Moxie Mom On Life and Kids

MOXIE MOM on Life & Kids

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Tonight my daughter was reading a little article I wrote about swim lessons that was published in New Jersey Family last month. “Don’t pressure kids,” she read. “Now, that is the best tip I’ve ever heard.” (She feels especially close to the topic since it was her swim lessons experience that led to the article.)

So I’m passing along all I’ve learned about failed swim lessons because, after all, the season is upon us. Read about it in “Tips for Developing Water Confidence in Reluctant Children.”

And if your boy (or girl) is bringing home the big-dog words, you can catch a few tips in “Cures for Cussing,” out last month in Parenting School Years. (My son still doesn’t know I wrote this — not saying he was my inspiration or anything.)

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Summer Weather

I can’t believe how much sunny weather we’ve had already. It’s not even July 4th yet. Anyone who’s lived here for any length of time knows not to expect the sun till after the 4th—I certainly don’t—but the season is surprising us all.

Here’s what I love:

The sound of the screen door slamming

Grass already looking dry

Swim lessons in an outdoor pool (Ty, not me)

Lying on the hot porch to get dry (him, not me)

Ripe berries

Park concerts


Riding bikes

Going barefoot

Day after day of blue, blue sky


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Swimming Lessons

Ty finished a session of swim lessons, half an hour every day for two weeks, and I have to say, it went swimmingly.

He went in every day. In our family this is a big accomplishment. Not only did Ty go in, he actually enjoyed himself. In our family, this is unheard of. I admit, after the first morning, he said, “That was kind of torturous.” But still he got in the next morning. In our family, this is also unheard of. Afterward, he said, “That was okay.” The third day he said, “That was kind of fun, kind of torture.” The same on the fourth. On the fifth morning, diving board day, the day my daughter flat-out refused to participate when she took a round of lessons several years ago, he said at the end of the lesson, “That was fun.”

“Really?” I said. (To fully appreciate where I’m coming from, you have to read an article I wrote a couple years ago for Wondertime.)

This is how we got here. After a long hiatus from group lessons, I decided to put my foot down with Ty (Leah was slated to be off at her horse stable). “You have to take group lessons,” I told him in May. I’d hired a friend last winter to give him some private lessons because Ty was so convinced group lessons would be hell (I’m equally convinced now it was all Leah’s influence). And while the personalized attention was fantastic, I found the scheduling a tad difficult, and the pool impossible. The little pool (at Arne Hanna) was often too crowded, and the big pool was too cold. Ty’s a skinny minny and learning in cold water is one of the worst things for newbies, I learned during interviews for my Wondertime article.

Plus I love the idea of an outdoor pool in the summer, but alas, in Bellingham, you have to belong to a club to have access. The only way to get into one of those pools is to take group lessons. So, group lessons it was. I got firm and told him he would like the outdoor pool. And you know, he did.

In fact, lessons went so well, I’ve signed him up for a second session. “Does he know, Mom?” Leah asked me, incredulous. “He does,” I said. “And he doesn’t mind.” Believe it or not, I did not say, not all kids hate lessons as much as you do.

And for two weeks, I watched him drop willingly into the pool every day and swim across it every day and do whatever the swim instructors told him every day. No cajoling, bribing, arguing, or sitting on the side with my child in my lap. No debates at home about whether we were headed to swimming. We just were. Every day.

I love compliant children, don’t you? They make parenting so easy.

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