Alli turned seven on “Mowch 25th.” It’s problematic to me that she actually pronounces her “R’s” the majority of the time now and has outgrown saying Mowch 25th. Pass the Kleenex.
For the third year in a row Alli’s birthday fell over spring break. I had the brilliant idea of signing the girls up for daily “schwimming” (at least she still says schwimming) lessons over spring break. In my mind it sounded like something fun to look forward to over spring break with the hope that the girls will learn how to not drown.
In reality I had to wrangle the kids to be to the pool 9:15 a.m. They wanted no part of rush, rush, rushing on spring break. They whined and complained. Cried and used their expert skills of body language to communicate their great irritation. To further complicate matters, I couldn’t get all three girls in the pool for lessons at the same time. What could have been 45 minutes of “fun” turned into the greater part of 2 ½ hours by the time we came full circle.
Grant was bored spitless and managed to get himself into significant trouble every day, both at the pool and at home. The Incident, involving a baseball and a sister, on Monday resulted in losing his privilege to play with friends all of spring break. Tuesday a mom kicked him out of the indoor play park because he shoved a Little Tykes seesaw down the slide and there was an unsuspecting toddler in the launch path. Wednesday he climbed to the top of the play structure, sat on the roof and got ejected from the play place again, this time by the lifeguard. Thursday’s Incident involved a skateboard and boundaries. Friday involved a table manner deficit in a public place. Poor kid. He couldn’t wait to go back to school.
On a positive note, swimming really clicked for Katie and Alli. By the end of the week they were successfully front crawling, back stroking and back floating their way across the pool and back. Way to go girls! Now if I can just get Paige swimming I might be able to take the kids to the beach without hyperventilating over the possibility of one of them drowning.
The last day of swim lessons was Mowch 25th. Alli’s breakfast of choice was chocolate chip and strawberry pancakes, bacon and chocolate milk. She chowed down an adult-sized portion and then hit the pool. (UGH!) Curt took the day off from work and the girls were thrilled to demonstrate their newly learned skills for him.
Alli, jacked up on sugar from breakfast, kept breaking all the rules of her swim class. She’d swim to one side of the pool and back for her instructor (good). But when she’d get to our side, she’d climb out of the pool (bad), race walk to where Curt and I were sitting and yell, “Dad – did you see that? She said it was Powfect!” (only she really pronounces “perfect” perfectly now. More Kleenex please.) After her proclamation, she’d race walk back to the pool to rejoin her class. The few times she stayed in the pool, she opted to grab onto the side of the pool, launch herself out of the water and scream, “Did you see that?” and give a big thumbs up. Her enthusiasm was hilarious and by the end of the class she had the entire section of parents sitting around us laughing.
|Alli getting the Red Robin royal treatment|
Their class had six participants ranging in age from seven (Alli) to fourteen. The swim instructor finished the week of lessons with a grand finale – a race across the pool. She counted the girls down to zero and they all belly-flopped into the water. The pool was a churning sea of confusion but guess who touched the wall on the other side first? Alli popped out of the water, eyes wide with anticipation and screamed, “Did I win?” Fist bumps in the air and huge smiles erupted when she found out she was the winner. The race was so exciting that they did it again. Alli got out-touched by a fourteen-year-old in the second race but it didn’t stop her enthusiasm. She made sure we all knew she won the “fowst” race. It was hands-down my favorite memory of her 7th birthday.
We met my Mom and Terry at Red Robin for a birthday dinner. Grant, who isn’t known to have good table manners, forgot the few that he had and I was sitting by him. What a treat. Alli, who can’t sit still on a low-energy day, was overflowing with excitement. It amplified her inability to sit still so she flopped all over the table, invaded Curt’s personal space, “went to the bathroom” at least four times during dinner, and took the scenic way back to our table. The best part of the birthday dinner for Curt and I was leaving.
Alli went home with my Mom and Terry for a special Alli-only sleepover. They made banana splits, watched a movie and read books. The following day, we met them at Champoeg State Park. Alli got a new bike for her birthday and wanted to try it out on a family bike ride.
When you do anything as a team, you’re limited to the strength of your weakest participant. In this case, it was Paige. She has shown zero interest in learning to ride her bike WITH training wheels. Learning to ride without training wheels hasn’t even crossed her radar screen yet.
Paige also got a new bike for her birthday and she rode it masterfully all around our house, riding laps around the kitchen island. However, the second we brought the bike outside, she refused to touch it. I could crawl faster than Paige was riding her bike. As a result, I had very low expectations of the duration and level of fun for the Family Bike Ride but Paige surprised us all.
|self timer + strong winds = this picture|
She started off in her typical fashion, walking her bike down the slightest incline and whimpering about how dangerous it was if she went faster than a slow crawl. Everyone left her in the dust except me and I was chanting internally, “Slow to speak, slow to get angry, quick to listen. Live a righteous life.” I encouraged and challenged her. We celebrated when she pedaled more than two rotations without stopping. It was hard to stay frustrated when she beamed at me from underneath her butterfly helmet every time she did something that somewhat resembled riding a bike. Her training wheels inhibited her traction causing her to spin out instead of roll forward, so Curt came and “fixed” it by bending the training wheels up. They were basically not touching the ground and I was certain Paige would crash immediately, but instead she took off. She gained more confidence and speed with each ¼ of a mile and before we knew it, she was flying down the trail keeping pace with the big kids. She had no idea that she was essentially riding without training wheels and we didn’t dare tell her.
|doesn't this puddle scream "Dive in?"|
We biked at least five miles as a family - Grandma, Grandpa, four kids, and two parents. We made quite a bike train and it was so fun. We coasted into the parking lot at the same time the wind picked up and the rain clouds rolled in. The men got the bikes loaded just as the first raindrop fell. While they loaded bikes, Grant and Alli spotted a huge rain puddle in the parking lot and decided to play in it. Apparently splashing isn't good enough. It's much more "fun" to lay down in the water and splash around on a 40 degree day with another storm rumbling in. It was a perfect way to cap off a fairly lame spring break.
Alli and her friend Jenna celebrated their birthdays at school after spring break. Alli made her own party invitations and had a “friend party” the weekend after her birthday. She likes being seven so far and is looking forward to “taking tests in 2nd grade?”
I’m still mourning the fact that she continues to grow out of habits that defined her early childhood years, like not saying her R’s. When Alli says her birthday, no matter how old she is, I’ll always hear “Mowch 25th.”