I have a budding swimmer on my hands! Henry has been taking swim lessons since early Fall and he immediately took to them like, well a fish to water. Something just clicked this time.
Today he swam about 1/4 of the way across the pool and back without his flotation belt on. No doggy paddling, face in the water, holding his breath the whole way, kicking his legs (relatively straight) and doing straight arm circles. I looked up from coloring with Silas and almost couldn't believe what i was seeing.
He has so much fun that when he's not doing something one-on-one with the teacher he's jumping up and down, doing happy faces, blowing bubbles and generally giddy. Contrast this with two years ago when admittedly his lips were blue, but the lessons actually turned him off the water for awhile. We cut that class short and just enjoyed splashing in the baby pool and spending time at Gran and Nonna's beach. Last fall he took lessons at a highly recommended place. Henry enjoyed them and they did great at getting him happy about swimming again. But the teacher was so gentle that the kid was going to be 30 before he learned that real swimming happens (eventually) without a floatie.
Enter the Chicago Park District. Cheap, no frills, but Koz Park was recommended by another parent friend. The pool and facilities are clean and well-kept and the teachers are really, really good. Fun and good with the kids but also really working on the fundamentals with the kids-- and each at their own level. Swim team is right before his lessons and i asked at the end of class what the requirements for swim team are. The teacher told me they have to be 5 and able to swim the length of the pool on their own. Henry is focused on meeting that goal (before he's 6!) I think i can get away with taking some pictures there (it's a little more relaxed than the uber-strict pool we go to in the summer) so i'll try to capture his little swimming self as soon as possible. But i'm one proud mama (and papa will be as well as soon as he gets home to hear the story!)
Took a little while since i forgot my camera after Halloween, but here is our holiday recap! This was the best Halloween yet. Both boys were old enough to manage the steps on their own, be excited about trick-or-treating, and choose their own costumes. The both have little panda stuffed animals so some where along the way they came up with both of them being pandas. The more they talked about their costumes they created the plan that i was to be the Mama panda and JT was the "Grandpa Panda." Why not the Dad you might ask-- well naturally because that's Silas' role! We made simple costumes out of old black and white tshirts and the boys helped me sew them.
With Halloween on Sunday they got to wear their costumes three days in a row for their school assemblies and parties, a party at the Smerrys and then Halloween. We enjoyed a rain-free and relatively warm night for trick-or-treating. The kids were almost as excited to hand out candy as they were to get their own. We didn't stay out very long but between the parties and trick-or-treating they have quite the candy haul.
Now, a few more things appropos of nothing but needing to be chronicled. Henry has learned to whistle-- quite well in fact. He claims he can even whistle underwater you just can't hear it that well because of the bubbles. He told me he practices whistling underwater during swim practice-- something he's enjoying immensely. He has really great teachers and is so happy for the entire hour he can barely contain his excitement and regularly jumps up and down with glee. He's made huge strides since last year-- completely submerging his head, kicking his legs, working on doing strokes with straight arms, and generally coming right along. He's still the only one that he won't just jump in but all in good time.
Henry is also doing super-well at school. Constantly working on writing letters and reading words off of his "word wall." He continues to enjoy art and made his first purchase with his new allowance-- blue painters tape!
Silas is loving preschool and in general seems like he's settling in to life a little more. He still throws tantrums but they are considerably fewer and more far between. He still knee-jerk rejects anything new out of hand, but more often comes around quickly and says "i'm just joking i do want to...." He tells us just a little bit more about school than Henry does-- but we still don't get too many details. He continues to love music and enjoys all the songs that he's been learning-- "i'm a little teapot" and "here is thumpkin" are two new favorites.