What doesn’t kill you

Apparently Kelly Clarkson has it right. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Or so says Grace.

Grace worked her ass off this year. She had one goal. Go to zones. Mission accomplished. The hard work didn’t kill her at all. It actually worked. Grace went to zones.

She said it was the greatest thing she has ever done. They travelled by bus. Stayed in a hotel. The food was “fantastic”. They went bowling, played laser tag, drove go-karts and went to see a movie. She made amazing friends. Oh. And they swam. It sounds fun doesn’t it? Aside from the pesky swimming. What is not to love about zones?

Turns out Grace is pretty bad at go-karts. This concern me a little. I was looking forward to her getting her license on her 16th birthday so I don’t have to get up at the crack of dawn for swim practice. I don’t think this will happen. Laser tag is also not her thing. She was the first one killed off. I have been bowling with her, she needs a Nerf bowling ball. All right, so she sucks at all these leisure activities. At least she can swim. Right?

Turns out swimming wasn’t really her thing at zones either. Suffice to say, she didn’t get any best times. I was hoping she would be somewhat disappointed. She wasn’t.

All she can talk about now is HOW she can qualify for zones next year. At the bottom of her age group. She wants to meet with her coaches at the beginning of the season to map out her strategy. She wants to go to the new early morning practice. She can not stop talking about and thinking about going to zones next year.

I personally would have liked to have seen her do better at the meet. But next best thing is walking away highly motivated to go next year.

I think next years goal will need to be “go to zones and kick ass”. We forgot that piece last year. I wasn’t disappointed, we are in it for the long haul. She is 12.

After a two week break, including a cruise and a trip to the beach, I look forward to the start of the next season. Sarah is sticking with swimming another year and Sophie is anxious to get back to it. Here we go.


The running commentary of my children

“Michael Phelps needs to quit swimming and find a wife, he is too old to be swimming he needs to get a job”

“Is diving safe?”

“They wouldn’t get wedgies in beach volleyball if their bottoms weren’t so small”

“Is swimming EVER going to come on?”

“We would be British if the pilgrims didn’t run away from home”.

“if I go to the Olympics do you think they will spell my name right on the cap?”

“Jumping far into sand is a sport? They should jump past it so they don’t get dirty”.

“Tennis is the best sport, they wear pretty dresses ”

“Is that a real girl?”

“Are you going to watch any of these shows they are previewing?”

“You need to have perfect aim when you run that fast.”

“Why don’t they have a world record line in running? It seems like a waste of money to only use it in swimming,”

“if I go to the Olympics can I get an Olympic tatoo?”

Facebook brings out the worst in people

Including me.

I think there is a fine line between being proud of your children and bragging about them.  In reality, we are all very proud of our children and in the interest of being honest, bragging about them is pretty fun too.  Bragging though should be kept to a small circle of people.  Like two.  Maybe three.

I won’t bore you with the details but I have one facebook acquaintance who posts complete bull shit brags about her child.  Everyone who swims with them knows it is bullshit.  I have no idea why she does it.  Nor do I care.

I want to know why it bugs the shit out of me!  It drives me up the wall.  I know better.  I know I shouldn’t care but I do.  And that pisses me off.  I know what you are going to say, I should unfriend her or hide her if it bugs me that much.  Ok, I find it a little entertaining too.  Mostly annoying.  Make her stop…

We scrub up nice

Sarah is a self-professed tom boy and refuses to wear pink.

This created a bit of a dilemma for her recently, she wanted soccer shorts and tank top from Justice and the outfit came only in pink.  After a solid 24 second deliberation she decided to break her own rule and wear pink.

She wore the outfit to school the other day and on the way to school she was trying to convince herself that she was going to be ok in this newly charter territory.  I feel for her, she doesn’t have the best role model with me as a mom.  I do own a fitness apparel company and as such tend to spend most of my waking moments in workout clothes. That and the fact that I am a group fitness instructor.  I tend to work out about two hours a day and am stinky and sweaty a great deal of time.

As she was rationalizing this in her head she said to me “its okay if I am a tom boy some of the time and dress cute every now and then”.  And without taking another breath:

“I mean you look nice every now and then”.

Wow.  OK.  And there you have it.

In my defense, I may not look nice often but when I do I like to wear dresses and big old platform shoes.  I am not a total loss.

Seriously, if my worst crime as a role model for my children is that I prefer to be sweaty, strong and physically active over cute, I can live with that.

Her new outfit though has upped my cute factor at the gym though because when I open my dryer after washing and drying the outfit, I am sprayed with glitter remnants.

Terms of endearment

Don’t you love little kidisms?  You know, those adorable little words and phrases that don’t have any proper place in the English language but they are too cute to correct?

One of my new favorites:


v.  Versed, versing, verse

1. To occupy oneself in amusement, sport, or other recreation

2. To take part in a game
It took me a moment to comprehend it.  We had a soccer game this morning and Sophie was talking to her bestie.  Her bestie said “why are we versing this team again, we versed them last week”?
Last week the other team actually schooled them on the game of soccer, we lost – a lot to nothing.
It turns out that the practice that occurred on Wednesday, otherwise known as the most chaotic two hours of my life, was worth attending.  It also turns out that it was a good thing we got to verse this team again because this time the little grammar butchers prevailed!

When it doesn’t rain, it pours.

I know I once said I hate carpools.  I really do.  Because I find carpools end up working like this…I drive other people’s little monsters all over the place.

The other day though I needed help.  I had about 120 miles worth of driving to do in a two-hour time period.  Kids were everywhere.

Usually it rains on Wednesday.  Which is a good thing.  Because when it rains they all go to swim practice.  When it doesn’t rain, it pours.  Buckets of chaos.  This week was particularly bad.  In addition to one swim practices we also had two soccer practices and a parent meeting for summer swim team that we all needed to attend.

This is how it went down.

At 4:50 I drove all three of my kids to friend A’s house.  I left Sarah at A’s and A took Sarah to soccer.  I then went to friend B’s house and picked up her kid.  I drove her kid, Grace and Sophie to the pool and dropped Grace off.  I then drove Sophie and B’s kid to C’s house and dropped them off.  C’s husband then walked the kids to soccer.

I drove alone, belting out the new Justin Bieber song at the top of my lungs (until I realized I was alone and turned on Gotye) to the parent meeting.

This is where it gets good.  Friend B met my friend A and picked up Sarah.  Friend C grabbed Sophie and A’s kid.  And friend D picked Grace up and they were all brought to the parent meeting.  Before you accuse me of using my friends, they were all coming to the meeting.

The kids were totally confused by the whole thing.  In one of my finer parenting moments I said “If someone you know offers to bring you to me, take them up on it, otherwise you are screwed”.

The mother of the year trophy should be arriving any day.  I hope they spell our last name right.

Homework is hard for me

I have a hard time with my kids homework. Especially using the spelling words in a sentence. Fortunately, they are pretty good at it and don’t need too much help.

Sophie’s writing journal was laying out and I randomly turned to a page.

She wrote:

March 14

Tell me about your luckiest day.

I got 4th in 25 fly with 1 breath. I dove into the water. I took one breath and touched the wall. My coach and my mom were so proud of me!

I was. I am even more proud that she loves to swim. It makes it all worthwhile.

Today was my luckiest day!


How do you like them apples?

Kids who swim aren’t shy in the bathroom.  They will change clothes or pee in front of anyone.  If you have ever seen a kid trying to put on a tech suit while their body is wet, you know exactly what I mean.

Sophie was changing out of her suit the other day.  I happened to be in the locker room at the time and saw her naked butt sitting on the bench.  I had her get up and explained the bench was full of butt germs.  A few moments later a lady came in, pulled an apple out of her bag, sat it on the bench, put her back back in the locker and then picked up the apple and….yep, took a bite.

Sophie had that look on her face, you know the one, the one that says “I am getting ready to say something that will embarrass the hell out of you”.  I whisked her out of the bathroom.  I will never look at an apple the same again.

I cleaned the girls bathroom today.  The upside of swimming is the free hot showers after practice.  Despite the fact that they never shower at home, their bathroom is disgusting.  I had to use bleach, scrub brushes, gloves and even a putty knife to spruce things up.  What would it be like if they actually used it?

It is clean enough to eat off the floor now.  Even an apple.  I give it 24 hours tops.

Party Foul

My girls love a good party. Me? I see every missed invite as $20 in my wallet and a free afternoon.

The first thing we do when we plan a party is look at the calendar. As a matter of fact, the swim meet schedule is my homepage on the computer and my phone. I can’t plan a trip to Target without consulting if.

The girls were invited recently to a sleepover birthday party on a meet weekend. Sarah’s warm ups were at 6:30 AM. The mother was shocked that I wouldn’t let her stay. Did I mention her daughter was also supposed to swim? They scratched the Sunday meet. We did not.

Last year there was a Daisy Scout function that took place the same time as a soccer game. Half the team chose the Scout function over soccer leaving the team one player short. Sophie got quite a workout that day. The team lost but I can’t help but feel that the girls that played won.

Am I alone? I feel like if you commit to sports they should supersede parties and such right!?!

Grace just got invited to a Bat Mitzvah that is during the 11-12 girls session at a long course meet hosted by our club. The Bat Mitzvah is for a fellow swimmer. I thought her mother had surely screwed on the date. I was petrified of how I was going to break it to Grace that she was probably expected to swim.

For the first time the decision about which was more important, a party or a sporting event, was taken out of my hands. The coaches decided the kids who were 11-12 would swim Friday night and Sunday. This is the first long course meet of the season and the kids just started training. They were given permission to attend the event on Saturday.

I should feel relieved. I still am a little uneasy about the decision. Grace will be missing 100 back and 50 free. Two events that she has a real shot at qualifying for zones. She never does things the easy way, she usually needs a few swims to get it right.

I made a vow to be a little harder on her during long course season. She really wants Zones. She also really wants to participate in her friends important day.

I know I need to trust the coaches. Right?

I like to swim too

Grace often laments that people don’t “get” what she does. Not just kids but adults as well. Often times when people ask what she does and she responds back with “I am a swimmer” they often reply “oh I like to swim too”.

I am starting to understand the bond between swimmers. I see an unspoken respect between them that I haven’t noticed in other sports. People “get” other sports.

How do you explain to non-swimmers the difference between hanging out at the summer pool vs a two hour practice? How do you detail the isolation and solitude of swimming to someone who plays sharks and minnows with their friends? Try explaining how one tenth of a second, a moment in time so small that most people can’t even make a sound that quickly, can change everything?

Only a swimmer can truly understand what it means to be a swimmer. I am so grateful that my husband convinced me this was a worthy sport for our girls. I only began to really understand the sport about a year ago.

I admit I still have a ways to go but I am always learning

Me, I am not a swimmer. But I love it.