I'm suffering through another night of limited sleep and I decided to look at my blog. I was surprised to see a post from 2008 about how I read "I Love You Forever" to Eliza when she was only two. It's so important to write here, to preserve my life with my little girls because it really is flying by. It's also important to proofread what I write but I hardly ever do. I'll try to start doing that tonight/this morning.
Summer is here and we've already spent a great deal of time at the pool and beach. The combined pool beach badge is expensive so each summer I tell myself I must get to the pool at least 11 times to justify the cost of the badge. Fortunately for us, the weather has really been wonderful and I think we've been to the pool/beach 7-8 times. You never know when the weather can turn so if the sun's out, we go. Fortunately, my kids are enthusiastic this year because we've got a new pool. It's me who has to psych myself into going. As much as I enjoy the beach and pool, with the sunscreen, the snacks, the water containers, change of clothes and towels, getting ready to go can be a tedious process. But as of now, our summer has been divine.
Elena is now five, and is pretty demanding. Our lives are so in flux now that I really wish I had more patience with her and the tantrums. Yesterday was pretty hot (and it's always at least 10 degrees hotter in my apartment for some reason) and I got some bad news regarding an apartment. At school, several kids told Elena of their plans to go to the pool so she was determined to go right after school. I explained to her that first we had to take Eliza to a birthday party, then we had to have lunch at home. While Elena ate her lunch, I got the news that we didn't qualify for an apartment because I didn't meet the salary requirements. This was a bitter pill to swallow because I don't know that I'll meet the income requirements for any apartment in New York, even in the outer boroughs. My goal of working as little as possible so I could be home for my kids is not what New York building owners want to see on my past tax returns.
As soon as Elena was finished with her lunch, she wanted to get ready to go to the pool. I begged her to give me a few minutes alone, to process this, to get myself together. Elena hasn't mastered not getting her way and she's also not the most independent or physically capable kid. When it was time to pick up Eliza at the party and then head to the pool, I still needed space from Elena. Unfortunately she is not able to get into most of her swimsuits without assistance. This particular one piece has criss cross straps that even I struggle to get on her. Elena screams pretty loud with anything that's mildly frustrating for her and I can't stress enough how scared I am about our future and how often I beg her to stop shouting. But after a big crying fit, we made it out the door with her in good spirits.
Eliza had a great time at the party and fortunately wanted to go to the pool. Although the pool was packed, the girls were excited to immediately see friends and jumped in. But after five minutes, with friends now leaving for the beach, both girls cried boredom and begged to head down to the beach. While I love the beach, I wasn't ready to rush down there just yet. The girls pleaded and I think Elena called me a few names but then a friend of Eliza's arrived, she ran after the friend like a stalker and the the girls headed over to the line for the diving board. While in line, Eliza met up with more friends and soon declared the day "the best day of her entire life."
I also have to add that Elena is terrified of the water that is more than a foot deep. Seeing that terror in her, I realize fear is genetic. I'm not afraid of the water but I'm a very fearful person, my mother a fearful person as well. She never learned to ride a bike and hated driving for most of her life. I didn't learn how to ride a bike until I was well into my 30s and it was all due to the fear factor. It's hard for people on the outside of things, to understand how debilitating fear is and how much us fraidy cats don't want to be the way we are. I've certainly done nothing to elicit fear in my children but watching Eliza learn to ride a bike and seeing Elena in the water, I know it really is genetic.
Elena wants to swim so badly. Each time we go to the pool, she crawls around the shallow end, dragging her face through the water and kicking her legs. She probably could swim if she would only allow me to help her into the deeper pool but the second we go down the steps from the one foot pool into the connecting pool that gradually slopes down three feet, she claws into my suit and screams like she's being beaten. No level of bribing will work because this is a true, uncontrollable fear. I remember what it was like for the me the last time I was on skis, how I so desperately wanted to ski but I was terrified. The ski instructor, not my first but the first one who really understood that it was a fear I so wanted to conquer, talked me down the bunny slope and for the first time, I thought I might really learn to ski if I just had one more day there with that instructor. But I didn't and I've accepted that skiing is something I won't learn in my lifetime.
But being safe in the water by learning how to swim is a skill I think Elena needs for survival. Now that she's five, it's really time she learn to swim. People have lots of advice but I don't think throwing her into the water will do much more than terrify her. A lifeguard suggested getting her to float on her back with my arm underneath her but I couldn't accomplish this yesterday because she wouldn't let go of me, nearly tearing off my swimsuit when I tried to lower her. It's hard because I don't understand why she doesn't trust me. I want so much for her to do this, to be safe but also because I know it's what she wants. She sees her friends swimming and jumping off the diving board. She doesn't want to get left behind.
I was recently hired on a new show that doesn't start until mid-July so I've got a little less than a month before I return to work. I'm still looking for an apartment so I'm unfortunately not completely free to relax. We started phase one of our move this week by getting rid of our couch and another piece of furniture. My landlord is being understanding and has agreed to us staying until the end of July. If I can't get approved for a NY apartment before the end of July, I guess I'll put our furniture in storage and continue to look and hope. Things might improve once I have a series of paystubs to prove my income. It's just a lot to deal with because I also have to find a babysitter and it's hard to even sift through the applications when I don't know where we'll be living. But the kids can stay with Christophe for the summer and hopefully in the fall we'll be good. It'll be tough finding a place in the city to stay for myself for the month of August but I'm hoping my friends will be understanding towards my situation.
The years fly by and there's nothing I can do to slow that down. But I do hope that some time from now, I can look back on this posting and remember this day that Eliza said was "the best day of her entire life." How after the pool we went out for pizza (too hot to cook) and Elena kept kissing my cheek. How the girls really enjoyed their dinner and although I was a bit blue, we had a nice night. I wish I had more patience, that I could handle Elena's temper tantrums better, that the way the girls fight didn't drive me nuts. I'm so overwhelmed by everything, I think because I'm so overwhelmed by what's to come. But it is summer, and we're so lucky to have a pool and beach a few blocks away. So often I realize I really am lucky. I know when I look back on this, I'll realize how lucky I am. I just want to feel that way today.