Tuesday, August 30, 2011

How Ainsleigh has exceeded my expectations, in three parts.

The last three weeks have been a little intense as I've graduated from stay-at-home-mom to mom-behind-the-steering-wheel. Our Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays have consisted of me picking the kids up from school at 4:10ish (when they get to the car) and driving immediately to one of our rec centers so Ainsleigh can change into her swimsuit, snap on a cap and her goggles, and make sure she's in the pool by 4:30, swimming laps for the next hour.

I wasn't sure how it would go, and was surprised when we not only made it in time, but actually had fun doing it! There were a few days when I had about 47 other things to do when she would say, "You can just drop me off and I can do it myself." What? Open the door? Show your card? Walk to the locker room? CHANGE? Get yourself into the pool?!?! Turns out, she's more capable than I've known. This is both exciting and unsettling.

The Drill Academy is designed to train kids for swim team or keep them in shape in the off-season. Ainsleigh was a little nervous at first because she heard there was a "swim test." But after the two kids ahead of her didn't make it, she bravely blazed up and down the lane like a champ. A mom next to me said, "She has a beautiful stroke," as Ainsleigh swam the freestyle portion of her test. I have to agree.

I know it wasn't easy (hello - swimming laps for an hour!), but I can already see so much improvement in her form. She would emerge from the pool exhausted, but with just enough energy to come home, shower, do homework, eat dinner and go to bed. She was tired, but she was also loving it.

Last week, on the final Friday of the session, they had "time trials." They would pick four kids at a time from the same level, and have them race. Ainsleigh hasn't braved the blocks yet (and it's actually pretty amusing to watch the number of kids who belly-flop off those things), but she stood on the side and when a coach blew the whistle, in she...fell?...along with the two boys who were at least a head taller than her, and a girl who was also taller than her. But there was my girl, arms and legs powering down the lane and by the time she finished, she was half a body length ahead of the other girl and more than a body length ahead of the boys. As she got out of the pool, she turned her beaming face toward me and motioned me over (parents have to watch from a designated area far from the swimmers/coaches - ha) where she bounced up and down and giddily squealed her time.

And they gave her a medal! It has been a long time since she was involved with something that gave her a physical representation of an accomplishment. On to the next level, then! We'll alternate sessions, to avoid burnout, but I'm excited for her to have something that is all hers.

The other thing that had me laughing behind my hand was when Ainsleigh came home from school and declared, "My Colorado history test is this week, so I need to study!" Say what? Study? I was further baffled when she sat down and began cutting up a piece of paper, "I have to make flashcards." WHAT? I told her my dad would be so proud. The funny thing was that she made all the flashcards, but clearly knew all the answers already. But I have to applaud the teacher who really drilled into them effective study techniques.

And lastly, this girl is actually reading on her own. Some people may say, "Well duh, she's 9." But they have obviously never dealt with someone with ADHD, so I ignore them. Over the summer we picked out a bunch of books to try to figure out what she might be interested in. We set a goal that she would read 3 books, but checked out 6. And that amazing Ainsleigh read all 6. And then asked for more. We still have homework and I read aloud to them, but she relishes the 20-30 minutes I let her keep her light (when the other kids are in bed) and read on her own.

Dang, I really like this girl.


wanda said...

I can't wait to see her swim! (I always loved the belly flops into the water at the beginning of races!) Swimming is such a great sport to participate in because not only do you contribute to a team, but you can race against your own time and feel good about your improvements. Hurray for Ainsleigh.

PaloAltoCougar said...

Flash cards? You're right, my eyes have become generous with moisture at the thought. Imagine my joy yesterday morning when your little brother told us that on his flight to NYC he was going to study the 700 (that's right, 700) flashcards he had made for himself in the course of his Mandarin studies. My life has not been in vain.

laura said...

Seeseeeee! I can't believe she's so big. I'm totally with you on the whole, "Wait, you can do that by yourself?" thing. Good for her.s

Angie said...

That's AWESOME!!!! She should be proud of herself.