Tuesday, July 20, 2010


My children are mermaids. Who knew? After two and a half months of swim lessons and several heart-stopping moments of watching them sink rather than swim, or inhale mouthfuls of water when they’re supposed to be holding their breath, I’ve finally witnessed the miracle of watching them propel their little bodies without the teacher’s assistance about five feet. They just duck their wet heads, get those skinny arms and legs going, and pop up for a breath every few strokes. The most amazing thing is how calm they both were about it. Peanut turned to her teacher last week and asked her to let go, saying “I want to try swimming by myself.” I figured she’d sink like usual, but instead she chugged right over to the wall like she’s always known how to do this. String Bean had the exact same realization yesterday, when the teacher pointed her toward the wall, asked if she thought she could make it on her own, and without a word she took off, all those long limbs pulling her along from the middle of the pool until she was face-to-face with the wall. She came up to find her dad and I applauding, and looked surprised to be there, right at our feet, halfway across the pool from where she’d started. We praised her, this girl who just two months ago hated getting her face and ears wet, until she gave us her trademark smirk and eye roll and asked us to stop. But even though they didn’t want anymore effusive praise, I could see the pride in the way they both tipped their chins up, just a little, waiting for their next turns to swim.

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