We don’t care about times

I have heard this several times this year.  Dude really?  I wasn’t born yesterday.

One was the parent of a top (and I do mean top) swimmer in his age group.  I am talking nationally ranked top swimmer.  Being humble is one thing but thinking people are stupid is another.  The person talking to them was paying them a compliment.  I think if your kids is doing awesome and someone points out this awesomeness the most appropriate response is “thank you”.  If you feel the need to be humble throw in a “he has had a good year thanks to hard work and great coaching”.  But don’t act like you don’t know your kid is the shit-diggity.  Anyone who hates you for it is an asshole.

Swimming is a sport that is all about the times. No one gets better by having pretty strokes or a cute suit or because their mom volunteers a lot.  The sport is based solely on times.  After a race the kids are never thrown compliments by the timers.  They get one and only one piece of information.

Our summer league has two meets.  One that the three fastest swimmers in each age and stroke participate in and one that anyone can swim in.  I am fairly unapologetic when my kids swim in the A meets, it generally happens when they are top of their age group and I am not upset when they don’t.  I really don’t feel guilty when mid-season my kids bump another kid out and beg my kids not to react if they get bumped out.  It isn’t a sport up for interpretation…the rules are clear and not up for debate.  I want my kids to always do their best and not worry about what other kids are doing.  Of course I want them to have fun BUT I care about their times.  I won’t insult your intelligence and say I don’t.

I have been hammering in my kids heads for years that place doesn’t matter.

And then along come the Olympic Trials.  They were fast to point out to me that place does matter.  Ok fine, go the Olympics get first and I won’t ask you your time when you are done swimming.  I hope if they go they look cute though.

Please take me to practice!

Mom, will you make me some eggs?
Can we get to practice early?
Can I do both practices today?
I am going to do some crunches.
I need to get to bed early tonight.

Can we watch SWIMMING?  Please?

I would personally like to thank the 2012 Olympic Trials for motivating my girls to do all of the things that we (mom, dad and coaches) have been preaching for years.  They are no longer watching Toddlers and Tiaras but rather are glued to the Olympic Trials.

This summer we get to watch lots of amazing swimmers in the Olympics!  I am also fascinated watching future potential Olympians at every meet I go to.  No, not just the 8-year-old who is top ten in the country but also the kid stepping into the pool for the first time because the Olympics inspired them.

It gives my girls hope that hard work, hard work and hard work will get you there.  I am good with that.

I may not be a Doctor

But I can diagnose swimmers ear.  Sophie can.  She is 8.

Sophie started complaining about it yesterday morning and by this afternoon she was in excruciating pain.  And of course we are out of the antibiotic drops.

I was nervous about calling the Doctor, she is not one to call in prescriptions without seeing the kids and we are both on the same page about not using antibiotics unless absolutely necessary.

I got the nurse.  I could hear her talking to the Doctor – there was a small back and forth as to whether I needed to come in.  I made the mistake of giving my first name.   The girls doctor then picked up the phone asked our last name.  I told her and then I got the two words I was hoping to hear.  NO PROBLEM.

I try not to be known as “that family” but in this particular case, being “that family that swims” paid off.  Drops are in.  And we are off to a swim meet!  Hope they work their magic.

Not in the cards

50 Backstroke

Pool Record – 34.38
Team Record – 34.27

Grace’s time – 34.47

As a non swimmer, it is hard for me to comprehend one or two tenths of a second. I do know, it may as well be an hour. It’s the classic case of could have, would have, should have.

Grace did the only reasonable thing she could do after the race. She cried. Having gone through the summer of tears with her last year, I have this one figured out. I told her it was a great race and she looked great. She said she could have done better and “I am pissed off at myself for blowing the turn”. Holy shit Grace, did you just say you were pissed off? I am calling this one a victory.

I am sorry but I don’t care that my daughter was crying on the pool deck. She was mad at herself, disappointed and bummed. She is allowed to feel this way.

She was also criticized for crying. Who cries when they just got first? Who cries when they are #4 in two states for summer rec leagues? A kid who wants more that is who. A blue ribbon is irrelevant. My kid is not a prima donna. Nothing has come easy for her and she has worked her ass off the last year and has decided she wants it all. Rock on Grace. Two years ago I would have judged her myself. I now know better.

During our conversation I hugged her, kissed her on her forehead and she was smiling through the tears. I am proud of her. Because she did cry.

Fix that turn baby. Own it.

50 back


Am I 12?

My favorite group is LMFAO.  I admit, for my age, I have really bad taste in music.  My kids will often bring me money, asking me to buy something for them from itunes.  More often than not I already own the song – I upload it and take their money.  Usually they stole the money from my purse.  That is how we roll.

I often use LMFAOisms in my speak, usually goes over the head of my more intelligent friends.  One of my favorites is “I work out”.  Which I in fact, do.

I was uploading photos from this weekends swim meet and learned a something scary.  My 12-year-old is in much better shape than I am.  What just happened?  I guess I should change it to “I work out?”.

Did I mention I am actually going to see LMFAO in concert tomorrow night?  I may not be 12 but I can act it sometimes.  Right?

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Record breaking deal

Grace would like to break two pool records this summer.  They belong to a swimmer from another team who is a year older than Grace.  She is really close on both of them and is hoping Saturday is her day.

One tiny problem.  In the process of breaking the pool record, she will also break the team record.  Which belongs to a very good friend of hers, also a year older.

Is this a game changer?  No.

There is no guarantee that Grace will break either record.  She wants to.   She hopes to.  She is going to give it her all.

We aren’t talking about it too much.  We can cross the what happens next bridge if/when we come to it.  But I can also see it is weighing heavily on her mind.  It is an interesting position to be in at 12.  At 42 if I were to beat a friends record we would high-five, laugh and go have nachos and margaritas.  At 42 the only competition that I am in with my friends is who can read 50 Shades of Grey fastest!  I once almost had it out with a friend over a pair of red shiny shoes but it turned out that they had two pairs in our size.  As an adult, it is hard to put these situations into perspective.

She either will or won’t.  No use in worrying about it.  Can we pretend there isn’t an elephant in the pool?

Hard work beats talent

When talent quits working hard.

I didn’t make this one up.  Grace and I read it on the back of a t-shirt at a meet. The timing of it could not have been more perfect.  Grace was at the tail end of a dry spell.  She was flatlining.  We were clinging to this sport for dear life and needed a rescue.

Grace made up her mind that things needed to change – and the only was that was going to happen was if she changed what she did.  She joined a new team and really began to work hard.  The results were pretty immediate, four weeks into the new season she had a great first meet.  She has made sure and steady progress for the past 9 months and her strength, stamina and fitness levels have improved.  Her still has things in her stroke that can and need to be improved.  Her sister Sophie has a line she uses often in practice “I am working on it”.  Sophie can make the mental connection that something needs to be changed and processes it until she gets it right.  Grace needs to take a page out of her book.

I am glad things are going well.  That Grace will be the first to admit that all of the changes that have taken place this year come solely from her commitment to work hard.  It has been a fun year.  I hope it continues.  As a parent though I keep waiting for that next period of no change.  I feel so much more prepared to handle it than I was last time but find myself secretly hoping that it never happens.  Even though I suspect it will.

I also can’t help but be somewhat grateful that my girls have had to work hard for things in life.  It is a valuable gift that will serve them well in life.  If I could wave a magic wand and make them the best at everything I don’t think I would.  It would be fun…for a while – but I think what they are learning is far greater than being the best.  Striving to be the best…that I can handle.




When you lose some you win some

Yesterday was the first meet in our summer swim league.  We are in the second highest division and with a huge change in coaching this summer, victory wasn’t really expected.  Reality lived up to expectations.  The good news is we didn’t get clobbered.  The bad news?  Those meets are heading our way.

I know I am supposed to care that we lost as a team but I left that meet with my head held high.  For my girls.  The did an amazing job.  All three swam their hearts out.  Grace swept the 11-12 events that she entered, earning 4 individual blue ribbons and one more for a relay – plus four All-Start times.  She has her eye on two pool and team records.  She gave it a good try Saturday but feel short.  I am dying for them to post All-Star results so we can see how she stacked up against her competitors at other pools.  Refresh, refresh, refresh…come on…

Sarah, who I didn’t necessary expect would make the A meets not only made this one but also proved to herself that she belonged there.  Her goal for this summer was to get one All-Star time.  She came two tenths of a second from it!  If you asked her, the highlight of the meet was that she ate her weight in nachos and snow-cones.

As far as old Sophie goes, I simply hoped she wouldn’t cry!  For giggles I threw Sophie in a technical suit that was given to us by a friend.  I love to make fun of 8 year olds in tech suits and I hope someone made fun of me!  No one did – to my face anyways.  Sophie didn’t cry and swam her little heart out.

The Saturday meets always end with a graduated free style relay.  Sophie and Grace earned spots on the A relay for our team!  They came in first and were three seconds off a pool record!  Sophie hesitated about three seconds before diving in!  If we can get Sophie quick on her feet they may break a pool record.  Even better, they beat the boys A relay by 1 second!  Girl power!

In the end, the team still lost.  But here at the Elliott house, it felt like a victory.  The team we swim against next weekend says we are going down.  And we probably will.  Whatever.

The biggest win of the day?

Well, the pool always gets the best out of Sophie.  I cherish the Sophie passed out photo ops.  Today was no exception:

Photo: Sophie swims her heart out but in the end the swim meet always wins.

The last time that happened…

No never.

All three girls are swimming in the A meet this Saturday for our summer swim team.  This will be the first time ever that all three girls swam at the same time and place.  With the girls being two years apart they are never in the same age group.  Rarely do I have two in the same session.  From time to time we even have simultaneous meets in different locations.  All three girls at once – never.

I am pretty excited about it. I did have to warn the coach Sophie was prone to crying after races that didn’t go her away.  Fingers crossed for no 8-year-old shit fits this weekend.

I am of course running concessions.  I got some of those massive pixie sticks.  We may have a Toddlers and Tiara’s moment here and there.  Saturday won’t get here soon enough, I can’t wait!


My daughter is a better man than I am

I am not a morning person.  Barely a mid morning person.  I am tolerable around 9 and human at 10.  I have to warn overnight visitors that I don’t do conversation until 9ish.

Grace just started her summer swim practices.  At 5:30 AM daily.

Her first one wasn’t without a bump in the road.  She came running in my room at 2:30 AM freaking out that she was late and J (my wonderful friend who agreed to drive her) was going to kill her.  I convinced her to go back to sleep but couldn’t convince myself.  I spent the next several hours worrying about waking up.

When she got home we were all still in bed.  I suggested she go back to bed.  Instead it sounds like she is doing P90X.  She had a smile on her face and has yet to complain about getting up so early during summer break.  1 down – 39 to go.

I wish I was 12.  I am debating a second pot of coffee…