Monday, May 16, 2016

Preschool Swimming Lessons - What Matters Most

It's that time of year again where parents of preschoolers everywhere are writing "schedule swim lessons" into their daily planners and hoping to instill some water confidence and safety before summer hits with its endless heat wave beckoning us to run (walk, please!) to the pool to cool off.
I've got big pool plans this summer. I mean, we can handle one safety break to the next, eat some snacks, and head back for naps, right? Easy.

That being said, I know the importance of safety. I also want much more for our kids: a confidence being in the water, a love of being in the water. Swimming lessons is the most logical place to start for making all those wishes a reality. 

John recently started at SafeSplash Swim School with Ms. Thania. In the midst of hustling here and there with end-of-school activities, it's really nice to drive 10 minutes to their location inside LA Fitness. There are locations all across the country, so be sure to check the website for a convenient location for you. Besides being convenient, these lessons are wallet-friendly, an important factor when considering there are two other boys needing lessons and activities of their own. 

I wasn't nervous about John's enthusiasm (or lack thereof); all three boys have been water lovers. I was nervous, however, about how he would do in a setting that's not mommy-and-me. He's been my sidekick, and our only times apart have been with babysitters or family. I'm not going to lie. There were tears, but they lasted mere minutes and never returned. I credit this to his coach and appreciate how her guiding during these early years will cultivate water confidence. 

Ms. Thania helped him with a sense of firmness, nurturing, and encouragement. After that first class, John told everyone, "My teacher helped me." Since then he's been invested in swim class. Although going under still isn't his favorite, he does not have an overarching sense of dread about it and seems to know that Ms. Thania will challenge him gently and always catch him. Literally.  These are the years of "let them be little." I think swim class should do just that.
And because they are little, there are always fun games and toys that he enjoys. From getting to squirt his teacher with water after completing tasks to using the kick board to swim around and rescue floating toys to playing Simon Says, these tricks of the trade from SafeSplash are making lessons approachable and fun. That's what being in the pool is all about--fun!

While they are having a great time, however, water safety skills are being taught and reinforced throughout the lesson. I have watched John learn how to safely enter and exit the pool (including calling out to a specific grown-up when wanting to jump in), grip the wall and use his hands to "walk" around, and continue to work on breathing techniques. We are in our second month of lessons, and there's been variety of activity, yet consistency in practicing these skills, as well as beginning stroke/kick techniques. John's favorite is the kick board which he'll proudly tell you he does "all by himself" and looks forward to each class. Ms. Thania is fostering swimming as something that he's proud of and enjoys!
I also appreciate the mom learning factor. Ms. Thania has been free after class to answer any questions -- perhaps how far to push him when we practice on our own, or what's the best method for helping him get comfortable on his back. And in class I'm right there to see and hear teaching techniques to duplicate at home practice. 

Summer is around the corner, and we are ready! John is not swimming solo, and that's ok! He's learning, and SafeSplash has been a great first step in swimming confidence, trust, water safety awareness, and fun! 

Although this post is sponsored, all opinions are my own. SafeSplash Swim School is providing a month's swim lessons in exchange for blog posts. Be sure to check them out for swimming needs! 

Monday, April 13, 2015

Registration Complete

I waited nervously as kids shuffled in at the last minute that Monday morning. I had the first appointment, little eager beaver that I can be sometimes. And this whole registration business wasn't just new to me this year. The entire district changed its registration process, so the school had a few loose ends to tie up as well. Mostly, I just wanted to make sure I did my part. Surely the pile of documents I gathered contained everything we needed to start the next chapter of our first born son's book. I'll admit it; I'm not the type who has to come back. It wasn't going to happen. Not on my watch!

The bell rang, a kind face appeared on the television announcements, and then a group of sweet kids led the Pledge of Allegiance and Texas pledge. I surely stood out as I kept my hand over my heart for the latter. I'm pretty sure I was supposed to raise my right hand. Details.

Soon enough the principal's assistant was rolling through her checklist and flipping through my paperwork. I was given more to fill out. The nurse needed this information, the state that information, and the principal and teachers -- well, they needed this handy little questionnaire, a bit of a tell us about your child. 

So I got to thinking about strengths and weaknesses. And then there were his hobbies and "anything else you want us to know." These simple questions lit a tiny fire of panic in my heart. There weren't that many lines. Don't they know I need a larger word count? 

But if I don't spell it out, will they know? Will they see that he's funny and kind (maybe not so much to his brother) and smart and creative and all the good stuff? Surely I need to explain his needs (read :: weaknesses) instead of just listing these ways in which he's just still growing and maturing? If I tell the truth, will they think we aren't so much cut out for this parenting business?

Is running a hobby? The kid does like to run. 

And yet, I can't be "that mom." 

And I wasn't. I listed his big qualities in each section, called it a day. And it felt right. We finished up the paperwork and checked off this box and that one, said our goodbyes, and I walked back home to high five my future kindergartener! 

I'm pretty sure my peace on that walk was visible. Maybe I had a goofy grin on my face. I certainly felt one in my heart. All those strengths and weaknesses -- they are his. They aren't mine.  This is his journey after all. He's going to make his way. 

And, while we daily do our best as parents to guide him, he's in bigger hands. The same Father that created me and carries me is his Father. The same Father that knows the plans for my heart is his Father with the plans for his heart.  

And I can't wait to see where He leads him. 

Be sure to stop by Houston Moms Blog today to enter to win a fantastic kindergarten prep series. And there's a coupon code too! 

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Where We Take Our Mardi Gras Seriously

Not every Mardi Gras parade happens on the streets of South Louisiana. As it turns out, the sidewalks of a preschool on a chilly Tuesday will do just fine.

And on years that we don't make it one state over, I'm grateful for Texas carnival fun where little parade-goers can learn the art of waving arms and catching beads.

And kids that learn the art of a well-decorated float.

I'm thankful to be from a land where "Baby's 1st Parade" should be part of the baby book. 

 I'm grateful for the ways in which little cowboys learn to save a special bead for their Momma.

Monday, April 6, 2015

The Moment : There is No Braverman Guarantee

We all watched it. And cried in some form or fashion. Perhaps it was a constant trickle throughout Parenthood's final episode. Maybe an ugly cry at the moment. You know the one. That moment might have been different for all of us.

I couldn't help but project my own life into the hit NBC show as the series finale flashed on the screen. It's a little fuzzy, but I see our adult children frequently hanging out at their childhood home, around the kitchen, helping Dad outside with some project or another, or stopping by for dinner chosen from our growing collection of perfected Tex-Mex plates. We'll watch the grandkids while our own children sneak away for a much-needed night out. We will be their first stop with news, good and bad and in between.

Maybe this house is the one, maybe another. But the walls don't matter. Our boys know they can be themselves and be loved for that within them. They will return with little ones of their own who know our love deeply. They will come by so often that they all have places at the table and argue over claimed spots on the couch.

And we watch them grow. And grow. And grow. We might have a great-grandchild or two. They will all be there when we renew our vows at the church where we married in Hometown, LA. And they will hold us and carry us when we make the hard choices much like we carried them. They will remember us fondly when it's our time, each of their cheeks wet with tears, yes, and each with hearts swollen with memories. Memories of us as a couple, us as a family, each of us as individuals.

There will be that time that dinner was popcorn and ice cream. Or maybe that no one left the table until a few bites of veggies made their way into little bellies.
And they will remember weekend haircuts with Daddy and after school Icee stops with Momma. They will feel the hugs we doled out after winning a close game against team rivals or nailing a band concert or trying their best on an algebra test but coming up a little short.

We will have had the words they needed to get through each day and through each season. They might recall some of them. Most importantly, "I love you. I'm proud of you." They were said so often that the words themselves are a part of their being, woven into their bones.

And yet, there's no guarantee that we are the first to go. There's no Braverman guarantee. All we are guaranteed is the moment in which we are currently find ourselves, and in 2015, I'm gifting myself with an awareness of "the moment." These are the words guiding my days.  I'm trying to be present in each one and alert to what it's offering. Some offer lessons, others joy. Still others give peace, rest, validation, courage, invitation.

The big moments show themselves proudly and aren't to be discounted. We know those. But my goal is to live the small moments between these grander times with a bit more intention, more gratitude, more pauses to see the beauty of it all.

I want to accept these moments into my heart, but also capture them. I want to experience them again through the lenses of photography or journaling. I selfishly want to hang onto them and let them linger for a bit before moving on to the next.

As 2015 inches its way closer to the halfway mark, moments are making their marks, and while I can't grab them all, I plan to soak in all that I can.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Blank page

Would anyone notice if I skip November 5?

There aren't any notes. Help! What I do know is that W and I had grits for breakfast after our stomach bug, and man, I do love some grits. So yes, today, I'm thankful for grits.

And the sillies. Oh the sillies!

"Squeeeeeeze!" he says!

November 4 -- Tough Times

My W and I had a stomach bug. There wasn't much thanks and even less jotting down of notes. But a certain husband saved the day. I'm grateful for his employment circumstances, his patience, and for seamlessly caring for our family when its starting QB was down.

Settling In -- November 3

At this rate I might just finish this by Christmas. Details...

Apparently I wrote down that I was thankful for a 5 am wake-up call. Looking back, no clue. I guess it was good?

As parents, J and I have been getting some extra third child snuggle time. He sure does love a nap being held. This is most likely the last time we get to do the baby thing. Dear God, let me remember daily to enjoy it.

A pair of Spiderman shoes inspired a friend's poignant post, and I took the cue to look around my own space and be grateful for what brings me peace. This month is hectic so far. We've faced a few challenged, and a five-month-old third baby is proving a bit more challenging than a newborn third baby. Thank you, Captain Teething.

But my heart tells me to choose gratitude, and I'm thankful for that tug.