Thursday, June 25, 2009

Ahhhh, summer . . .

I know I've been stuck on this whole first child v. second child thing for a while now, but aside from the people who would like me to finish their bankruptcy filings, my church deciding to up and move to Lutz, and the new Praise and Worship Coffehouse Flamingo Joe has starting putting together for his mom's church, I just don't have much else to think about but how my two kids are so different from each other.

For example, when Casey was around 18 months old he said his first sentence: "I want a boat." But Mace has just started stringing words together at 28 months: "Daddy's home." The sad thing about that is that Daddy is usually not home when Mace says it. One of the two pickups we have is always in the yard (Daddy can drive only one pickup at a time, after all), but Mace will see a pickup in the yard when we drive up, so he assumes Daddy’s home, which he usually isn’t. So you can’t get all excited and say, “Yes! Good boy! Daddy IS home!” You have to say something like, “No baby, I’m sorry – Daddy’s still at work. But very good sentence building, sweetie!”

Swimming, and tolerance for dangerous activities in general, as we’ve already seen in a previous post, are good examples of how different these two children are. Here is a video from when Casey was taking swimming lessons when he was three years old (make sure you watch the whole thing because the best part comes closer to the end):

Casey cried through every single swimming lesson he had that year. Thank heavens there were only six. The odd thing was that he would do every single thing the teacher asked him to do, he would just cry and holler the whole time he was doing it. I tried every trick in the book to get him to stop – you can see I let him wear his cool Hot Wheels sunglasses in the pool. That was just one of my tricks. The week prior to the lesson in this video, he was doing his usual routine – sitting on the edge of the pool crying and hollering like he had just been stung by hornets -- so I went over to him and whispered in his ear, “If you will make it through this swim lesson without screaming, we will go straight from here to get ice cream when it’s over.” Casey loves ice cream almost as much as he loves Star Wars, so he tried to suck it up for a few seconds. But by the time I had walked back over to where the crowd of parents were standing, Casey started sobbing again and turned around and yelled at me, “I-I-I-I DON’T W-W-W-WANT ICE CREAM MOMMY!!!” All those parents looked at me and gave me the “nice try” face.

Joe says that Casey just takes longer to do the physical development things and I think he’s right. But I also think that Casey may be one of those kids who never learn to ride a bike. He’ll be accepted to MIT on a chess scholarship when he’s 12 maybe, but will probably never feel a need to roller skate. And that’s okay. We’ll just have to pick physical activities that are less threatening for him. At his summer camp this year, they have karate lessons a couple of times a week and he seems to enjoy that. But speaking of karate -- do you think I should be concerned about the karate teacher when Casey comes home and in response to the question “So what’d you learn in Karate today,” he says, “We learned what to do if someone is holding a gun at your back??” You’d think he was going to summer camp in the ghetto or something. I'm worried next week he'll come home knowing what to do if someone is trying to put his feet in a bucket filled with wet concrete.

Last summer, when he was 5, he finally learned to swim (his three year old swimming lessons were so traumatic for both of us that I didn’t take him the summer he was four), but it wasn’t easy for anybody. The night before the lessons (he took two weeks’ worth, every day) he cried and cried in anticipation of the horror he knew awaited him in the pool the next day. And then he would cry when he woke up. But when we got to the lesson, he would suck it up and get in and participate, just like he did when he was three. I will forever be grateful to the swim coach at Berkeley Prep for teaching Casey to swim. Before he started those lessons he wouldn’t even put his face in the water. By the end of the two weeks, he had moved up two levels and was swimming like a fish, underwater and everything. He still likes to swim on your back though, if it’s available:

But this summer we’re skipping the swim lessons and just spending tons of time in Heidi’s pool (thanks Heidi!). Mace is already loving the water:

Look, he's pretending to be asleep. So am I, apparently.

Maybe we won’t even need to pay for swim lessons for him. I'm thinking this approach could apply to most of the things we had to pay for with Casey, because Mace picks up pretty much everything from Casey. In fact, I'm pretty sure I won't have to pay for private school with Mace, I'm just going to let Casey homeschool him.

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