why does “swimmingly” mean everything’s going well?

Hope all my fellow USers had a happy Fourth! We spent most of the day at a barbecue hosted by some friends. Friends with a pool.


Since the Bee has been in camp, she’s been swimming twice a day when it’s not raining. She still has a green band (indicating she’s a beginning swimmer), but is hoping to pass the test to get a red band next week. I took both of the kids to the pool on Sunday for the first time this year, and was pleased to see that her swimming has gotten much improved over last year. For the first time, I felt like I could leave her alone in the big kids’ pool while the Potato and I splashed around in the baby pool*.

In swimming, the Bee has a physical ability that far outpaces the Potato, and he’s developed a fair amount of grumpiness about it. When he and I got back into the big kid pool, he wanted to swim by himself without holding to me, which is simply not realistic. He had a major temper tantrum when it was time to leave the pool, which is fairly unusual for him. Part of it is height–at not-quite-three, he’s not able to stand up, even in our relatively shallow pool. But most of it is skill–she’s not the world’s most elegant swimmer, but she’s leagues ahead of him.

Today, he was again outraged by the fact that he just can’t swim like she can. Our hosts had some floating rings in the pool, so he did manage to separate himself from me (though I never let him get that far away), and he insisted on staying in the pool for almost as long as she did. While he wanted to be as far from me as he could to prove his independence, she was upset because he got all the attention, and it was hard for me to play with her while still keeping an eye on him. He was so proud of himself, spinning around and around in his inner tube, although he was never able to make himself go in a particular direction.

When we got home, we told the kids that they could watch a little tv before dinner, since we knew they wouldn’t be watching any after. The Boy Who Doesn’t Nap fell asleep on my lap, covered by his baby blanket, clutching Mr. Bear. Spending the effort to keep up with his sister, along with the energy he burned keeping himself warm in the pool, was just too much for him, even with the lure of The Fairly OddParents.

I know that in a few years, the Potato will be tall enough and skilled enough that he’ll be able to hold his own in the pool. There’ll be something else–she’ll be able to stand on her head underwater or whatever–but the gap between them won’t be nearly as great as it is now.

At the party today, I watched the parents of the older kids there as they sat in chairs with an eye on their kids, but not getting into the pool with them. There are times when I think, “I can’t wait until that’s me,” but today wasn’t one of them. I’m glad I got to help the Potato swim, and just as glad I made him get out of the pool a little early so that I could spend some time playing with the Bee.

*Disclaimer–the big kids’ pool is only 3′ deep, and she was with her best friend and her mom.


July 4, 2006. growing up.


  1. chichimama replied:

    We have similar pool issues this summer. But it IS much better than last summer when A couldn’t stand up anyplace in the pool without going under. At least this summer she can stand in the shallow end of the kiddie pool.

    Sounds like fun was had!

  2. Jay replied:

    The oldest will always have the edge…until one day, the oldest stops growing but the younger just keep going…it doesn’t seem fair, and I’m bitter about it to this day, but there it is.

  3. chip replied:

    both of my kids absolutely loved the water when they were little. You’re right about pools and kids, in many ways it is a relief when they are big enough to go in on their own, but there’s something to be said for helping your little one learn how to stay above water.

  4. Jennifer replied:

    That all sounds like so much fun. The local public pool just built a gigantic new space just for little ones (3′ deep at its deepest) and I can’t wait to try it!

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