Bug often tells people that he is 1/4 shark. This explains his voracious appetite, his keen sense of smell and his love for the water. If there is a pool or lake, Bug is in it. He doesn’t care if he has a friend to swim with either. If he’s in the water he is in his own little world, swimming in circles, diving to the bottom, doing cannon balls and the like. He is not a great swimmer but he can keep his head above the water.
This summer we have been working on getting healthy. (See my posts titled: The Summer of Health and So Far So Good.) I’m not going to try and make you believe that we have eaten only healthy food and that the boys did not spend one minute in front of the TV or computer, but we have been pretty close. I am seeing Buddy make better choices when we eat out. If a fruit is offered as a side instead of fries, he will choose the fruit. (Not Bug. That’s a tough one for me to resist too.) Bug does better at home. If he wants a snack and complains that I have not bought any chips and there are no cookies I remind him that it doesn’t mean that he can’t eat something. He will look in the fridge and pantry for awhile until he decides on cheese and wheat crackers or celery and almond butter. He weighs his options of eating a dessert at lunch or wait until dinner, often checking to see if I have dessert plans that he doesn’t want to miss out on.
Buddy is religious about setting a timer while on the computer or watching TV so he knows exactly how many tokens to turn in. Bug has screen time of some sort and then says, “how long did I do that for mom? Eh…I’ll just guess.” I’m sure he guesses in his favor. He’s even tried to slip in some screen time at Caren’s house.
“Bug, you know my home is just an extension of yours,” Caren will remind him. “No TV.”
Also at a recent BBQ at our home Bug was spied inhaling two hot dogs and going for another. The third dog was intercepted by my friend Stacey. She wrapped it up for him and told him it could be something he has another day.
“Michal, I have never seen a child eat like that before!” she confessed to me with wide eyes. “I hope you don’t mind that I took the other hot dog away from him.”
Heck no! I love and appreciate that my friends are helping me in this! It takes a village people.
Despite the extra play time and the (usually) smaller portions and healthy choices, Bug has still gained a pound.
He got on a scale at Science City in MO when we were there on a road trip. I was so bummed. BUT it’s not the Dr.’s scale, we were vacationing and not being as careful with our eating, and maybe it just goes to show that this really is just how Bug is.
“He’s growing!” Man reminded me.
“I know but…if he maintained his weight and grew then it would be like he lost.”
“He’s not on a diet.”
“Yes, you make sure to remind me of that every time you encourage him to order Sprite or Root Beer at a restaurant.”
To his credit: Man does want his kids to be healthy. He encourages healthy choices too but he feels I’m being too strict.
Recently Bug announced that he wants to be an Olympic swimmer. And a chef. His teacher’s mother was an Olympic Swimmer and I think that’s where the idea came from. Of course he tells me this at the end of June while we are travelling. Our summer schedule is packed solid. Still, I had to do something to get him into swimming. What a great way for him to stay healthy!
I giggled to myself and to friends at the thought of walking up to a swim coach and saying, “My son wants to be an Olympic swimmer.” He’ll look at Buddy, slim and stream lined with a gleam in his eye.
“Um, no.,” I’ll say. “This one.” The look on a coaches face when the Round One steps forward! Hahaha! “Well, he’s very buoyant.”
Once home, I got on-line and found our local swim team. Bug would need to know the four basic strokes: freestyle, butterfly, back and breast stroke. I then looked into swim lessons. I found a class for him that runs for two weeks. Unfortunately, due to our crazy schedule, he will only be able to do one week. Knowing that won’t be enough time to master these strokes, I will be signing him up for private instruction after all our visitors and travels are done. In September he can try out for the swim team or he can wait until December.
Today was Bug’s first class. He had a half hour class and I was worried if he would have the stamina. I was so proud watching him work hard at each new skill and swimming lap after lap, then climbing out of the pool and walking to the other end with a big grin on his face. He never looked tired! (A kiddie lap is actually only half the length of the pool but still.) I was so happy to see him in his element!
My Mom was with us and was waiting for a lane to open up so she could swim her laps. Just as Bug’s class ended, two lanes opened up. Mother dove into one and Bug cannon balled into the other. Mother is a very good swimmer and used to teach it as well. She reinforced some of the things Bug learned and together they swam for another half hour. Mom always had him turn around at the half way point but Bug really wanted to swim one full lap. She finally relented but only if he used a kick board. Bug took off on the kick board singing “propeller, propeller, propeller” as he kicked his way down the lane. Mom glided past him and on her return noticed that little Bug was puttering out. She slipped into his lane and put her kick board under his other arm. Together they swam in and finished the lap. After one hour of swimming, Bug was exhausted!
Mother and Bug joined Buddy and I on the bleachers to dry off. While they rested and towelled off they watched another swimmer. This kid looked to be college aged and was in Magic Mike shape, if you know what I mean. He was super fast. Bug had never seen anyone swim so fast! Mom pointed out to him the way his arms went up and down and not across his body as Bug had been doing. Together they watched him and said “up, down, up, down,” with the swimmers arms and copied the strokes in the air. Mom announced that she was going to change clothes.
“You go ahead Nana. I want to sit and memorize this Fast Guy’s stroke for a bit.”
After a few minutes Bug finally decided to go and change. He came out in a dry shirt, shorts and shark socks that I bought for him on Amazon. He asked if we could go and buy him goggles like the Fast Guy had. We had an errand to run at the library and after that, I agreed, we could go and buy goggles.
At Sports Authority we surveyed the various styles of goggles. I had no idea that there were so many different shapes and that some were for sport and others for play. I found a child size pair and had him try them on.
“How are those Bug?”
“They’re…good…” he said as he raised his eyebrows up and down. I noticed his eyes were stretched taught under the lens. They looked terribly uncomfortable. We moved to the Junior sizes. After awhile Bug chose a pair of tinted goggles. They were red, white and blue with stars and were for racing.
“These are perfect because I’m going to swim for America!” He told the cashier as she rung them up.
Bug ripped open the package and wore his new goggles out of the store and all the way home. My Mom told him all about Michael Phelps and how he started swimming when he was a little boy and worked hard, hard until he was in the Olympics. This was the first Bug had ever heard of him and he couldn’t believe it when we told him Phelps swims faster than the Fast Guy we saw at the pool today.
If Bug were to make it to the Olympics it honestly would not surprise me. My kids seem to think if they want to do something then they can. I’d like to think that I have something to do with that but all I can think of is Bug’s teacher JD telling him, “I believe! Do you believe?”
“I do! I believe Ms. D!”
And he does. I keep the realistic stuff to myself. Sometimes. Mostly though I am excited about what this could do for Bug’s health and strength. I’m so excited for him and hope he keeps a hot burning enthusiasm for the sport. When NBC interviews him after he wins his first gold medal he can say, “Well you know, I AM a 1/4 shark.”