Sometimes, I think about the irony of my daughter being involved in Synchronized Swimming. Because, really, there is very little about her that is in synch with anyone else.
If there was any other part of her life that I could get Dimples to apply her synchronized swimming skills to, it would be to her meal-eating. In fact, our whole family could probably use a coach on this.
Being a teacher, I have developed the habit of eating quickly. Elementary school teachers have, on average, 4 minutes to scarf a lunch. Officially, we are allotted 30. But, once you get all of your students through the line that was already backed up because the school kitchen ran out of its nutritious pizza rolls two classes before you, and you use your one chance to pee and make any phone calls you need to make, and try to cook the frozen dinner you brought in the one microwave available for 100 teachers in the Teacher’s Lounge, that 30 minutes is pretty much gone.
When I met the Cap’n, I tried to slow myself down a little. The Cap’n savors his food, and does not rush. The Cap’n gets an hour and a half for his lunches. He can go to restaurants, even. So, he does not really understand the concept of “inhale it or lose it.”
Then I met the Family Firepants (my future in-laws), and knew I was really going to need to change my habits. They come from the era where your entire day is about the meals – the preparation, cooking, eating, and cleaning up and starting all over again. And there was no rushing through any of these phases.
And then I gave birth to Dimples – the Slowest Eater of All Mankind.
Here is a typical Family Dinner during the week:
Dimples and I arrive home around 5. I have not eaten since 11 because that is the ungodly time my lunch is scheduled at school. I am starving. But I don’t want to snack because it is close to dinner time.
I call the Cap’n to find out if he will be working late or coming home for dinner. If he is working late, I fix a no-fuss dinner right then and there for Dimples and me. If he says he will be home for dinner, I wait until about 5:30, and begin the dinner preparation process – which begins with the Feeding of the Dogs.
Wonderbutt and Mrs. P.I.B. are as unsynchronized as the rest of the family – with Wonderbutt finishing approximately 5 seconds after the food hits the bottom of his bowl, and Mrs. P.I.B. waiting until every part of the environment meets her satisfaction (pantry door closed, at least one human family member within her vicinity, but no living creature within a 3 foot radius of her bowl). Once Wonderbutt is finished, he hovers, hoping to get any tidbits Mrs. P.I.B. might leave behind – or to brazenly push his way to her bowl when she leaves her head lifted for too long.
Once I am done refereeing the dog meal, I begin to prepare dinner.
At 6:30, I serve whatever I haven’t eaten as I was pulling out of the oven because I am so ravenous. The Cap’n is usually not home by this point. He has no Dorfenbergerthalamus, if you recall, so he has probably gotten completely wrapped up in his work, and has no idea that it is even near dinner time.
At 6:45, I am finished with all three courses of my dinner. Dimples has taken one bite out of a roll, and put some butter on her peas.
At 6:50, the Cap’n calls and says he is now leaving work.
I start doing dishes.
At 7:10, the Cap’n arrives. Dimples has finished 1/8 of her meal. The Cap’n serves himself up a plate of cold food, and sits down to eat with her.
At 7:35, the Cap’n is finished. Dimples is about halfway done, and begs him to stay at the table with her while she eats. Because he is a pushover where Dimples is concerned, he usually does.
At about 7:55, Dimples finishes, then gets upset because she has only 5 minutes before she needs to get ready for bed.
As I ponder the possible reasons for our unbelievably unsynchronized meals, I think I have come up with the answer.
We need to orchestrate the meals with music.
And possibly wear our bathing suits.
If you have any suggestions for appropriate music (preferably NOT from the score for The Sound of Music), feel free to give your recommendations. If I put a little more effort and artistry into this, it could become the next Olympic sport.
I may have implied in yesterday’s post that, once Dimples committed to the sport of synchronized swimming, everything was hunky dory. Not so.
As you may know, synchronized swimmers practice with the aim of doing some sort of routine…that’s synchronized…while they swim.
During practice, they do a lot of laps to develop stamina, and they wear swim caps, goggles and nose clips.
During the actual routine, they wear elaborate costumes. Sometimes with headpieces. They wear nude-colored nose clips.
Notice I did not list goggles or swim caps as part of the performance wardrobe.
So, here’s a little known fact about synchronized swimming. Remember all of those Esther Williams movies where she -
Oh yeah, you’re not old enough to remember those. Neither am I, of course…
So, anyway, there’s a little secret these swimmers have to keeping their hair perfectly in place during a program. Knoxing.
Yep. My reaction, too. What the…?
“Oh, it’s nothing,” I was assured. “We just paint unflavored Knox gelatin on their hair and it solidifies and -”
WTF? What James Bond villain conjured up this stupid Goldfinger-ish torture?
Surprisingly, at Dimples first performance, the application of a dessert to my daughter’s tresses went off fairly smoothly. More experienced moms took over, and deftly sculptured her hair into a tight bun before they lacquered it. If you read my post about trying to diffuse my own hair, you will know how lucky Dimples was to escape my own attempts to try this sophisticated technique.
The two performances went well. I almost got over the makeup that made her look like a cross-dresser at a cabaret, and she almost got over not being able to wear her goggles.
Can’t imagine what I was so worked up about.
Then we got home at 9 pm and it was time to attack Fort Knox.
So, I was supposed to get my exhausted seven year old to stand in the shower while we tried to use lukewarm water (“not too hot, Mom!”) and shampoo to rinse the hardened plastic out of her hair. Then the shampoo got in her eyes which we hadn’t cleaned of the makeup yet, and the wailing really started. To any neighbor within a mile radius, it was quite apparent that I was viciously murdering my child.
After ten minutes, I gave up. “We’ll do the rest tomorrow,” I said.
I really, really wish I had taken a picture of her the next morning. With her hair still partially Knoxed, she looked a little like this…
Am I bad mom because I laughed? Luckily a good nights sleep brought back her sense of humor, and she laughed too.
And if you feel like a laugh at the expense of synchronized swimming, check out this video (no heads were Knoxed in the creation of this video):
It all started because Dimples does not like to sweat.
As the typical helicopter-missing-a-blade parent, I have been trying to guide Dimples through various extracurricular activities in the hopes she would find her niche. For awhile, I thought we had hit on the right combo with dance and gymnastics. As I mentioned before, the kid has ungenetically enhanced rhythm. She also has weirdly fluid flexibility.
But when we were getting ready to sign up for a new season, Dimples announced from the back seat of the car (her usual spot for stunning proclamations) that she guessed she didn’t really want to do gymnastics again. The same kid who does cartwheels and handstands all over the house declared that she no longer wanted to do them. In the one place it was actually encouraged and there were spotters and a big foam pit.
“Uh, you don’t want to do gymnastics?” To me, this was like Wonderbutt suddenly declaring that he would rather not eat the piece of cheese that had miraculously fallen to the floor during the preparation of dinner.
“It makes me sweat too much.”
My bipolar brain started duking it out immediately. One side was thrilled because we would save money and have more time. The other side was bummed because we thought we had found her “passion” in gymnastics.
Ignoring the inner battle, I felt obligated to ask, “So, is there something else you would rather do?”
“Swimming” was the surprising answer.
Why was this surprising? Because she spent the first two summers of swimming lessons avoiding putting her head under the water. She was over that now, but I never would have guessed as I begged her to please, please just put her face in and blow some bubbles years ago that she would one day decide that swimming was her all-time favorite sport.
It was also surprising because, once she had overcome her H2O fears, she had taken every lesson available at our pool. The only thing left to do was swim team, and she didn’t want to compete in swim team because, along with her strong opposition to sweat, she apparently has a strong opposition to opposition.
For a couple of days after her condemnation of the sweaty sport of gymnastics, I despaired of finding any kind of suitable replacement. There seemed no point in swimming more laps if she wasn’t actually going to do anything with it. Then I remembered reading an article about a local team. A synchronized swimming team.
A sport that combines gymnastics and swimming. A sport that has fun music and costumes. A sport that does not involve sweat.
After I ineptly attempted to explain all of this to Dimples, she gamely decided to try it out.
So, one night, Dimples joined the team at a practice while I talked to one of the board members about the requirements. As I listened to explanations about the financial commitment, the required fundraising, and the mandatory volunteer hours, I started realizing my mistake.
As I was realizing my mistake, Dimples was quickly getting used to this no-sweat activity. By the time I had concluded that it was time to ditch this idea and try sky-diving instead, Dimples had concluded this was her new passion.
So now we are rolling into Year 2. Dimples gets to do her dance and gymnastics without sweating, and I get to sweat how I’m going to pay for it.