Tuesday, June 29, 2010


After a slow, chilly start, I guess summer’s officially here. We finally made it up to the family’s cabin, one of the latest openings I can remember. Our trip was delayed due to huge snow drifts blocking the road into camp. A few warm, sunny days melted the last of the snow on the road, and we spent a great weekend up there with family and friends. It was too cool to swim, but the girls used their shovels and buckets to dig in a snow bank that was sheltered in the cool shade of cabin while wearing shorts and t-shirts. We hiked, swung in the hammock, sat around the fire pit at night, played with the puppy our friends brought along, had play dates with other kids in camp, found a small garter snake, tracked butterflies and lady bugs, and Peanut handled the rest of the insects as if she’d never had a hysterical fear of them before. The girls ran wild and got dirty and made “salad” with pine needles and gooseberry leaves and stalked the beautiful but rare snow flower around camp. This cabin, built by my grandfather, has now charmed its fourth generation in our family.

Back home, I brought out the kiddie pool and let the girls loose. We’re alternating between swim lesson days and kiddie pool in the back yard days, and I’m training the girls on applying their own thick slathers of sunscreen. Next week we’re off to the east coast, to spend a week on the beach with the in-laws, and I’m hoping to get either a Hawaii or a San Diego trip on the books before String Bean starts kindergarten in the fall. Since the summery weather took a while to get here, we’ll have to make the most of it while we can.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Swim Girls

After a year of trying to convince String Bean that swim lessons would be fun (and getting in response only hysterical crying and begging not to go), we finally got her and Peanut into a swim class last month. I like that it’s a class for 3-5 year olds, so they can be in there together, as having Peanut at her side always makes String Bean more brave. It turned out they were both fine with the class, learned all the basics of bubble blowing and head-dunking and back-floating and dog-paddling. The challenge was the unseasonably cool weather. But my girls are troopers, and they swam out in the cold and rain. The pool is heated, but it’s outdoors, and they emerged each time with blue lips, shivering so hard they could barely walk. And then two days later, they were so excited about going swimming again that they could barely sleep. I offered to let them skip class on the coldest days, to wait for a nicer day to take a make-up class, but they never wanted to wait another moment to get in and practice.

So far this month the weather has been much nicer. They’ve moved on to the next class, with a couple of new instructors, but essentially the same focus of paddling, floating, and jumping into the pool. The girls like to hang onto the wall, waiting for their turn with the teacher, seeing who can hold her breath under water the longest. They’ve gotten good enough at it that they’re making me nervous now, as I watch four little fingers on the ledge, waiting for what seems like forever for them to come up for air.

I’m trying to think of what other classes I can stick them in together, now that I see how they comfort and push each other. I’m thinking maybe dance, so they can rehearse and perform together at home, and have another reason for wearing little costumes all the time.