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The Wonderbutt Years

Despite the fact that her father never learned how to swim and her mother has absolutely no coordination, our daughter, Dimples, did well in her synchronized swimming events this weekend.  I don’t think that she has aspirations to go to the Olympics in the future.  But, if she did, I can imagine the video that they would show as a short biography during the Olympic coverage.  You know, one of those moving chronicles in which the narrator, Bob Costas, outlines all of the obstacles the athlete has had to overcome to get this far – beginning with the genetic disasters who spawned her and ending with the tragic, near career-ending injury that occurred six months before the Olympic Games.  In between those dramatic bookends would be the years that she fought putting her face in the water for her teachers at the Y.M.C.A., her amazing breakthrough when she turned 5 and took lessons at our new neighborhood pool, and the time she nearly drowned in 6 inches of water at the river after taking 3 hours to get confident enough to skip from stone to stone.

And then there would be the Wonderbutt Years, the suspenseful part of the story when a new puppy entered our household and threatened to turn all of our lives upside down.  This turn of events was particularly challenging for the budding young athlete, Bob Costas would say, because her vital equipment such as nose clips, goggles, and even her nearly indestructible duct tape swim bag, were in constant peril of being devoured by the bellicose bulldog.  And the family would nearly be wiped out, financially, by the dog’s ravenous appetite for furniture and floor coverings – making the cost of extracurricular activities nearly prohibitive.

But, through all of these hardships and unusual complications, Dimples prevailed.  Financing her college education with full-tuition scholarships, and gaining a sponsorship from Knox gelatin, Dimples was able to work her way to become one of the best swimancers* in the world.  Once she moved away from home, and Wonderbutt could no longer thwart her, Dimples –

Hmm.  Sorry.  Got a bit carried away there with that.

*swimancer=swim+dancer, of course!

Since I don't put pics of Dimples on my blog, I thought Wonderbutt could model one of her medals instead.

Yep. I'm a bad mom.

whatimeant2invent #3

A spray on Knox gelatin for synchronized swimming competitors.  That is my next invention.

When we first got our 9 year old daughter involved in synchronized swimming, we had absolutely no idea what we were getting into.  The first time one of the parents mentioned “knoxing” to me, I thought it was her way of hazing the gullible new mom.  Since then, though, I have found she was not making this story up.  Knoxing is only done for shows or competitions – not for practices.  Which meant that Dimples had two months to fall in love with synchronized swimming before she encountered one of its major drawbacks.  And, by then, it was pretty much too late.

Painting Knox gelatin into the hair keeps it in place during performances.  It does not easily wash out in the pool water, and it’s not harsh on the hair (like the petroleum jelly swimmers used in the Ester Williams days).  With some finesse, it washes out with warm water and shampoo (and a bit of elbow grease).

It is not fun to put on, though.  I actually haven’t done it myself, yet.  I’m afraid I will mix the gelatin and water to the wrong consistency, or burn my daughter, or make it look so horribly gloppy that we will have to start over.  And you really don’t have time to start over when you have an hour before a performance.

Fortunately, for novice moms like me, “knoxing stations” are usually set up somewhere around the pool, and experienced knoxers will do the hair of the younger girls.  It takes a village to do my daughter’s hair because I am apparently bad at putting it into a ponytail and bun as well.  The only thing I don’t screw up too badly is taking pictures.  Although that’s happened before, too…

Dimples' coach painting her hair with Knox.

Knoxing almost finished. They put a lighter layer on the bun, which is also held together with a hair net and approximately 10,000 hairpins.

Knoxing complete. See the headpiece? I put that on. It fell off about 5 seconds into warm-ups, as did the ones on the other two girls' heads that I affixed. My ineptitude is glaringly evident in the Syncrho mom department.

The problem with this whole process – actually, one of many problems, is that, if your child is involved in more than one routine, the Knox starts to get a bit clumpy and gloppy.  It eventually begins to wash out – even when I sternly tell it not to – and there is no way anyone is going to go through the whole knowing process more than once in a day.

That is why my Knox hairspray idea is so good.  And, if you couple it with my first whatimeant2invent idea, the hair-growth stopping pill, you could have a complete beauty empire with these two products.  Come on, Mark Cuban, you know you and your Shark Tank rivals would love to jump on this…

Synchronized Dog Paddling – the New Sport?

Dimples, our 9 year old daughter, is involved in synchronized swimming.  This weekend, she is participating in a meet, so today’s post will be short.

As Dimples and I walked out the door to head over to the meet, Wonderbutt bulldogdozed ahead of us, and hopped into the car, where we had just piled all of her required “equipment”.

He refused to leave the car.  Perhaps he is eager to try swimming again, and would like to perform a routine with Dimples?

I doubt it. He's not exactly a team player.

 

We Have No Kitchen Synch

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.

Impressive. But, can you eat Hamburger Helper at the same time? (courtesy of proacguy1 on Flickr)

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.

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