The New Year brought snow. I should clarify – light flurries. But that differentiation did not matter to Maria. She threw on her coat and gloves and hat and took advantage of the dusting of snow to make snow angels on the deck of the house. Mario sat in his room sulking because Maria did not tell him she was heading out to engage in such activity. The New Year also brought a stroll down memory lane. Jon took the memory card from our camera and found a way to put the slide show on our giant screen tv. Very cool. The pictures were only as far back as a year ago but we still waxed nostalgia about how the kids have grown, how old our former house looks, and how relaxing and warm our trip to Cancun was in February 2011.
With the light flurries came blustery winds and temperatures in the teens with the wind chill. We are not ready for this yet since we have been spoiled with 45 degree weather over the last two weeks. So what is the best way to beat the winter cold blues? Go to a swimming pool! Indoor , of course. We dusted off our suits, found our goggles, called our cousin, Alana, and headed to the Dublin Recreation Center. The kids threw on their suits in record time only to find out that they had to wait seven minutes for the rest break to end. One aspect of the Dublin pool I dislike is that they have 15 minute rest breaks every hour. You freeze. Especially little Mario who shivers and turns purple. I hold him close to me and feel his tiny body shiver against me.
When they blew the whistles to jump in, Maria was the first to jump. Alana was a distant second and Mario right after her. He went swimming across the pool. Maria gingerly walked on her tiptoes around the pool. Alana clung to me. Alana knows how to swim but she must still not feel comfortable with it. She also likes to goof around with me and splash me. I am so used to Maria doing this it didn’t bother me too much but I was hoping that her and Maria would play more together to let me chill. Of course, Mario was also in his clingy state wanting me to act like a dinosaur. He wanted to breathe fire on me and shoot lasers at me but he wanted me to live and just be hurt – not die. He has specific instructions with all of his games.
The pool has a lazy river that Alana and Mario loved. Alana wanted me holding her hand the entire time and Mario wanted me to be within a foot of him in case he went under too long and needed help up. I have gotten better at sensing when he wants me to hold him and when he wants to be left alone but every once in a while I grab him when he wants to be on his own and he growls at me. I usually give him a look and he says “Sorry, mommy.” At least he recognizes his issues too! Maria went around the river by herself. I would look over at her on the other side and see her laying her hair in the water letting the current push her along. She is so calm in the water compared to Alana who is clingy and hyper (it’s funny because out of the water, it can be the opposite).
Maria’s friend Zach arrived about a half hour after we got in the pool. All was fine for a while but then Maria felt torn between Alana and him. Zach wanted to go down the big slide (which Alana could not do) and Alana wanted to go down the baby one. Maria looked at me with those big blue eyes and said “I feel torn, mom. I want to be with Alana because she is my cousin but I also like Zach and they don’t want to do the same things.” I explained to her that such a thing happens a lot and she just needed to split her time the way she felt best. I also explained that she had brought Alana with her so she needed to be sensitive to that. In the meantime, Alana only wanted to play with me so it didn’t matter. But Ri stuck with us for the most part since her and Zach have about a 15 minute tolerance for each other before they spat.
After the pool, the kids stood in the showers for 20 minutes. Mario loves to stand under a hot shower and let it run over his head. Maria and Alana just like to be goofy in it and act like they are famous stars. Maria is also getting modest with her old age. She did not want to get naked and dressed int he “main” locker area because too many people were around. This was surprising from the girl who used to run naked around my aunt’s house to make my Grandma Heile laugh hysterically. We sat with Zach and Grace and Amy in the lobby and ate pretzels and subway sandwiches. We asked questions to the kids like “who would you most like to meet?” Mario answered “my butt” while Maria and Alana answered “BIG TIME RUSH!” When asked where they would like to visit, Maria and Alana both answered NYC because that is where Big Time Rush lives (not sure about that) and Mario answered with his stock answer: Hawaii. Jon and I can picture him on his surf board with his blonde hair and chiseled little body riding the waves all day long.
As we drove home, I looked in the rear view mirror. Mario’s head was cocked to the side and he was fast asleep. The holiday celebrations finally catching up to him. Maria and Alana intently watched Thumbelina on the DVD entranced with the friendship between Thumbelina and Tom Thumb. The snow lightly hit the car windshield and blew over to the grassy bank. I took a few deep breaths and thought of Jon waiting at our warm home for us. Winter has arrived.