First day of summer break

I love summer!  I love the warm weather, lack of a schedule (other than the intense swim schedule), no homework and watching my kids have fun.

I was once criticized for making the joke that I start my summer countdown calendar on the first day of school.  My “friend” suggested that when I say that I live for summer I am sending the message to my children that no other seasons are worth living for.  I am pretty sure my kids understand my use of exaggeration and hyperbole.  Although I do hate winter.  I am solar-powered, I need the sun.

I don’t literally have a summer countdown calendar but it might be something fun I could create and sell to fellow summer lovers like myself.  It could be like an overgrown advent calendar.  There is probably a market for this.

My house always feels cleaner in the summer.  We usually eat at the pool, laundry is minimized and the bathrooms are much cleaner because my kids shower at the pool.  At least I thought they did.

I asked Sophie this morning when the last time she took a bath was.  She was looking a little rough.  She asked a question that sparked some concern.  “With soap?”  Note to self, make sure shampoo, conditioner and soap get added to the pool bag.

I may have to ship her to Florida to live with her grandparents if her hygiene doesn’t improve.

I suppose a shower is overrated if you spend 4 hours a day in the water.

Am I getting fat?

My middle daughter, Sarah, was 6 lbs 10 oz at birth and looked like a plucked chicken.  Except she was the color of a tomato.  For twelve weeks.  That kid screamed her fool head off for 12 straight weeks.  She is a ball of energy now and never stops moving.  She has two nicknames, scrappy and crazy.  Occasionally my friend mixes them up at soccer games and calls her scary.  Truth be told, she is that too.

Sarah has always been on the thin side.  Once the screaming stopped and the red disappeared we actually realized that her skin was paste white.  The chicken look stuck around – her legs literally made chicken legs look big. Her tiny features are complimented by beautiful big blue eyes with long, dark eye lashes and darling freckles.  She is irresistibly cute.

Imagine my shock when last night she looked me straight in the eye and said “am I getting fat”

This is a big deal to me.  I don’t want my girls to be unhealthy.  Fitness and health has always been very important to me.  I work as a group fitness instructor – as such I talk to women on a daily basis with negative body images.  The reality is, most women and men do have negative body images about themselves, real or imagined.  I try very hard to watch what I say around my girls.  After a long holiday weekend I may feel a little off my game and a little chubbier than normal but I very desperately try not to say “I feel fat” because even though from time to time I feel heavier than I normally am, I am not fat.

Nor is my daughter.  She is probably still underweight for her frame and height.  Yet here she was asking me if she were getting fat.

About a year ago Sarah started to fill out.  Her favorite foods had always been tomatoes, pickles, cucumbers, lettuce with vinegar and black olives. Oh and anything made with sugar.  I honestly thought that this kid wouldn’t go through puberty until she was 16.  About two months ago she came to me with concerns that one of her breasts was very sore and swollen.  Having already had a child go through puberty you might think I would know better but instead I ran her over to the Doctor.  The prognosis was good, Sarah will live.  Oh and get boobs.  She was starting puberty.  I have always had to special order slim clothing for her but suddenly I was returning clothes and buying them in larger sizes.  I took a long hard look and realized she was filling out.  Truth be told, for the first time in 10 years, Sarah looks to be at a healthy weight.

My older daughter Grace is tall and quite thin.  She enjoys being fit and trim, she knows what being healthy feels like – and likes it.  I catch her from time to time looking in the mirror and I can’t help but worry what she is thinking – am I getting abs?  Little Sophie still has baby fat.  It hasn’t bothered her until recently.  I see a tiny glimmer of concern in her eye when I have to help her button shorts that are a little snug.  Sophie is a solid girl, she is taller and weighs more than her sister, two years older than her.  She is also 8.  She has lots of growing to do and by all accounts still is a baby.

I had hopes that raising my girls with an interest in sports would help prevent body image concerns but my optimism was short-lived.  I realize that my three girls are not the exception to the rule, that they, just like most other women and girls are going to have concerns about the way their bodies look.  My task is to keep them on the right track.  I worry about both sides of the equation.   I would be just as concerned if my girls were intentionally underweight as I would be if they were overweight.

As parents we try to teach our children that they need to eat well and exercise so that their bodies will be healthy.  That their bodies will respond to proper nutrition and exercise.  That living well will equate to looking well.  So while little Sarah is needlessly worried about a change in her body, I am constantly worried that I can keep them focused on health in a natural and normal way.  It doesn’t consume me, I am not obsessed but I am also willing to admit I think about it.

I think for now it’s all good.  An hour later a friend who hadn’t seen Sarah in a year complimented how muscular she had become and she was beaming with pride and flexing her newly found bicep.

My iphone is like crack

Well it is cracked.  For the second time.

The first time it bounced of the garage floor.  I went sobbing into the store and walked out with a new one.  Feeling smug.  They got the last laugh.  They gave me a piece of crap.

The top button doesn’t work.  It doesn’t hold a charge.  It gets stuck all the time.  And it has a tiny crack on the screen.  I only take the blame for the last one.  I went into the store and they wanted $200 to fix it.  I decided to deal with it.

I am now “upgrade eligible” and can get a new phone.  I am getting another iphone.  I researched all of the other options and nothing spoke to me.  So later today, Siri, who I find completely annoying, will speak to me.

Why does apple do to make their products so addicting.  You have an hour and a half to talk me into something else….go…

PS – Why in the world can’t they make a screen that doesn’t break?

Yes, that was bad. High five.

Sophie had a welcome to summer mini meet yesterday – our first outdoor meet of the season.  We had a really quiet weekend and the weather was absolutely perfect, 82 degrees.  I gathered the entire family and we all went together to the meet.  Well, after we woke Sophie up.

She had a girls scout sleepover the night before at a campground.  This is not something I would normally sign up for the night before a meet but the sleepover was originally scheduled for the weekend before.  When the sleepover changed weekends I debated cancelling the plans for either the meet or the sleepover.  And then I didn’t.  She is 8.  How bad could it be?

She walked in the door from the sleepover and burst into tears.  So did I.  She smelled like she slept in the campfire.  She was exhausted.  After a nice hot bath I got her into my bed and got her to take a nap.  When it was time to leave she was still asleep.  We finally woke her up and got her to the meet.

She warmed up and seemed ok.  Then she swam her first race.  She looked like a cat that had been thrown in the water.  Two races later, nothing had improved.  After she finished fly, she came running to me in tears.  “I swam horrible”.  No denying that.  We talked about what she did wrong, hugged, high-fived bought a ginormous pixie stick and went home.  My 8-year-old swam terrible.  So what?

We should have had the pixie stick first.  And a Red Bull.

The upside of the meet?  Grace later posted on facebook that “swim meets are boring unless you are swimming in them” AND she thanked me for all the meets I sit through.  WIN!

Thirty minutes before warm-ups!

The trophy wife

I am 42. And 3/4. In other words, almost 43. Old. Not a trophy wife. My husband is actually younger. By almost a year.

But I am the wife that collects the trophies.

I think trophies are stupid. Rec soccer? Trophy. Three kids in it? Three identical trophies. None are actually earned for doing something magnificent, they are just given out – quite freely. I am a bitch. I think all of these trophies are stupid. And my kids know it.

Am I a bad mom? I have already claimed the worst mother in America title, I am totally fine with it. But I think trophies, ribbons and plaques are just down right stupid. Unless they are earned. For instance, soccer tournament won. Trophy earned. Lose every game in the tournament? You lost. Save the trophy for the winners.

We changed swim teams last year. The owner of the old team called my husband Steve. Not his name. He spelled our last name incorrectly. Half the time. And for some of my kids. At the very least, the girls, my husband and I are all related. And as such, all five of us spell our last name the same.

My girls are clearly as jaded and cynical as I am. At the end of the year banquet last year, Grace got her trophies and came and sat next to me and said “for mother’s day I think we should buy you an engraver”. Elliott, a quite simple last name, was spelled with one T. For all three.

We thought about spelling our name: Elliotttwotees. It has a nice ring to it.

If, and I do mean IF, you are going to hand out trophies, spell the kids freaking name right. If there is any doubt, refer to the $4K in checks we have written you in the past year. Our name happens to be spelled correctly on every freaking one of them.

I guess I am not really bitching about the stupid trophies that are handed out like candy but rather the inability for anyone to get our freaking names right. College educated people who collect money from us on a regular basis screw it up. Think I am kidding? Take a look at these two photos. Not only are my kids names totally screwed up but the crazy assed names of their peers? Totally right. If you see me at an awards ceremony with a bad attitude, trust me, I earned it.

Career advice from an orthopedic specialist?

Dr. – How did you get injured?
Sarah – Do you want details or in general.
Dr. – In general.
Sarah – playing soccer.

Dr. – Scale of 1-10 how bad does it hurt.
Sarah – 9.  Well, can you give me an example of 10 pain?
Dr. – 10 is an alligator eating your leg off.
Sarah – Yeah a 9.

Dr. -Does it feel tender here?
Sarah – What do you mean by tender?  LIke a sunburn tender or like food tender?

Dr. – We have a really cute brace for you.
Sarah – What is a cute brace?  I don’t want one that is pink.

Dr. – No physical activity for two weeks
Sarah – Do you mean shoving people physical or do you mean athletic physical?

Dr. – Do you have any questions?
Sarah – Why did the form ask me if I was pregnant?  I am 10.

Dr. – We would like you to come back in two weeks.
Sarah – Can we come during school, I would prefer to miss that more than swimming.

Dr. – Sarah, will you promise me you will go to law school?
Sarah – Why, do you think I would make a bad Marine Biologist?

Did I mention we have good insurance?

No one gets hurt

sitting on the couch eating Cheetos.  Right?

Sarah is having an MRI this evening.  She royally screwed her knee up the other night playing soccer.  Now she can’t put weight on it or straighten it.  Fantastic.  Looks like swimming once again is plan B.  Fingers crossed I am wasting my money on this MRI and it is just a bruised knee.  I used my google MD degree today and now I am nervous.  Google = torn tendon, torn meniscus, torn ligament, torn cartilage, torn torn torn.

I like to credit the two stress fractures and monkeyed up knee to good parenting.  Kids don’t get hurt sitting around the house watching TV.  You have to actually participate in life for it to get the better of you.  I’ll keep you posted.

Letting go

When normal people sleep, I like to worry about decisions that I can’t control and don’t even need to be decided this week, let alone tonight.  Staring at the ceiling is a bit of a hobby.

Sarah’s has played soccer with the same coach and players for the past four years.  As a team they have grown not only as players but as friends.  Sarah has always had somewhat iffy footings in soccer.  When she was younger what she lacked in talent she made up for in enthusiasm.  In the fall of last year she started showing some aptitude but then suffered a severe stress fracture in her foot and spent the remainder of the season in a cast.  This was actually her second stress fracture in as many years.  As spring soccer moved into summer swimming, I held out hope that she would gain a love of swimming and we could become a three kids swim family and I could give away my soccer mom tiara.  Don’t get me wrong, I love soccer but I am also lazy.  Unfortunately, Sarah continued a like for swimming.

This year I kept her in both swimming and soccer, both only practiced twice a week and with two fairly short soccer seasons we still had a scheduled I could manage.  Sarah’s love for soccer turned into passion and the stress fractures, related to growth, seemed to be a thing of the past.  Not only does Sarah adore the sport, her team and her coach, she has also become the lead scorer on her team.  And a ball hog.  We are working on that.

As we move into summer swimming, her amazing soccer team is looking to move the girls into a select league which will involve more practice, more games and yes you guessed it more money.  As much as I would love to say no, the answer is clearly yes.  I am very excited for her and to see where she goes in this sport.  Her goal is to play soccer at my alma mater.  Seeing as I went to college at the beach, at the coolest school, this is a noble goal.  I would be happy to visit her there.  After she gets through fifth grade of course.

Which brings me to the reason why at 11:47 I am writing this.  I am afraid this means letting go of swimming.  And it makes me sad.  Up until this year I thought swimming was a stupid sport and now I can’t sleep because I am trying to figure out how to let go of the notion that my life would be easier if all three of my kids were swimmers.  I need to come to terms with the fact that things are going to get more complicated as the girls grow and become their own people and that the easy way is not the best way.

I haven’t asked Sarah what she wants to do because I know what she will say, that she wants to do both.  I don’t think it is practical or possible.  Now that I have gotten this off my chest I think I will shop for new shoes.

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.

Man I am tired

I mentioned sleep in my last post.  Swimmers are sleeping machines.  Our friends son has been known to fall asleep in the car and even at restaurants on the way home from meets and practice.

Our Wednesday night meets are prone to going late in the night.  The flyers get to hit the deck around 10 PM most weeks.  Last summer little Sophie was sitting in a chair waiting for the clerk of course to come get her.  I went to wish her luck and found her legs crossed, elbow propped on knee, fisted hand to temple – sound asleep.  I gently woke her up and said “baby you have to swim”.  She dove in, swam across the pool – we grabbed our bag and went home.  Hey, she got a best time, who is to say her 90 second nap wasn’t just what she needed.

The sleep part of swimming is great.  It is the eat part that is hard to keep up with.

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