Wednesday, 27. July 2011 3:08
Following is how a fun day of swimming can suck like Mississippi channel water. From the time you enter the pool.
Ellie: I want you to be the Mama who has a baby who is scared to swim.
Me: Hi baby. It’s going to be fun, come sw…
Ellie: No! You’re on the wrong side and I need you to talk with a deeper voice.
Me: I was thinking maybe we could ride on these rafts instead.
Ellie: I’m too scared! No.
Me: Why don’t you pick out which color you’d like and we can just test ‘em out.
Ellie: I want the pink one.
Me: Okay. I’ll help you get on it.
Ellie: I just want to think about it. I’m afraid I’ll sink.
Me: Honey, you already have full-body floaties on, I promise you won’t sink.
Ellie: Are these like surf boards?
Me: Kind of.
Ellie: Can we stand on them?
Me: No. They’re not as strong.
Ellie: What happens if I fall off a surfboard?
Me: Well, you’d get right back up.
Ellie: But, I don’t know how to swim! I don’t EVER want to surf. Don’t forget. I don’t EVER want to surf.
Me: Here, let me push you along a little.
Ellie: Not from that side! That part has fire. This is a speed boat. Also, you can push me but don’t kick. I don’t want to see feet.
Me: How about if I let you float a little and we can look at the clouds?
Ellie: Does my raft have flowers?
Me: No, it looks like yours has big pink bubbles.
Ellie: I want flowers!
Me: Would you like to trade rafts?
Ellie: No! I want flowers on my pink one.
Me: Well, I don’t think we can make that happen.
Ellie: Then I’ll put them together and you can push us. NOT THAT WAY! I don’t want the rafts to touch. Also, I don’t want you to lay down. This is a boat. You can’t drive laying down. Sit up!
Me: I’m going to swim over here while you work it out.
Ellie: I NEED YOU TO HELP ME! IT HAS TO GO THIS WAY!
Me: [silent treatment for a long time]
Ellie: Do ostriches have long legs?
Me: I guess they do?
Ellie: Can they kick people?
Me: I suppose so?
Ellie: Will they kick me?
Me: I don’t think we’ll be in a situation where that will happen?
Ellie: But they COULD! I don’t EVER want them to kick me. Don’t forget!
Me: Why don’t we put some of your toys in the water?
Ellie: WAIT! I have to throw them. You have to be in the middle of the water to catch them.
Me: Well, why don’t we just see how far you can throw them?
Ellie: NO! You have to be in the middle.
Me: I’m going to sit right here. You can get your toys or not. It’s up to you.
Ellie: Well Mama! I can’t get them if you don’t go in the middle.
Me: I’m going to sit here and put my head back to relax.
Ellie: I want to do that too!! I need you to help.
Me: When you sit down here, I can show you how.
Ellie: No. I need you to come get me.
Me: I think you’re a pretty good swimmer. Come swim to my hand and I’ll pull you in.
Ellie: NO! You have to come get me.
Me: The pump is going. Let’s swim over to that and pretend it’s the lazy river.
Ellie: I WAS GOING TO BE FIRST! YOU RUINED IT.
Me: Listen. We are here to swim and relax. It doesn’t matter where you go, how quickly you get there, or what you choose to play. You can make your choices and have fun or we can go home.
Ellie: I DON’T WANT TO GO HOME.
Me: Then you need to find your soft voice and your nice words.
Ellie: I don’t want to be a doctor anymore.
Me: That’s fine, sweetie. You can be whatever you want when you grow up.
Ellie: It’s too hard to give people shots.
Me: (after two hours of swimming) We have ten more minutes. If you can be a good listener and cooperate by getting out, drying off, and getting dressed without whining, we can come back tomorrow.
Ellie: I’m NOT getting out!
[After she managed to get out, I let her sit on a towel in a chair to dry off. When I started to talk to my Grandma, shit blew.]
Ellie: I want the towel to cover my feet. Make it cover my feet! I can’t dry my back sitting here and I CAN’T get off the chair by myself! I NEED YOU TO DO IT NOW!
And this my friends, is only a partial excerpt from a full six hours of Ellie trying to control every aspect of her day including how I respond to her. I earned my two jumbo margaritas this evening. If Jimmy Buffett even thinks of looking at me sideways, I’m going in to find his lost shaker of salt.