lots of fun in the (hideous) whale pool

My mom called me from the store the other day to see if the kids "needed" a new inflatable pool in the shape of a whale that had a slide and a built in sprinkler. It was on sale and everything! We decided that yes, of course they were in need of said pool, so she brought it home and we set it up. (I'm going to leave out the story of the actual setting up of the pool - let's just say that it took the shop vac, a lot of vacuum attachments that didn't really fit together, three adults, about an hour and resulted in me being very sore the next day.)

It is a very ugly pool. Very ugly and kind of cheaply made - the built in sprinkler broke during the first five minutes of use, the kids were not really interested in the slide, and we started to think we had wasted our twenty-two dollars.

Then the wild side of Calvin kicked in, which triggered Maggie to be a little more reckless, and we decided that even if the pool broke that day, it was totally worth the money. Here is some video of the craziness to enjoy - if your name isn't Grandma Higgins, you will probably only need to watch a minute or two before you've had your fill, but it includes some great snot footage, Maggie showing off her knowledge of the months of the year and Calvin "counting". Right at the end of the clip Dada comes home and the craziness ramps up.

Whale Pool from Sean Higgins on Vimeo.


a few random shots

Just wanted to post a few pictures that I got particular enjoyment from recently.

First, here's Cal enjoying his first (I'm pretty sure) ice cream cone at the Green's on the 4th. The ever talented Jesse Martin took this picture, as well as an even cuter one on his cell that I can't figure out how to get for myself...so you'll have to deal with this one's slightly lesser level of cuteness.

Want a lick?

Yesterday the kids got to have a quick swim in our little kiddie pool before dinner. They both loved it, but while Maggie's little body stays warm indefinitely (Higgins blood), Cal gets cold pretty quickly (Light blood), so he ended up begging to be wrapped up and set in the sun to get warm again. skh captured the warming quite nicely.

Warming up

After dinner we decided to take a very slow, very short walk as a family - mostly to try to get my pregnant body moving around a little more...months of laying in bed is not very good for you, so for me it was more of a grueling marathon. This was Maggie's first time riding her bike on a family walk *WITH ONLY TWO WHEELS* (as she tells everyone we meet), so she was very excited to go get ready. We were not expecting her to come out dressed like this, though...

Mary Jane getting ready to ride her bike


the update

So, did Maggie's non-dramatic bike riding breakthrough transfer over into non-dramatic time in the pool?


It's really too long and ridiculous to type out but I'll sum up what I gathered in five points.

1. When you are pregnant, very emotional cranky, not extremely mobile, pretty nauseous and struggling with outrageous allergies you shouldn't choose that time to take your non-swimming children to the pool.

2. When you are taking one child to the pool who is known to be dramatic in that particular situation, it's really incomprehensible why you would also take your loud, strong-willed 2 1/2 year old with you...especially when there were other capable adults that had offered to watch him for you.

3. The mothers sitting by the pool will show no mercy or pity towards you, even in your pregnant state, when both of your kids are bawling and / or screaming at the top of their lungs, clutching on to your neck, acting like you are drowning them...while only their legs are actually in the water. In fact, they will glare at you and even shake their heads with seething disapproval. They will continue their staring and head shaking even during the time it takes to get your bawling children dried and out of the pool area.

4. 7 years of teaching swimming lessons will not prepare you in any way for this experience. It will not give you an inkling of an idea how to handle any of it. It will only contribute to the rapidly increasing notion that you are a complete failure and a very strong urge to start bawling yourself. On a related note, explaining to your almost 6 year old daughter that not one of the hundreds of children that have been in your aquatic care have drowned will not matter to her at all.

5. Paying $8.00 for approximately 6 minutes of this lovely experience is going to make you even more emotional cranky than you were before.


There are some positives. First, I don't plan to be this foolish again. Second, the experience did end with something that made me smile. I had forgotten to bring undies for Cal to put on when we took his wet suit off, so here he is, going commando.



i can't believe this

For those of you unfamiliar with the degree of Maggie's adventurous spirit, it's about a 1.2 on a scale of 1 to 10. She's not real excited to pursue scary / new experiences and tends to kind of completely freak out when presented with them. We are not totally sure where all of this come sfrom - I fully relate to the lack of excitement as I am not adventurous myself, but my fear of failure / disappointing authority generally kept any freaking out on the inside. I would just force myself into action after confirming that the trusted grown-up really did want me to ride a bike, play the piano during a recital, dive off a starting block holding a nine pound weight above my head, play soccer, etc., etc.

Anyway, a year ago, Mags was experimenting with a no-training-wheels bike at the Green's house - a house full of extremely adventurous children that Mags considers her best friends. She seemed to be ready, so Boppa took off her training wheels here at home and we began to work on this new skill. About sixteen seconds into the first session, Maggie decided that this was a scary / new experience, and the freaking out began. We continued to work with her, on and off last summer and fall, making absolutely zero progress and "enjoying" lots of freaking out. Since riding a bike is not a necessary life skill to possess at the age of 5 1/2, and there is plenty of drama to deal with in the necessary parts of Maggie's life, we decided to just leave the bike as it was and wait awhile to see what happened. When we pulled out the bike this year to see what the status was, Maggie had clearly progressed in gross motor skills but was still freaking out, so we pretty much dropped the instruction again.

And then something weird happened.

Maggie was showing off her "new trick" to us on Monday night, which was kind of scooting around the driveway on her bike. We really didn't pay much attention to this, to be completely honest. She seemed perfectly content to scoot, so we figured this stage would last a long time. Last night, while Geet and I were at a bridal shower, Mags begged Dada to take her outside so she could scoot some more. Dada agreed and he and Cal proceeded to play catch while she scooted around. Sean said that he glanced up every minute or so to check on the scooting, and without warning, one of his glances found Maggie doing this...

I Want to Ride My Bicycle from Sean Higgins on Vimeo.

No drama, no freaking out, not even an announcement of "hey, lookee here, I'm riding my bike!". It was like it was completely normal and she'd been doing it forever. Sean said that she immediately was even able to make pretty tight turns and demonstrated her skidding ability. She absolutely loves it and has been riding for most of the day today...in fact, she's riding right now and Calvin is yelling directions at her through the window - "Leg down! Mah-geeee, leg down! Watch out! Cars!".

So now I'm trying to figure out how to apply this to learning to swim. (Yes, that's right, the daughter of a former competitive swimmer, coach and instructor who has taught, oh, seventy kids between the ages of 3 and 6 how to swim can not swim a lick at the ripe old age of 5 5/6, and has me more stumped than I've ever been in regards to instruction.) The freaking out combined with the public nature of available swimming pools around here has proved an insurmountable obstacle thus far...oh, and throw in Mag's natural inability to float because her body density is so high. It gets old really fast to have everyone near the pool staring at you, wondering what sort of torture you are putting your poor child through that would cause such screaming and sobbing...and it's only her feet that are wet at that point. Obviously it's not going to work to just toss her in the pool to find the equivalent of "bike scooting" and expect a solo swimming demonstration shortly thereafter...drowning would probably interfere with those plans pretty early on. Maybe the new calm, no-big-deal attitude will just carry over to our next pool visit. I'll keep you updated.