Friday, May 29, 2009

Rope Hanger

This is my little rope hanger:
He has that perma-grin the whole time he is rope hanging, half drowning, half karate-man swimming his way across the pool--vertically not horizontally--you know, like how most people swim.
That, by the way, is his back stroke. He thinks he is AWESOME at backstroke. His freestyle looks the same except he goes forward.

That kid?

Pain in my ass that he is has the BEST attitude about swim practice.

This year is his first year on swim team. And while he struggles every single practice he doesn't complain, he doesn't get down that I (and everyone else) constantly yells at him TO GET OFF THE ROPE. He just smiles and makes his way anyway he can down the pool.

And let me tell you. The past few weeks have been the practices of tough-love-suck-it-up-get-your-butt-in-the-pool-buttercup.

I went through this last year with Carmella so she knows better but at least half of the kids are crying, shivering, complaining with their "I can't's" and "I won't's" and whining and belly aching their way through practice. I am not just talking about the 5-6 year olds. I've even seen a few 8 years lose their marbles at practice. You should have seen it when the coach said they had to swim for 5 minutes straight. Carnage everywhere.

But Beau.

He has a smile on his blue freezing face the whole time; swimming past all his little friends who are crying and begging their mommies to let them get out. The positive attitude though does not make up for the rope hanging. It is a problem and has become a habit for him. I even think he is doing it on purpose--not out of necessity. I constantly walk along the pool and scream "Put your face down and swim!" He just smiles up at me.

So I tried a different tactic and told him that he would NOT be able to swim in a meet if he couldn't swim to the end of the pool without touching the rope. Even still, at practice everyday, he was a rope hanger. Nevertheless the coach put him in one event.

So he got to swim: 25yd Freestyle.

And he did not touch the rope once. But urgency was not his. He even swam slower than he did at the time trials a week ago.
Because he had his face up the whole time looking around and smiling at everyone looking at him and yelling at him to swim!!!
He LOVED it.
Guess he wanted to prolong his moment and make it all his. Then he got to the shallow end and realized that he could actually stand up (since he was swimming vertically down the pool). So he stopped. Stood up. Raised his shoulders in a motion that said "what?". Then looked around at everyone; flashed his perma-grin and then put his face down and swam the last 8ft to the wall the correct way. The pool deck roared with laughter.

So he got third-- out of 3 swimmers. And when he got his ribbon he said "Oh, yay! I really like white!"

Cannot knock this kid down, I tell you.

I should also share that when I gave his team jammers he put them on and then asked me; "Mommy, do these make me look fat?"
Before I could answer I saw he had that wicked little smile. Such a joker.

I swear I feel like he is always mocking me.

Because it occurred to me Wednesday, while out for a 10 mile run and I was completely sucking tail that I am rope hanger. But worse, I am a whiner and complainer. Sure I can laugh at myself when it is all said and done and over but I HATE that I can't have that perma-grin; that positive, laugh at myself in the moment attitude. I am, the worst kind of rope hanger.

I really, really appreciate all the comments on my Twisted Ankle post and I am so glad I was able to make people laugh but I absolutely hate myself for my little melt down and not remaining positive. I hate that I didn't suck it up. I HATE that I was a rope hanger.

So Wednesday, when I found myself walking in the final mile of my 10 mile run I yelled at myself to "get off the rope and suck it up!" I did finish running and then further punished myself in the afternoon with a 3,500 yd swim--no stopping and no rope hanging I am happy to report. (Just a lot of boredom.)

I also went that afternoon and signed up for the Possum Trot 10k.

I am absolutely in no sort of shape to race a 10k but I am forcing myself to get off the rope and push through it. The way I see it: I have no residual pain from the marathon--aside from a little right ankle stiffness but I've had way worse. And my feet are pretty much healed up from walking all over the French Quarter in inappropriate shoes and my liver, well, it is what it is. It has been through worse. I am tired but I've been tired before. . . So I am racing tomorrow! At least in spirit. I may not be fast but I'll be out there putting one foot in front of the other as quickly as I can manage.

However, I should mention--that little Beau, I think he is mocking me again. All day today he kept saying,"Look Mommy! A dead possum!" Pointing out recent road kill. Then he reminisced, when we drove by the patch of sidewalk that we walked down a few weeks ago that had a dead rotting possum on it for awhile saying: "Oh, it is gone. I think all the maggots finally got it Mommy, " he told me.

I am trying really hard to NOT read metaphors into things my 5 year old says but as a one time lit major it is hard. I have tendency to seek out metaphor in the smallest of moments and most insignificant of conversations. Not only am I a rope hanger; I'm a metaphor reacher.

One last thing. I would be remiss if I did not mention this on my blog--plus it is yet another example how my kids are a way better human beings than I can ever hope to be:

Carmella has a kicky new do:

She chopped 12 inches off her hair to donate to locks of love.

I'm still working on me being a better person everyday but hey, at least my kids seem to be a on solid track (even if there is the occasional rope hanging).

Mantra for tomorrow: Get off the rope and run happy!


  1. well Nat that's what it's all about. You are the updated and improved version of me and Carmella and Beau are the improved version of you. Russian dolls, remember? Lala

  2. If more children had such strong role models like you the world would be a better place!

    You really should send your Twisted Ankle report to the magazine "Marathon and Beyond" as it was literally the best report I've ever read.

    I hope those rashes are healed as in the photos they look pretty wicked.

  3. Awesome kids! Carmella's haircut is adorable and how cool that she donated her hair.

    We've all been a "rope hanger" at one time or another. Sounds like Beau did great and that grin is worth a gold medal in my book.