- Hold breath underwater
- Float unassisted on his front
- Float unassisted on his back
- Kick 15ft with face in water
- Paddle 25ft on back
- Log roll unassisted. (? Exactly, but this has nothing to do with floating turds or branches apparently.)
- Swim 25ft on front with face in water
I'm very proud and am swiftly trying to get him into the next class up so he can master Breaststroke and Whip kicks. What is a 'whip' kick by the way? Totally selfishly, the better he can swim, the more I can sit by the pool watching and cheering him, rather than get in myself and be dive-bombed by him, his brother and the other 30 kids all enjoying the often freezing water.
Other summer activities so far have also included Pre-school camp. He came home clutching:
- A cardboard pizza (" We did cooking today Mummy!")
- A touch and feel textures book ("Look, this is as squishy as you Mummy.") Cheers!
- A 3D self portrait. (" I wasn't sure if I had a black hat Mummy, so I made it brown.") He has neither. Bless.
- A necklace. (" It matches my T-Shirt!") Ahh, a stylish man-accessory. I've taught him well.
We did 'Safety Town' mainly because it was only $45 for eight days and a mere bonus that he'd get to learn all about safety in the park, home, on the bus, road, in the car and stranger danger. He came out of each class waving certificates congratulating him that he can now:
- Call 911 in an emergency. When he wanted to practise this at home, I said we can only call that number if we were in danger or Mummy had collapsed from too much Merlot (joke). He asked, " Is not being able to find Boba Fett's Slave 1 spaceship an emergency?"
- Know his own phone number and address. Hmm. Not sure he totally deserves that certificate as clearly the teacher filled in his phone number for him and he can only write the numbers 4 and 5. Obviously we dont have a two digit phone number. But he can rattle off his address. Though he sings it like the bad rap his Mummy has taught him, to help him remember it. Hey, I live near Detroit - it's all about the music here.
- Spot poisons. He had a little stick with what looked like a hedgehog on it, that he ran around the house waving at the bleach, dish-soap, fly spray, mozzie repellant and.... Mummy's perfume. Charming.
- Stop, look and listen before he crosses the road. At last, he finally pays attention to traffic.
- Knows red means 'stop' and green means 'go'. This is all very well, except in Michigan you can turn right on some red lights. So now, when I do such a turn I have Mr Traffic Safety in the back, yelling, "But it was red Mummy, you can't go. No!" Plus they teach the kids safe ways to drive (come on, they're only 4 and 5). So now it's like driving with my Mum in the car; "Two hands on the wheel please!" Oh make an exception Officer.
They had a graduation ceremony at the end of camp. Yes, we are in America after all. It was actually very cute and all the kids from the two classes did songs with safety themes and demonstrations, like how to drop and roll if you're caught in a fire. He's very proud of his prowess at that maneouver. My video camera whirred and many snaps were taken and duly sent back to the grandparents in Europe.
No sooner was Safety Town over and we were madly cleaning house for the imminent arrival of Grandparents and Aunty from the UK.
The boys were mostly excited at the prospect of plane-spotting at the airport and raiding Nanna and Grandad's luggage for the much-hoped for arrival of a Millennium Falcon and an At-At. Yes, we're in full Star Wars obsessed mode. But the joy on their little faces when their rellies arrived was priceless.
With the family safely back home with us, I went into full Housewife/Short-order Cook/Entertainment Director mode and their two weeks with us passed in a happy blur of beach trips, ice cream and picnics in the park. We also managed a family en masse vacation to Northern Michigan, where despite them bringing over their pesky rainy English weather, we managed to enjoy lots of nature trails, boat trips, bug-hunting and the spectacular that is the 4th of July celebrations. No, we didn't wave our Union Jack. Thought that might be a tad inappropriate.
Having family to stay is always bittersweet. Sweet because obviously we miss them, but also they always bring a stash load of UK yummies for us to enjoy. This visit we got extra lucky because apart from the usual PG Tips teabags and Colgate Smiles toothpaste (I'm no fan of US fruity kids toothpaste) we got:
- Custard Creams (Bit like the white Oreos for you US readers)
- Birds Dream Topping (A de-lish kind of British Miracle Whip)
- Hula Hoops (Hoop shaped chips)
- Mint Club biscuits (Mint and chocolate cookie bars)
- Walkers French Fries, salt and vinegar flavour (Fry shaped chips) Him Downstairs has seriously hidden these under our bed, so the kids don't snaffle them!
- Minstrels (Chocolate candy - bit like a huge M&M)
- Revels (Little milk chocolates with different flavours inside like, orange, toffee, raisin, coffee. The orange ones are all mine. You hear?!)
- Mint Viscounts (Err, I love a bit of mint and dark chocolate in a cookie bar format.)
- Paracetamol (Like Advil. Does the best job for Menstrual cramps in my book.)
- Covonia cough medicine. (Looks like blacktop tar, but 'tis the best cough elixir I've ever found.)
- M&S Percy Pigs (Seriously the nicest chewy fruity candy in the world. Ever. Fact.)
- Cadbury's Buttons (Little disc shaped milk chocolates. A kid winner.)
So now our treat box is over-flowing and we shall be rationing them out until the next lot arrive.
The visit went well. Better than expected if I'm honest. I'm not the easiest of daughter-in-laws and one wrong step and I'm about to strike you off my Christmas card list. When I went back to England earlier this year, theirs was the house I was least looking forward to visiting. And whoops, I probably made that abundently clear. However, life is too short to hold grudges, especially when you only get to see your family for a fortnight once or twice (if you're lucky) a year. So, I shock off my niggles and welcomed them with a good daughter-in-law smile.
You could probably feel their relief all the way back in the UK!
Anyway, the boys thought three new playmates in the house was the best summer present ever and they duly set about completely exhausting their relatives. Nanna was heard to say she needed another holiday after spending two weeks running round being Luke Skywalker or Obi-Wan on demand.
But with them now safely back in England, despite their horrific 7 hour delay at Detroit airport(It's no Heathrow. Once you've done one gift shop and bar, you've kind of done them all. But hey, they didn't lose their luggage) we can finally relax and enjoy the rest of a schedule-free summer.
Of course, next week, the boys will have driven me mad and they'll be back in summer classes and day camps, but for now, I'll just try and live the Stay-at-home and play with my children 24/7 dream. Cue TV on for them and bottle of wine opening and eyes down for a dose of Hello magazine for me!
No, summer's not over. It's only just begun....