By Mir
June 26, 2010

The kids came back tonight, and they were taller and bigger and I couldn’t stop marveling at how just two weeks made them different.

Monkey looked like he was gaining weight on the cruise, actually, and two more weeks of voracious eating have settled on his frame in a way that renders him less the spindly waif I’ve known for so many years, and more a sturdy boychild who could tip into adolescence at any moment. We made him hop on the Wii Fit to weigh him; it claims he gained 8 pounds in the last month.

Chickadee is now mere inches away from being my height. She will be taller than me by the time she starts high school, but she still doesn’t believe it. She is shedding the skin of childhood ever-faster, and two weeks in one fell swoop catches in my throat and seems more than I can swallow. She is so lovely and so goofy; so lovely BECAUSE she is so goofy.

They asked to swim and although it was time for dinner we said of course.

Weeks of oppressive heat have turned the pool into a giant hot tub. The kids and I lowered ourselves into the water and made jokes about passing the soap in this hot bath. Otto snuck out behind us, raced to the diving board, and executed a spectacular cannonball before anyone could move out of the splash zone. Well played, Otto.

The kids swarmed him when he came up. “Throw me!” “Lift me up!” “Toss me like you did last summer!” He gave it all he had, but there was no denying they’re significantly harder to lift and eject, now, than they were just one year ago.

[Aside: At one point, while attempting to lift-and-throw Chickadee, Otto ended up taking a foot to a rather sensitive part of the anatomy. Chickadee, thinking she’d accidentally kicked him in the stomach, immediately offered, “I’ll rub it to make it feel better!” Poor horrified Otto all but screamed, “NO!” while I laughed so hard I nearly drowned.]

In their absence, we spent $7 on the last tiny inflatable boat on the shelf at Big Lots. We blew it up in the family room one night, then tried to convince the dog to sit it in. She was skeptical. I sat in it, and called her into my lap. Thus passed several days of “boating” in the family room; I hoped that by habituating her to the boat, we might be able to use it for her in the pool. At the very least, I reasoned that on a hot day we could just leave it poolside and fill it with some water from the hose, so that she’d have a place to cool off even if she continued to hate the pool.

But this evening, it wasn’t all that hot, and Licorice wasn’t going anywhere near the boat so long as it was near the pool, so after much begging I told the kids they could use it. The boat went into the pool, the kids went into the boat, the pool went into the boat, bailing was bravely done with a frisbee, Monkey the Threatening Shark (one hand held up over the head) looked an awful lot more like Monkey the Swimming Rooster, but his sister pretended to be scared anyway, and in general, I cannot think of another $7 I’ve spent and gotten such keen enjoyment.

By the time the bugs started coming out, the kids had the boat flipped over and were swimming underneath it, using the seating cavity as an air bubble. They shuffled over to where Otto and I were drying off, and tipped the boat off their heads. Chickadee intoned, “This is our underwater taxi pizza delivery service. We are delivering pizzas to the underwater sea creatures.” They put the boat back on their heads amidst gales of laughter, and headed back to the deep end.

And just like that, everything is right in my world again.


  1. Heather

    Aw, welcome home, big little animal nicknamed-kids! I’m glad that you’re happy and that they’re home. Let the summer adventures continue!
    (And my best wishes for poor Otto’s recovery from injury!)

  2. Lady M

    My sealife friends could totally use a pizza service.

  3. Karen

    Cherish those moments!! My kids are now way too cool and older and eye-rolling-heavy-sigh-producing to entertain themselves like this…I miss those days.

    As for the dog… when you know she needs cooling off, simply carry her in about six feet from the steps, she will begin dogpaddling as you already know, gently let her down into the water and she will swim right back to those steps. She has a streamlined body and will do fine in the water. I don’t think she’ll ever be one to leap in with shear joy, but you can do this little swim routine with her any time you know she could use a cool down. Eventually they become less terrified and even wait at the steps for you to carry them in… that might take a year or two or twelve tho.

  4. Midj

    Yay! They’re home! Never stops being the best thing in the world. When 17 year old son child got home from one week of tennis camp, the Universe righted itself. Don’t know what I’ll do when they’ve both moved out on their own… And I agree with Karen. Gentle exposure, once a swim period, will do wonders for Licorice and her pool confidence.

  5. Half Assed Kitchen

    Two weeks is a long time to go without your kids. I’m glad you have them back.

  6. Fragrant Liar

    Just came over from a link on the Happiness Project feedblitz. I love your site. Although my kiddos are grown now, sounds like we have much in common. I’m waiting now to see my kiddos and their kiddos because I miss them terribly.

    You all enjoy your summer!

  7. Megan

    Absolutely perfect welcome home!

  8. Jen

    I love the imagination your kids have. It will serve them well in the future, and right now provides much in the way of blogfodder. Welcome home to the (not so) younguns.

  9. Mary

    My grandson is now doing “the things he remembers” with his son. Memories given in love are the very best thing you give a child.
    The way you and Otto enjoy your family is a gift to them, to each other and to us all.


  10. Pats

    On the other hand… having a dog in the pool isn’t always fun. I visited a friend last summer whose dogs liked to swim with us. Their toenails hurt. Of course, one was a herding dog, and was always trying to “herd” us out of the pool.

  11. elz

    I’m glad the kiddos are home now. Our pool is just as hot. my husband actually bought pounds of ice to put in the spa part to see if it would disperse. Um, no. We’re going to have to invest in sail cover or build a structure. I offered to change the existing deck into a splash pad where momma could have a chaise lounge and the water could spray over me. But, he mentioned something about thousands of dollars and it wouldn’t cool the pool anyway…

  12. Katie in MA

    There is NOTHING so delightful as your own children having just come back from Away. My kids leave on Thursday and I already miss them!

  13. Tracy

    Welcome kiddos…now let the summer begin!

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