Posts Tagged ‘ pool ’

How Spontaneous Are You With Your Kids?

Thursday, February 21st, 2013

`

I always thought when you have kids, spontaneity goes out the window. In the beginning it kinda does. But during these early years–before real school gets in the way–I’m finding myself more spontaneous than during my pre-kid/marathon/climbing Kilimanjaro years. Take, for example, last week. We went to Hawaii. On a whim. No sh-t.

Phil got an unexpected window in his schedule last Friday–a whole, glorious week off between scripts. We looked at each other like, “Should we go for it?” I got online and began calling places to stay. With kids, we wanted a house. And I only wanted the Big Island.  It doesn’t rain there. Yes, I was picky and determined. Not an easy combo.

Every booking agent laughed.

“This short of notice? Villas book out 6 months in advance.”

After multiple calls I was about to concede defeat. Then a woman named Anne returned my call.

“I have a house that no one has rented before. The owners weren’t planning on renting it this week, but they are game.”

Done.

Then Phil and I took it a step further. We called his parents–Rev and Bev (Rev is a retired Episcopalian priest). They live in Wisconsin. We asked them to come too. It’s a place they’ve always wanted to see. And of course they always want to see the grandkids. They are almost 80-years old. Rev’s back is bad. It’s a 12-hour flight. And though retired, they still have plenty of things on their calendar. Meals-On-Wheels, Tuesday Club, Ash Wednesday, you know the drill.

Phil’s mom, at first, said No Way. His dad said Yes Way. Then apparently Rev said to Bev, “You just aren’t spontaneous.” Well that’s all it took. Spontaneity might not be her thing but stubborn is. And she isn’t about to let Rev “be right.”  She called us back. They were down. Woo hoo!

I called in a sitter and worked for 4 hours on securing a place, renting a car, and booking flights. Travel, planning, and cleaning are my forte. I should have been a cleaning lady-travel agent.

I began doing all the last-minute things you do before you go. Find someone to feed the cat. Throw in laundry. Put paper on hold. Pack. Pack more. Arrange for Cynthia Roelle to write some blog posts. (Thank you, Cindy!)

48-hours later we were on our way to 6 perfect days. We had a house with a pool and the beach in the distance.

This was last week. Now we are back and I’ve realized a few things:

  • When you book last-minute, you have no time to anticipate. Therefore, when your vacation is over, your letdown isn’t as great. I’m not writing this from a pit of post-vacation depression. Just a little blue. But also totally rejuvenated.
  • You become super-efficient in getting ready. And you accept that some things just have to be left undone.
  • It’s hit or miss, but sometimes you can get deals. Flights weren’t bad, we used miles for some, and since the villa wasn’t going to rent out anyway, we got it for slightly less.
  • You have no time to worry about the what-ifs. “What if Emmett gets a cold?”, “What if Fia won’t sleep?”, “What if my father-in-law snores so loud it keeps us all up?”
  • And if you have it, throw money at the problem. Case in point:

I found a company over there that rents everything for kids. It is an amazing idea.  For the week, I got two cribs with bumpers and blankets (taken to house and assembled before we arrived, taken apart when we left), a big tub of toys picked out specifically for Em and Fi, a highchair, beach toys, and a play yard. All for less than $300. I think that’s pretty good, considering.

Needless to say, we had an amazing time. We played in the pool every day…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We went to the beach a handful of times…

We saw whales. And waterfalls. Big and small.

We bought fresh fish from a local market and grilled. We watched Emmett walk…

…and Fia swim (yes, after I declared her swim lessons awash, she suddenly started to “get it.” And enjoy them. So we’re sticking with it for now). I sat outside one morning and read my book.  It was heaven.

Now we are back and I feel refreshed and rested. I’m so glad we seized the moment.  We did the same with our Death Valley adventure in December. So is it possible that kids make you more spontaneous? That they help you to live in the moment, embrace what’s present? I guess if you let them and let yourself. This was a big way to do it, but there are small, everyday ways, too:

Fia wants to take a different route to school so we can go past “the little blue car.” Okay, let’s do it…

We get stir-crazy, but it’s late in the day. We decide last-minute to run to the zoo. Even if we only have time to see the reptiles…

Stuff like this. Of course, if you have a husband who never knows when he can take vacation, you’re kinda forced to live impulsively on a larger scale. I am rarely bored.

I also really give Rev and Bev credit. It seems the older you are, the more stuck in your ways you become. They even took a red-eye home, landed, and went to church, then drove 3 hours home from Chicago. But I know it was worth every minute…

I feel like this way of living must keep me young. I also realize there is a difference in being flexible versus spontaneous. As parents we have to be flexible. You have plans but your kid gets sick. You cancel. But what if spontaneous could be attained by choice rather than necessity. It’s something to think about….

Consistency is good (especially with sleep/sleep training), but throwing it all to the wind isn’t a bad thing either.  It also keeps my spirit free and adventurous. I can tell it rubs off on my tots, too. For me, parenthood–and even life is general–is all about finding that balance.  I definitely think we did last week.

Until next time…Mahalo.

P.S. As a side note: I’d love to hear how spontaneous you are with your kids. Please share!

Add a Comment

Fia Hates Swim Lessons. Any Suggestions?

Thursday, January 24th, 2013

When we first moved to LA, loads of people suggested I put Fia in swim lessons. I was told everyone has pools and that we’d spend many a day in them. The idea of swimming lessons was both for her comfort in the water and my peace of mind. Not that she’d be in alone, but just knowing the basics of holding your breath, paddling, etc., would make the pool a more enjoyable–and safe—experience for us both.

Fast-forward a year and a half. I have been to exactly one, yes, ONE, pool date. However, I have invested 1400 minutes (5000 minutes if you count the time to the lessons and back) and gobs of money. And guess what? She still can’t swim. She can paddle about 3 strokes on her own with her face in the water. Certainly not enough to be considered “pool safe.”

Here’s the kicker: we both hate it. Every Monday morning as we make the trek to the Valley (we live in Los Feliz for those who know LA), she asks who her teacher will be (we’ve had to switch several times because she didn’t like some of them). Then she starts saying, “I don’t want to put my face in the water.” I try and convince her why water on her face is fun. I don’t mention that I, too, hate water on my face. Even raindrops. I cringe just thinking about it.

I also remember having swim lessons when I was about 8-years old. I remember all the kids jumping into the teacher’s arms and me standing there crying and afraid. I remember the teacher’s frustration with me as I simply refused. Granted, Fi is with an instructor one-on-one. And at this stage, there is no jumping into arms. I should mention it’s the Jim Herrick swim school. It’s a top-notch place and there is no part of me that thinks they aren’t doing the best job possible. There are also phases where Fia seems to enjoy it. So it’s not like I’ve dragged her kicking and screaming for 70 weeks. She does love the water when she’s with us (pictured above).

My question is: do I just cut my losses and consider it a “sunk cost” or do I forge ahead? The teachers keep saying she is really close to “getting it.” But I don’t want her to start hating it so much that the water becomes something fearful.

I was all ready to pull the plug until this past Monday. I took Emmett with me and we sat on the steps of the pool splashing around, getting soaked. He was loving it. We told Fia to show baby brother how to swim. She loves nothing better than being the boss and showing him how it’s done. Swimming was no exception.  It was the most excited I’ve seen her in the pool in a long time. She did amazing too. The instructor suggested I bring him every week. It interrupts his naptime but that is the other option I’m debating.

Do any of you have any experience with this issue or any suggestions for me on how to proceed? If I get in the pool with Fia myself, 1) I have to get on a bathing suit. 2) I have to get water on my face. 3) I have to get Emmett a babysitter. (God forbid, judging from the backlash I received on that issue last week).

If I give up now, has it all been for naught or will some of this experience stay with her until she’s older and we try again?

Suggestions? Thoughts?

Add a Comment

(My) Milestone Monday: Do Baby Barf and Vacation Mix?

Monday, May 21st, 2012

If you don’t hear from me for a few days please call the looney bins in Palm Springs. I may be in one. My mother used to show up at the psych ward with her typewriter so she could get work done. No sh-t.

My potential disappearance is because we are going on “vacation.” It includes a stop at Disneyland. In reading that sentence, I can’t believe this was my idea.

We are heading to Palm Springs for two nights via land of Mickey. The desert is 105-degrees right now. Fia gets burnt even in the shade. She also gets carsick. Massively, as seen on our horrendous trip out to LA this fall. And Emmett barfs and farts. Constantly. This is going to be a helluva roadtrip.

Anywho, I convinced Phil to take off 2 whole days of work (Gasp! I’m not bitter…) to go to the desert. We hadn’t taken a family vacation since last May in Costa Rica. That’s when I got pregnant with Emmett. Oops. This will be a far different trip. I’m not reading 50 Shades of Grey, therefore this trip won’t involve sex. Just diapers and barf.

Right now, as I sit here in the cozy cafe typing, I feel like a smug veteran mother. I can handle this, right? The hotel asked if we wanted a suite on the 5th floor. Oh, no-no-no I said. I’m a MOM. I know better. I know that lugging a stroller with a raft, water wings, Emmett’s diaper bag, 40 bottles of sunscreen, snacks, and my Kindle (dare to dream) through a hallway, to an elevator, to the pool will take up the entire day. I’m smarter than that. I know the only way to go is a poolside room. In fact, I booked two. They adjoin. This way Fia and Phil can sleep peacefully while Em and I tackle the night.

Yes, this “vacation” is sounding more appealing by the sentence.

I had to research about 15 hotels in the Palm Springs area. The ones my mom friends recommended were full. Then there were my non-mom friends. I got a list of about 5 hotels that had things on their sites like, “no pool toys allowed.” One said, “While we welcome guest of all ages, we are a boutique hotel with an intimate setting and backdrop that is not always ideal for children of all ages. We warmly welcome dogs.”

Well folks, that definitely takes Feral Fia out of the equation. My girl who loves dirty feet and messy hair is pure Mutt. I think this hotel wants the Pomeranians. I finally found a place that has, are you ready? A Splashtopia! Whatever the f–k that means. All I know is when I saw “availability” and “splashtopia” in the same sentence I felt like god was on my side.

I have a list of everything we need to bring. Included on it are our two noise machines (one for each room) and wine. Oh no, please teetotaler moms. Don’t begrudge me on this one. It’s vacation for god’s sake. Which now means survival.

The best advice I have gotten thus far is from a friend who said, “Go with low expectations. You probably won’t find it relaxing, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun.”

Yes, in motherhood, “fun” takes on a whole new meaning. I know my babies won’t let me down.

 

Picture of family vacation via shutterstock

Add a Comment

Fia Friday: She’s a Fish!

Friday, February 24th, 2012

Swimming Lessons!

Author’s Note: Join me every Friday for a dose of cuteness as I share snapshots of Fia.  Adorable photos are guaranteed on Fia Friday!

We started swim lessons. By “we” I mean I take Fia to this amazing woman, Monica, who is in the pool with her. I sit on the steps and dangle my feet in the water and relax.

We went on Wednesday and Fia loved it. While there, I saw other babies much younger swimming—as in head under the water, kicking and doing the crawl stroke. One tot was only 19-months old. With his head under the water and swimming. I was amazed.

In the bathtub, Fia kicks her legs and says, “I’m a goldfish! I’m a goldfish!” I’m hoping these lessons will help her swim like one!

With Instructor Monica

Add a Comment

Moving to LA–The Fun Part!

Monday, September 26th, 2011

We'll Have The Beach! And Warm Weather!

So big news on our end: We’re moving to LA. In a few weeks. I’ve known for a while but just haven’t wanted to deal. It’s not that I’m not excited about it. The idea of a HOUSE, a YARD, even maybe a POOL makes me giddy (though nothing is yet in place, which is nerve-wracking). But leaving my beloved Brooklyn is going to be tough. We decided to make the move for several reasons, with Little Leroy (working title) solidifying the deal.

When I got pregnant and found out my due date was the end of January, we groaned. Good god, not another winter cooped up in a Brooklyn apartment with a newborn. Not to mention our pad is a landmine. It’s a loft with 28-foot ceilings, which means upstairs Fia could climb over the ledge and drop at least 20 feet. Even with all the baby-proofing, it’s just not set up for a toddler, much less two of them.

Phil is always flying back and forth to LA with his career as a screenwriter. It drives us both crazy. For example, here is our latest scenario: he flew to LA today, takes a redeye home on Friday, then next Monday he flies back, has a 10:00 a.m. meeting on Tuesday and comes home that night.  It’s getting a tad absurd.

Our phone rings regularly at 10 pm, usually bringing some sort of drama. The 3-hour time change is a relaxation killer.

He works from home. In the open loft, we have completely blurred the boundaries between his working hours and playing hours. I walk in the door and Fia beelines to him, even if he’s on the phone (his office is in her eye line. Impossible to prevent). I dash after her as fast as I can, but once she sees him it’s all over. She is very attached to her Daddy and if he doesn’t come out and hold her/play with her, a crying fit ensues. Doesn’t make for a great business call. Then I get the glare. I in turn get pissy, and so it goes.

I actually think living in LA in a spacious house, with a separate office for him and a time zone that matches the industry he’s in is going to really simplify our lives. But here’s where I get sad… click here to continue reading.

Add a Comment