at this. Watch and learn people…
Almost two months has passed since we made a lifestyle change. We shifted our eating habits from those of convenience to habits that are more in line with the healthy lifestyle we are trying to lead.
We weren’t trying to “lose weight” as a family. All of us are very physically active. It’s a blessing. And a curse. When you are maintaining a healthy weight – all the while being very active it is easy to over look the occasional transgressions in diets. And by occasional I really mean daily
I admit it. I got lazy. Cooking dinner is nearly impossible when you are away from the house every evening.
I made the decision after watching Grace eat an entire pizza after a meet. That wasn’t even the trigger point for me. A friend made the comment “I wish I could eat whatever I wanted and be that thin”.
The truth is an entire pizza after a grueling meet won’t hurt a kid. At all. What will is the mindset that we can eat whatever we want and not gain weight. We need to stop thinking in terms of weight and think in terms of health. It changes the whole vibe when you consider that. Because we can’t eat whatever we want and still be healthy. Please don’t try and convince me the Snickers diet is healthy. We all know better.
Eight weeks later we are still making the right choices. My kids aren’t being neglected they actually *compliment* me on dinners and have all but stopped asking for junk. They are absolutely allowed to eat crap anytime it presents itself. No one in their right mind would turn down made from scratch brownies at a backyard barbecue. I wouldn’t want them to. Deprivation is a recipe for disaster.
In the end, we didn’t have anything to lose. And we did it anyways. I thought that a major overhaul of our families diet was going to be impossible. It wasn’t even close. It was actually quite easy. I am really happy we did it.
I am a reality tv show junkie. Of course I watched “What would Ryan Lochte do?”. I was 30 minutes of my life I will never get back.
I’m going to be honest with you. I know he went to the Olympics. More than once. I know he won medals. More than once. Beyond that I really don’t know too much about him. Other than the fact that he is crazy hot. After watching the show, I still know that. Any nothing else. I can guarantee that Ryan doesn’t even know what he would do. The show literally made my brain cry – can he really be that dim-witted?
I can’t wait until next week when it comes back on. I have wised up, I will just watch it on mute. I can pretend he is saying intelligent things. Shirtless. I also think he should go on the Bachelor. And Survivor. Amazing Race too.
It’s hard to believe it has been nine years since our family became three beautiful little girls. Sophie can’t possibly be nine. She agreed to be my baby forever. We are going to be old when she graduates from college, we tell her all the time that it will be a smooth transition, one day she will live with us and the next us with her.
Sophie was our easiest baby. Not because she was easy but because we had finally figured out what we were doing. Or we were too busy to care. Regardless, from day one Sophie was on the go with us. Which is kind of funny because she would prefer to be at home over anywhere else. She is quite content hanging out with dad on a quiet Sunday afternoon. I guess we wore her out early on.
Sophie is a happy kid. She expresses herself by singing and dancing. People often ask “where does Sophie dance”. I try to explain that she is in a home school program for dance. Ok, YouTube taught her. Mother of the year I have never claimed to be. I signed her up for hip hop once, she quit. She didn’t like “doing” the choreography of other people. She looks pretty good to me. I guess that is because the rest of us really suck at dancing.
She drives Sarah and Grace nuts. They can’t hear Full House over her singing. They can’t see it either because she is dancing in front of the TV. It all annoys me because they are in MY family room and not THEIR playroom. Truth be told, I don’t want to see Full House – it is a painful reminder as to how badly I dressed in the early 90′s. If only I had a spiral perm for every time I hear “MOM, MAKE SOPHIE STOP”…For a while I took Sophie’s side – how do you tell someone they are too freaking happy and that all of their singing and dancing and joyous crap is annoying?
The other day I was sitting at my desk doing some work. Soph was behind me, doing one of her many interpretive (ok performance art) dances. Suddenly, out of no where, she kicked me upside the head. I couldn’t help myself, I told her to stop dancing. I thought that would slow her down. It didn’t.
The very next day she kicked the crap out of the coffee table. Bruised her foot really good. Like all good parents, we took her hiking. We had planned a nice birthday celebration for her, complete with a hike and a trip to our local winery. (Everyone hosts their kids 9th birthday at a winery right?). Surely this would slow her down?
She tried to swim the next day. Not because she wanted to but because it was her birthday. Tradition with our club is that birthdays are celebrated with Donuts, and the birthday kid gets thrown in the pool by the coach. The pain was an easy sacrifice. She made it 59 minutes out of a 90 minute practice. When she got out her entire foot was bruised and swollen twice its normal size. That slowed her down.
An X-Ray the next day revealed two of the tiny bones in her foot were broken. The Dr felt that once the swelling went down she would be able to get back in the water. That slowed her down even more.
The next day after school she was doing cartwheels. She went to swim that evening. I want to be nine again. At least I can still do a cartwheel. Happy birthday Sophie. Never stop being happy. Just don’t kick me in the head.
Thursday night I left the pool pretty fired up. I felt like Sophie was being caught in the crossfires of being good but not quite good enough.
Friday rolled around. Sophie refused to go to the advanced juniors practice. The coach had not told her what practice to attend and being a quite literal kid who is only 8 was concerned that she should not go to the practice. The head coach is not there on Friday nights. Sounds totally stupid to a grown up. Makes perfect sense to am almost 9 year old. After a battle of the wills (mine) and a few tears shed (hers) it was decided we would stay at home.
Thirty minutes later she got it together and asked to go. It was too late to go to the advanced juniors but we had plenty of time to make juniors. Should come as no surprise – I took her.
It was her first Friday night practice in either group. Attendance was light and there was a great deal,of stroke work with juniors. She got a lot out of practice and enjoyed it.
We showed up this morning for the 7 am practice and she did advanced juniors. After practice I talked to the coach and worked out a fantastic “time share” program for her that will have her in the group full time sooner than later.
I apologized for being rude in our previous conversation. He assured me I wasn’t. This means one of two things. Either I still can pull the bitch card some day. OR being nice pays off. I really respect our coaches. I’m hoping to leave the bitch card unplayed.
The most important thing of all – Sophie gets to practice with the advanced juniors on Tuesday. Her birthday. Traditionally birthdays in the group are celebrated with donuts. That is what really matters. Oh and I can sleep well tonight. No worries. For now.
This morning most of our community woke up early to participate in the annual 5K that is run through the neighborhoods. Those that don’t run make signs and cheer on their neighbors, friends and classmates. Grace expressed an interest in running it a few weeks ago. Start time? 8AM.
Grace instead rose before the sun. She had a swim practice at 6AM. Had she pressed the 5K I would have allowed her to skip practice and run the race instead. She didn’t.
Last night my husband asked me if I remembered when I became a swim mom. For a while I was a mom who drove her kids to swim. And then one day I accidentally fell in love with the sport.
I remember the moment. I was watching Grace swim a long free style set and thinking how mundane and boring it must be to be a swimmer. And then I realized I was jealous. I’ll never understand the 2 hours that a swimmer spends completely inside themselves. No music, conversation, road noise, change in terrain or people watching. I was always a runner and these were the things that kept me going. A swimmer keeps going without any of that. It is just them. Pressing on. It’s the solitude of a swimmer that I respect the most.
For the early practices we use a side door, it is propped open with a large rock. It’s a short walk down a dirt hill to the door. From my parking spot looking down I see right through the door to the starting blocks. A few kids were already in the pool and all I could see was small movement of the water. It was dark outside but the flourescent lighting made the water glow. I felt like I was looking into the window of a swimmers soul. A place I’ll never go but always respect.
By the time Grace crawled back under her covers for a quick catnap most of her friends had finished the 5K. Photos were all over facebook of families and their triumphant runs – medals around their necks. Grace didn’t get a medal today. But she made the choice to go to a mundane, boring practice today. She gets gold in my heart.