sink or swim: isr

It’s official. Phil’s in Florida for the next eleven days, so these kids are getting a whole lotta Mama. Step 1: Set alarm clock. Because when Phil’s home I never manage to oversleep, and I never look at a clock. Step 2: Throw alarm clock. Step 3: Tell my sweet (now awake) children to fetch said alarm clock. Step 4: Big time snooze and major cuddle time. The best.

First Lucas climbed into bed. To which I responded, “Kid, we have twenty minutes. Two. Zero. Ready, set, back to sleep!” 
“Okay, Mama, but no stealing all the dreams.” Love!

Abigail joins us at minute sixteen. She sandwiches herself between Lucas and me, which he just won’t have.

Step 4: Break up pre-breakfast brawl. Step 5: Sneaky kiss attack, where I threaten to steal every last dream. Step 6: Strawberries, banana, and oatmeal with a few mini chocolate chips, because I’m Bill Cosby like that (Dad is great, he’s givin’ us chocolate cake!). And then we move on to matters of life and death: a conversation on swim lessons.

I’ve signed the tater-tots up for hardcore swim lessons. Again. Every single day, I will whisk them up from school mid-day, then shuttle them over to the home of another “swim client,” where they’ll each have an intense 10-minute swim lesson. Only this time, I’m going to make sure it’s not just the one week (five-times), but several consecutive lessons for several weeks. These guppies of mine had better know inverted breaststroke by month’s end. 

swim lessons isr
Summer, 2010

And… we’re back.
Swimming was a no-go today. I began the day with a little game tape session, post-breakfast but pre-school—where I played them the footage I’d taken of their lessons last summer. Revise that. I played them the non-screaming hysterical, swallowing water, gagging, cough-burping, old man sounds, crying moments. Then I told them how I’d be picking them up from school early for new (ISR) swim lessons. Abigail’s teacher was awesome and then some, offering, each and every day, to change Abigail into her bathing suit stuff for me, so when I swoop her up, she’s good to go. I love the JCC in Austin. Love. I digress.

Lessons cancelled due to this misty cold weather, which I often describe as “walking through God’s sneeze.” To keep warm tonight, I’m drinking alone. Though is one ever really alone when there’s an Oregon Pinot Noir from Willamette Valley (always an excellent choice, FYI) in the house?

Other news: Wednesday afternoon is Parents Come Watch Day at Lucas’s Super Sports class at the J. Friday afternoon I’ll be attending an “Envirofair” at the Ann Richards School with my Girl Scout troop! Saturday Abigail has a long dress rehearsal for her ballet & tap dance recitals (outfit changes and all), and I’m not sure what to do with Lucas. Thinking this will be his idea of torture after a while. Then, Sunday, Mother’s Day is Abigail’s actual recital—not really fair when you think about it. I mean, what if I had a wobbly stretched out vag and six kids? “Sorry, lambs of my loin and groin, but now we all need to go to your sister’s recital.” Random, but the instruction sheet says that I need to call the instructor only if I object to putting makeup on my daughter. Wouldn’t they just assume that none of these four-year-olds are going to be in makeup? This is not a Toddlers & Tiaras town (thank heavens!). Also, they want hair up in a ponytail, with curls “spilling out everywhere.” Who the hell would take a curling iron to her daughter’s hair? Not me. I’d take my mother-in-law.



  1. sponge rollers work wonders. I’m opposed to the curling iron too.

    And anything by Willamette is insanely good. have you had their daedalus labyrinth?

  2. So glad to hear about the ISR swim lesson choice! A phenominal program. I became a hard and fast believer while living in Florida for a decade. Cheers, Stephanie.

    Have a great week and an awesome Mother’s day.

  3. That’s an awfully specific hair request. What if your daughter has short hair? Are you supposed to get extensions put in?

  4. Your kids are what – 4 yrs old? Why all these activities? The swimming I understand, but all the rest is BS. You are running you and them ragged just to keep up with others? It is a marathon, not a sprint – lay off all the overprogramming.

    1. Author

      It’s not about keeping up with anyone. They have ONE extracurricular activity each. Any less and you’d bitch-slap me with the word abandonment. Swim lessons for 10 minutes each day (no socialization) does not count. If I were the type of mother to over-everything, they’d each also have gymnastics class and soccer. So, easy there, killer.

      1. My 5yo does gymnastics and zumba at the Y. For me, those two activities allow for a tired, happy daughter, childcare for my younger child, and a 4 mile run each time for me. Nevermind that she’s the most underscheduled kid in her class.

        and the ‘easy there, killer’ line made me burst out laughing.

    2. I’m not quite sure what’s wrong with raising and fostering the development of accomplished, well-exposed, confident children. Even if children don’t fall in love with these extracurricular activities, it will make them all-the-more interesting as adults. Maybe I speak for myself, but personally I love spending time with people who have passions and abilities and extracurricular hobbies – many of which were instilled by overachieving mothers.

    3. Dance class and and sports at the J are BS? In reading all the comments you post it’s clear that no matter what Stephanie writes here you’ll have some kind of negative comment. Do you have nothing better to do????

      (Stephanie, this is the perfect amount of activity, you’re doing a great job with your babies!)

  5. As someone who is generally appalled by the concept of applying makeup to children, it seems worthwhile to point out that the application of makeup is fairly standard/typical/universal for any type of production that involves the use of stage lights. Not wearing it leaves people — four years old or not — looking washed-out and sickly. I’m not sure whether the recital is on a stage and/or whether stage lights will be used. If so, the assumption that makeup will be worn is not all that odd.

    1. Author

      This is what the instructions say. Exactly as you’ve said it. Stage lights. So really, I’m supposed to put makeup on that angelic face? What kind of makeup? They say any bright eye-shadow, not browns. Blush, okay, but anything else? Kills me!

      1. I know, it’s a pity! A life-long dancer, there are mountains of photos of me from my youth in which my face is made up in the style of Barbara Cartland (which, really, is not a good look for a toddler. Actually, it’s not a good look for Barbara Cartland, either). But I promise you, she will look like the little beauty she is from your view in the audience.

  6. Stephanie, I started dancing school at the age of 3 and continued until I was 18, then did community theater. I think the only time I wore makeup was for a recital or stage production. A little blush and some lipstick and she will be fine. It doesn’t have to be overdone. Enjoy every minute because as my mom says we grow up quick. I’m 33 now and she misses those days.

  7. Every day swim lessons are the only way the kids will learn to actually swim, which I FINALLY figured out with my kids. Once we committed to the every day (5:30 for 1/2 hour at the college pool for 2 weeks) they totally learned how to swim. I know it’s a pain but it really will work. Husband and I traded off leaving early from work and picking the kids up to head straight there. Sorry you have to do it by yourself.

  8. I loved sporting my bright blue eyeshadow and red lipstick to perform my tap routine in the musty middle school auditorium when I was a kid. As long as you stay away from glitter and spray tan, I think you’re okay. The cheesy makeup is totally part of the show!

  9. First recital, how exciting!! I live in a very un-Toddlers and Tiaras town, and makeup for recitals is just part of the deal at any age. Stage lights are harsh; the blue eyeshadow/pink cheeks/red lips combo is not meant to create 4 year old vamps, it just makes them all visible 15 rows back in a dark auditorium. Otherwise they are pale washed out blobs dancing adorably.

  10. I just want to tell you that in reading about your Abigail’s dance performance, I realized the very first ballet teacher I had was at the Plainview Y, and her name was Mrs. Beer. :)

  11. I was a camp counselor for kids aged 2.5-4.5 and one of the major activities was teaching them to swim. There were a lot of kids that had never been in the pool before. Because it was camp, there were swim instructors as well as the counselors, but really, I was helping teach them to swim too and I’m not certified. Not one of the kids refused to get into the water after a day or three and it didn’t take very long for them to start learning basic swim strokes. I’m sure if you stick to it and stay confident, your kids will too. Then the problem will be getting them out of the pool!

  12. I know I’ve commented here prior to today but I don’t know if I’ve ever expressed my appreciation for the fact that you call your kids tater-tots.

    My son-in-law has seven names on his birth certificate… the first of these names is Tater (I swear, it’s the sad, sad, sad truth). While he does not use Tater in his legal, occasional employment activities, the fact remains that my grandchildren are really and truthfully, Tater’s Tots.

    In envy of your enjoyment (and not shame) of that term,

  13. Would just like to point out that chocolate cake for breakfast is OK, according to Cos, because it contains eggs and milk; I’m not sure the same reasoning holds up for chocolate chips, mini or otherwise. KIDDING. Hope you’re enjoying lots of morning, noon, and night cuddles :D

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