I thought turning 40 was a bad birthday

It wasn’t until my kids starting swimming did I learn what a “bad” birthday was. I always thought 40 was it! Boy was I wrong.

So what makes a bad birthday?

For starters odd years are bad! Forty is obviously good as I would be top end of my age group. Who knew older was better? No age group for old people? Shit. Good thing I can’t swim. I also wish I was only 40.

I also have a late summer birthday, which is great for summer swim team but kind of sucks for fall meets. Again, if you are like me and don’t swim at least you have a nice tan for birthday photos!

It always humors me to hear kids sitting about talking about why their birthday is bad. They are kids – they are all great when you are a kid. Well, not if you are a swimmer.

Speaking of birthdays, the “7 yer old butterfly champ” of my house turns 8 tomorrow. I bought her a Hello Kitty bathing suit. It is a good birthday for me and I am going to enjoy every moment of this year because I feel like this is the last year I am going to have a “little” girl. Bittersweet. I don’t think Hello Kitty warns the heart at 9.

Happy birthday baby girl.

(For the record, NO I would never let my kids practice in a Hello Kitty suit, don’t be judging me).

The Butterfly Champion of the

A kid can be the butterfly champion of darn close to anything:

Backyard pool
6 and under summer team
Entire county
Whole zone
Big fat region
Entire world
Own mind
Momma’s family

Little Sophie makes a face every time she meets a kid credited with the “Butterfly Champion of blah blah blah”. Because she has already claimed that title for herself. I might have something to do with that, I convinced her at the age of 7 that she was my fly girl. Yeah, she be looking so fly. Superfly. And that’s where the name flylikeagirl came from. I knew you were wondering.

Grace is a backstroker and I knew Baby Got Back wouldn’t win me any awards. Sarah just learned to say she liked breaststroke without giggling.

I don’t swim but if I did I would be a flyer. Better theme songs.

And perfection would be?

Had an interesting conversation today. One of my favorite topics, or more to the point, debates. How do we teach our children to strive for perfection?

We all want the best for our children. We all want them to do their best. I have yet to meet a parent who says “I really don’t give a shit how well my child does”. Not just sports or academic but all aspects of life.

How we find perfection for our children has been the topic of much debate. Thank you Tiger Mom.

The nagging question is, “what is perfection?”

I am grateful for the lack of definition. It allows me to be smug in my parenting, knowing that at all times I am pushing my children to reach the pinnacle of perfection!

Perfection to me means:

Getting mostly A’s with a B here and there. In pretty hard classes. I am perfectly thrilled when my kid is mastering a grade level ahead. I don’t care if the are doing college courses in 4th grade. I also really have no interest in doing 2nd grade reading assignments so if they can do that on their own – bonus round.

Kiddo doing a non graded, after school science fair project completely on their own (as evidenced by the misspelling of volcano) because they wanted to do it on their own. Score again kid.

Same kid coming to me early in the night saying my spelling words are hard I need your help. And them laughing at me trying to use words in a sentence. Party.

Non complaining car rides to swim practice. No begging me to skip. Kids not faking an injury to get out of practice. Really? You LIKE to participate in your sport? Sweet child of mine!

I might be a total slack ass as a parent. My kids don’t have ulcers, they don’t cry and they don’t throw up from nerves either. I guess I will take the slack ass title and own it. And my definition of perfection is probably closely aligned to above average. Whatever, works for me. Although the bar is always getting higher. See, I see perfection as something worth chasing. Who wants to find it at 12? Downhill spiral from there ya know?

We are coming back from spring break and nearly three weeks out of the pool. Long course season starts and I have a kid who wants to make long course zones more than she wants three new pairs of UGGs. She is 100% capable of making it but also is notorious for being the queen of so damn close. I owe it to her to make sure she is pushing herself harder than she ever has before. She is going to have to put her body in some pain in practice and in her races. I wouldn’t even consider this but I know two things to be fact. She wants to do it. And she can do it.

I am not very good at this hard ass role but I need to figure it out. She is counting on me. New chapter begins. We can do it.

Campus Tour

Chris and I did the only reasonable thing we could on this vacation. We left the kids with his family and headed to Tucson for two nights.

No trip to Tucson is complete without the world famous tour of the University of Arizona. It started at the bookstore with a large purchase of gear for the kids. Two U of A swimming and diving shirts and one soccer shirt (although I have wisely talked Sarah into playing soccer at my school – UNCW, someone needs to be near the beach). We are now of course broke.

Next stop on our tour 4th avenue. Which is apparently where all the “hip and trendy” hang out. Translation, great area to buy a bong, get a tattoo or a body piercing. “Luckily” we spent all of our money at the bookstore. The bars were understandably empty, it was only 6:30. I am sure things were hopping later in the night, this is just an assumption because hopping is well past my bed time.

We then did a drive by tour of the fascinating places my husband lived. I thought the places had been condemned. Twenty years ago. Kids still lived there.

I have come to the realization that I have turned into a fuddy duddy. I am absolutely petrified about send my girls off to college. I hope they are smart enough not to buy bongs although it didn’t seem to hurt Phelps.

I also did the math and the year Sophie goes to college I can move straight into a 55 plus community. Nice.

The Penny Presser

Lions and tigers and bears OH MY! Took the kids to Out of Africa today and saw some pretty amazing animals. Sarah fed a giraffe a carrot out of her mouth. Sophie petted the hugest snake I have ever seen. Grace fed a tiger raw meat.

We went to the Music Museum the other day and the Out of Africa Zoo today. Living in DC I am a big fat cheapskate. I can not stand paying for zoos and museums. I expect them to be free and if they are boring I want to leave. I try to keep it under wraps when I am bored. I have no clue what keeps my kids entertained.

I feel like my kids are pretty well travelled and have been to lots of cool places but the one thing that they are always entertained by is the penny smoosher.

What the hell is up with that? Tigers, Lions, Giraffes and musical instruments from around the globe don’t hold a candle to the penny smoosher. And I never have the .51 cents required to partake. I suck as a parent. Thank heavens they take plastic to get into all of these places. Next time I go into DC I plan to take 6 quarters and three pennies. I plan to show them fun.



Who wants to go for a hike?

After 8 days out of the pool, Grace started bouncing off the walls yesterday. She reminded me of one of those Toddlers and Tiaras kids when they are cracked up on Mountain Dew and Pixie Sticks. Today she came down. With a crash.

Chris and I went for a run this morning. We are visiting his dad in Scottsdale. We came across a great place to hike and couldn’t wait to take the kids there. We had a nice breakfast and suggested the hike. Five hours later I gave up and took a shower. They weren’t going anywhere. Chris couldn’t even get them to go to Target.

Lethargy has set in. I just took my first mid day nap since college. Sophie did a few laps of fly in the 8 meter backyard pool. Sarah has mastered Cut the Rope on the iPad and Grace helped make a salad for lunch. I didn’t even go on the Target Run but I did ask him to pick me up a copy of US Weekly. I see conditions deteriorating rapidly.

I don’t know how people sit around all the time. It is painful.

Decisions, decisions

We are going on vacation for two weeks for spring break.  I feel a little guilty pulling the kids from school for meets.  Ironically enough, I feel no guilt pulling them two extra days for spring break.  We got screwed on snow days (thank goodness!) anyways.  We head west every other year and spend two weeks visiting family.

I have choices to make.

Do I?

Go Tiger Mom on the kids and make them get in the pool and do laps several times while we are away?

Cross train them with running, core work and upper body strength training?

Work the tans hard-core?

As a group fitness instructor, I work out for a living.  When I go on vacation I do exercise almost every day.  But only because I also like to enjoy good food and I hate to have it catch up to me.  As a full on lover of summer though, I like to work the tan when I can.

Decisions, decisions.  I suspect one of them is too much like me to sit around on her butt for two weeks straight.  But guess who decides?  They do!

Stay tuned, swim mom becomes vacation mom!

And your excuse is?

If you are like me, you have heard them all. From parents and swimmers. I hope you have never used them yourself.

My favorites:

  1. Had to poop
  2. Had to pee
  3. Ate too much
  4. Didn’t eat enough
  5. Pool was longer than I thought
  6. Pool was shorter than I thought
  7. Suit too tight
  8. Suit too big
  9. Flags in wierd spot
  10. Lines in wierd spot
  11. Thought it was a 50
  12. Thought it was a 100
  13. Thought it was an IM
  14. Goggles full of water
  15. Goggles in the water
  16. Didn’t warm up
  17. Didn’t warm down
  18. Warmed up too much
  19. Warmed down too much
  20. Sat too long
  21. Stood too long
  22. Too long between race
  23. Races too close together
  24. Ate too much
  25. Starving
  26. Drank too much
  27. Dehyrated
  28. Stayed up too late
  29. Got up too early
  30. Wanted to give someone else a chance
  31. Wanted to go home

So we are clear, I myself have said some of the lame-o excuses AND have let my children use them. The reality is though, it is a level playing field. At 6 PM on Sunday, everyone is tired. When two pools are racing at once, everyone has to keep a sharp ear on their pool. All the kids are sitting around, eating their weight in nachos. The kids who are true warriors can race their best under any conditions. No excuses.

And when you tank you tank. Have the humility to say “I (or my kid) didn’t have the best race / day / meet. There is nothing wrong with blowing a race, and truth is no one cares. (If your friends do, I strongly urge you to find new friends). I don’t want my kids to blow it off when they have a bad race or meet. They need to address it. But they also don’t need to come up with a lame excuse.

I love it when my kids say “I got too close to the wall on my third turn and it really showed in my time”. If they had to pee, not my problem. Maybe the problem of the kid in the heat after them.

The little things in life

Grace swam 4 events at Junior Olympics today.  400 Medley Relay as lead backstroker, 200 back, 100 free and 50 fly.

Wonder genius mom didn’t really consider that with her seed times she would swim then all within about an hour.  My bad.

Grace has been fearful of relays.  A man who will remain nameless scarred her for life on them.  She rocked it and got a best time, her first AAA cut in 50 back!  Go Grace!

And that was the highlight of the meet.  We will take it!  A victory by all accounts.  Please swim GAWDS let her do it again tomorrow.


The highlights for me:

Getting to see my swim meet BFF!  She got to stay for finals and I didn’t.  But I got a Margarita and she didn’t!

Sitting next to a guy who refused to give up “his wifes purses seat” for a man who just had surgery on his leg and was on crutches.  Screw humanity, that purse needed to be comfy.  He literally left two minutes later and we all scored the front row.

Watching my friends twelve-year-old son eat TWO bowls of spaghetti faster than he swam 50 fly (26.37 thank you very much).  We wanted him to eat the second faster than the first, a little shoving food in your pie hole trials and finals if you will.

My daughter didn’t ask for the $79 blue tie-dye t-shirt.


I think tomorrow will be a soccer tournament update.  I will be outside for seven hours in 74 degree weather.  A nervous freaking wreck about one silly race.  That will hopefull take place in 30 seconds or less!

Whatcha doing?

Me – Going to bed

You – At 9:21?

Me – Yes. Meet tomorrow.

You – Are you swimming?

Me – No.

You – What time are warm ups?

Me – 11:30 AM

You – Are you lazy?

Me – Pretty much.

It is a lot of work sitting around doing nothing most of the day. If things go REALLY well I will sit on my ass most of the evening too. I secretly like it.