Posts Tagged ‘La Petite Bailene’

Hello Monday

April 14, 2015

Let’s be friends.

I wrote that this morning as I was sitting and thinking about what my day would look like, how it would go, where I would go, what I would do, and then further, how I was going to be.

Happy.

That was my choice.

Happy is a choice.

Sometimes happy happens all on its own and that is lovely and surprising and I am always grateful for it.

Then there are other times, Monday’s, when I have to put myself in that mode and get happy.

I put my hair in pony tails.

I wore some electric blue and some purple.

I stuck a couple of big purple and teal flowers in my hair.

And I did my make up to match–shimmery purple glitter on the whole lid complimented with some teal eyeliner set off by a black winged cats eye and two layers of black water proof mascara.

Waterproofing.

I should have known.

I think I was subconsciously telling myself, but i didn’t hear it.

I was busy getting happy and doing my writing in my pink glitter notebook and thinking I should make a run on Flax and pick up a notebook and that I needed some new stickers, I’m almost out and what could I do to guarantee I would continue bright and upbeat and not let Monday have its way with me.

“Swimming, swimming, we’re going swimming,” the mom was singing to the boys when I walked in this morning.

“Fuck! Fuck! Fuck!” I whispered under my breath.

Of course.

It was a family swim day.

Spring Break you’re going to kill me.

But, I put myself in the happy place, breathe and pray, and got into it.

“Carmen? Carmen! Carmen!”  The oldest came hustling down the stairs and ran into the kitchen where I was putting together stacks of snacks for the trip to the pool and back.

Swimming makes for hungry little boys.

“You’re here!” He hugged me, “it’s so good to see you, I missed you!”

I missed you too, my sweet guy.

I picked him up and gave him a big squeeze.

“Sometimes you hug so hard I think it’s going to hurt,” he told me, “but it never does.”

I felt a small hand reach inside my heart and squeeze it.

These kids get me.

I have thought before when transitioning to a new family from another that I wouldn’t love the kids as much or there would be differences and I wouldn’t be accepted or, whatever it was, that there wasn’t enough love in me to go out to another child.

And yet.

There always is.

There are times when I have a moment with the little guy and he’s my favorite and the best and wouldn’t trade him in for millions.

Then the oldest does something like hug me and kiss my face and ask me to sit by him and write out “a very secret story that only you and I share,” and he snuggles into me while dictating the words to the secret story, so secret that I can’t even look, and then, yes, he is my favorite.

The best.

The most awesome.

Then I see my little Junebug and Charlie Reno squished up on the top bunk of Charlie’s bed–my screen saver on my phone, Junie’s eyes wide, saucer like, glowing like love lamps and my heart squishes and she is it, oh goodness, so much it breaks me in half and then in half and in half again, times infinity and beyond.

“My favorite number is 20 hundred plus infinity,” the older one informed me out of the blue.

Yeah.

Like that.

Love it doesn’t wear out or go away or get smaller, it just grows, and like a flower forever blooming it only grows sweeter and better even when the person is not close to me or gone another way.

I have this note that a dear friend, who is currently not talking to me, but that’s another story, wrote me this past year about how much I inspire him and that I will never understand how much and that I have loved him more than he deserves and that for that he will always love me more than I will know.

And another note, on two yellow stickies about me on my playa bike and how she thinks of me with love, and it accompanied a necklace sent from my best friend in Wisconsin.

Then there’s the photograph of me and my darling girl friend, who takes a lot of random ass, I’m freaking out, need to talk me down from the ledge moments, of her and I doing the tourist photograph from Alcatraz.

I have postcards and note cards and “love letters” all over my fridge.

I have the most amazing print from a friend who signs it “Love you Carmen.”

And I know she does.

And I love her.

Love.

It’s so nice.

And it’s a good thing to remember when the two and 3/4 year old boy, half-naked, then completely naked, launches into the longest temper tantrum I have ever experienced.

Second only in severity to the one he threw in the bathroom at Mission Playground.

This one happened at La Petite Bailene, in the locker room, that space that is the echo chamber to end all echo chambers, a locker room.

The screams.

It was horror.

He lost it.

Lost it.

Lost it.

The tantrum was prefaced by him not wanting to get out of the pool, which is so amazing, a few weeks ago he was adamantly against the pool and I remember telling the mom that it would change, patience and practice and gentle repetition and before you know it, he will love the pool.

He loves it so much that when the family swim was over, and my eye makeup had been dashed and sprayed and doused in water and he was swimming with nanny the raccoon, he wouldn’t get out.

And he didn’t have a choice.

Open swim was over.

Try telling that to a stubborn child who has his heart set on swimming and all the wonder of it.

Poor baby.

The mom and I managed, the older brother managed, the snickering of the German mom changing her small children out of their co-ordinated racer back swimsuits in the corner, I could have done without, but you know, what ever, tantrums happen and one day you’ll get yours lady.

The mom got him out of his swim suit and wet trunks, but getting him into clothes was impossible.

Executive decision time, out to the car naked, but he pulled the one trick out of the bag to get back into the swimming pool facility.

He stopped wailing and in the calmest voice ever, said, “I have to pee.”

Oh good gravy.

Kid.

You are killing me.

I looked at the mom, “I’ll do it, give me his clothes,” I ran him back inside, got him in a stall, he tried to escape, I knew he wanted back to the pool and the tantrum exploded again.

Mad little naked monkey.

I did eventually get him changed and dressed and out the door and into the car seat and back home and he napped and then the world became a much quieter place, but for a moment, I had the Monday blues.

Oh yes I did.

Then the day ended and he sat in my lap and snuggled and said, “please, oh please, eat your food,” he likes my beans and rice dishes.

He curled up with his stuffed cat in my chair and ate beans and rice and I fed his brother and we did bath time and it was all good.

Love.

It doesn’t go away when things get hard or screaming happens, all the emotions, all the big feels, they are just a part of the journey.

And even though Monday was not quite as happy as I had planned it to be.

It was still full and wonderful even when it was tough and heartrending.

That might be the best definition for love I have.

And I can always use a little more.

Or a lot more.

Like.

20 hundred plus infinity.

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I Made It!

April 11, 2015

At one point, as I looked out over the bay, Alcatraz sitting like a rough hewn jewel in the blue waters of the bay, I thought, how am I going to get through this day?

So much stuff.

It was jam-packed.

And yeah, of course I remembered we were going swimming today and did I have my swimsuit.

Oh fuck.

I actually thought that swimming was going to be earlier this week, open family swim at La Petite Bailene in the Presidio.

No.

Swimming was for today.

Ack.

I mean, yay!

Let’s go!

Of course it was the day I was wearing kohl eyeliner.

I never wear kohl eyeliner.

Ok.

I obviously did today, but 28 out of 30 days in the month, I’m not wearing kohl.

Yes.

I do wear eyeliner, I can hear some of my close girl friends ahem’ing as they read this, I wear the make up folks, that is part of the Auntie Bubba package.

There’s going to be make up.

There’s going to be glitter.

There’s going to be tattoos and funky hair.

I’m going into my colorist in two weeks.

Can you say excited?

I am.

Last time I went in and got colored up it was shades of violet and purple with some deep indigo and hot pink.

Not that this time.

Although, to tell the truth I have been flirting with a number of different ideas.

I’ll probably get some blonde highlights.

I know, how pedestrian of me.

I’m loving the wild, long, curly, California beachy hair mess I have going on.

Most of the time.

I knew it was going to be a pain in the ass today when in attempting to secure all the things to go to the pool–bag of snacks/lunch (sunflower butter sandwiches with marmalade, strawberries, bananas, string cheese, apricots, Joe’s O’s, mandarin’s), bag of towels, swim diaper, swim trunks, epi pens (peanut allergies for one of the boys means always have epi pens, Croc’s, extra pants (potty training is happening), socks, diaper pad in case potty training is epic fail, sunblock (because before we get to the pool we’re going to run around on the beach at Crissy Field), hats, sweat shirts (because it’s San Francisco and you never know), I realized I didn’t have a hair tie for my hair.

Great.

Kohl eyeliner and no hair elastic.

I am screwed.

But at least I have my swim suit.

I borrowed a hair tie from the mom and peeled out of my leggings.

“You’re wearing Meow Meow pants!” The little guy said this morning and took his stuffed cat and kissed me with it (I wore my leopard print leggings into work).

I do love this bug, he is just the bomb.

Except when he is tired or hungry, then watch out.

Things will fly.

Stuffed cats being the least likely to cause injury.

I’m not entirely sure what he did to me today in the pool, but I got walloped at one point and I have a tender pinky finger, it’s got a bruise from some sort of little boy rambunctiousness.

Before I have even been at work twenty minutes I have secured the swim package and the snacks and threw a cup of reheated coffee down my gullet and I’m gearing up to get in the pool and smudge the make up and yeah, let’s do family swim.

And play at the beach.

Shit.

Wasn’t expecting that one, but ok, I can roll with it.

And oh, there’s a play date at three p.m. in Dolores Park too.

Ack.

I got uptight in my body and I could feel myself slipping out of the moment, the serene blue of the water, the sky, the sun, the tops of the trees feathering out like umbrella pines in Italy cascading through the hills winding down the road in the Presidio.

I breathed.

I’ll get through it one moment at a time.

It was a lot.

It was too much.

Mom agreed.

We got through it.

And decided no more play dates on days where there is swimming.

There’s a lot of activities happening right now.

Spring Break.

Not for me.

That’s for sure.

I just rubbed my face and smelled chlorine.

Ah.

I love the smell of chlorine.

Swimming saved my life when I was in high school and I always have such a fondness for being in a pool.

There will be plenty of opportunity for me to be in the pool next week, family swim is planned for at least two of the days and there’s talk of exploring the Mission Bay UCSF Campus.  The family may get a membership there.

Please oh please.

I love that pool.

The outdoor pool can be a little chilly sometimes, but the facility is great, and they have an indoor pool too.

I miss swimming laps.

The mom mentioned being happy she skipped the gym today, she decided last-minute that there was too much happening.

I nodded in agreement.

“You probably don’t approve of the gym, do you, you aren’t really a gym person are you?” She asked as we crested over the hills and toward the Marina.

“Uh, no, I would go to the gym,” I said, without much thought behind it, “it’s just not a luxury I can afford,” I finished.

I wasn’t thinking much and continued, “I mean, rent is two paychecks out of the month, I can’t really spare a membership at a gym, I’d go in a heart beat, though, take a yoga class, go…”

I stopped.

“San Francisco is so expensive to live in,” the mom glossed over the awkward pause and we continued forward.

I wasn’t telling my employer I don’t make enough, but I think it came out sounding that way.

And in some ways, I do make less than I was making before, I was working all under the table though and not declaring anything.

I didn’t have insurance, I was working for three different families, and though they were all generous in different ways, I didn’t have benefits.

I do at this job.

“I know today was a lot,” the mom said as we sat watching the boys on their play date in Dolores Park, “I just want you to know how much I appreciate all the things you did today and dinner is being delivered to the house, Tacolicious, we got you a Marina Girl salad with chicken.”

Thanks mom.

I am taken care of and I do have exactly what I need.

And I made it through the day.

One chlorine scented moment at a time.

And now it’s the weekend.

Yes.

It’s Not The Woman In Your Life

November 4, 2014

It’s the life in your woman.

The life in your woman.

I am one lively woman right now.

Just got off a brisk, oh its almost time for more layers, bicycle ride down Irving.

It is November.

Although, a lovely November, warm, I mean yesterday I was in flip-flops most of the day.

It was a bit of a manic day for me, not intentionally, not that I was looking for mania, it just struck, as it does at times, on a Monday.

The boys were just super high energy with me today and I had to step it up to keep up.

There was also some sugar involved, which I had completely forgotten about, and when I asked one of the boys who had slipped them the caffeine pills it struck me, that’s exactly what’s going on, too much of something–the  special cookie treat at school when the mom and I picked up the eldest to head to swimming.

The two-year old was really affected and a bit of a handful.

The last few hours of the day went by so fast I could barely catch my breath, in fact, a few times I asked the boys to pause and take big deep breaths.

I think I was telling myself to pause and take really big, deep breaths, I needed to slow down.

I did get them to settle down when I challenged them to tongue twisters.

The eldest boy got completely caught up in rubber, baby, buggy bumpers.

The youngest just winged around the room like a whirling dervish and I am still amazed that I got out alive.

Monday’s are my longest, busiest day.

I get there early for the family and have the youngest quite a bit before nap time, there’s always lots to do for food prep and errands and children’s laundry, and there’s the swimming in the afternoon, which precipitates a lot of prep to get out the door, to the school, to pick up the four-year old, navigate through San Francisco traffic from the Mission to the Presidio, get all the gear, and the boys, and the bags into La Petite Bailene, then changed, then to class, then out of the pool, showers, changed back into clothes, back into the car, and fed with snacks and milk, then back to the house for dinner and baths.

I am breathless writing about it.

Fortunate for me, swimming only happens once a week.

It’s a big deal, and the classes are only a half hour-long.

It’s a humongous amount of work for a half hour class, but the boys love it, and truth be told, I am a little envious.

I miss swimming myself.

Not sure when I would get myself into a pool, but there it is again, a longing to swim.

Though not the longing to pack up all the gear, the washing the hair, the in and out of the pool, the getting back and forth.

It’s not the swimming that is exhausting, although it can be, it’s the deal of doing it.

Now that I am back on the scooter, one payment left!  I might reconsider going to a pool again.  There’s a YMCA close to Stonestown that I could hop into and the membership looks pretty reasonable.

It might be nice to hop in once in a while on the weekends.

I am feeling more and more in my body since I have been back on my bicycle for the last six weeks.

The ankle is holding up and though still has a twinge or two of pain or a bit of stiffness, it’s healing.

Tomorrow marks five months since I had the accident and it really does appear that it will be the full six months of recovery the doctor told me.

Those doctors, they know their stuff.

I find it hilarious that I would even question someone who has more knowledge of something than I do, but I do it all the time without even realizing it.

Maybe you don’t want to try that, maybe you should pause, maybe you could try something else, maybe you don’t have that right.

Nah.

I got this.

I got nothing.

I do, at least, have an aggregate of experiences which seem to be pointing me in a general direction and that’s nice.

Still a struggle, and the crazy, well it leaks out.

But I have such an awesome support network of women that I was able to get some perspective today from a friend and I feel like we both talked each other down from mutual ledges in regards to basically the same thing.

Fear.

Fear of fucking it up, mainly.

Fucking what up?

EVERYTHING.

As though I am just that all-powerful.

I can get that thought stuck in my head and be going round and round with something and then someone says, “hey call somebody, ask how they are doing,” and what do you know, I feel better.

Life is really lovely and I don’t have answers to anything.

I do have experience, but I tell you, things are constantly a surprise, I should think by this point that I would not be surprised, but life sneaks up and says boo and whoa, what just happened?

Life.

Just life.

And I am so over awed that I get to be a part of it.

I mean really.

I live in San Francisco.

I am surrounded by the most beautiful city, landscape, the ocean is out my back door, I mean, come on, who rides along the Pacific Ocean, Great Highway, to go grocery shopping?

I do.

Ha.

I also ride through Golden Gate Park, I work on one of the prettiest blocks in the Mission, the house I am in is full of light and art, I am surrounded be beauty.

And I am beauty too.

I get to live this scrumptious life.

It’s not perfect, I am not perfect.

But it is perfection.

I am perfectly imperfect.

Learning again and again how to shift my perspective, how to show up, how to walk through fear, how to surrender, how to be more authentic.

How to leap tall buildings in a single bound.

I jest.

But that’s what it feels like sometimes.

Just the day-to-day living can be a leap of utter faith.

Good thing I have  a lot of it.

Faith, that is.

Wet Behind the Ears

October 14, 2014

I was in the pool today for the first time in over a year.

I went to La Petite Bailene in the Presidio today with my charges and their mom and got in the pool with one of the boys for his swimming lesson.

My how things have changed.

I taught swimming lessons when I was in high school.

It was NOT La Petite Bailene.

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with the facility, in fact, I was sort of blown away by the entire set up of it.

They have all the bells and whistles.

And when the little guy got upset, who wouldn’t get upset, suddenly in a new place with a new teacher and a new environment that even for an adult was really stimulating, there was suddenly a lifeguard pool side calling out his name and blowing bubbles down on him like some magic pixie fairy.

God damn.

I did not grow up on swimming lessons like this.

In fact, I cannot remember not being able to swim.

I was just tossed into the water.

I was a water baby.

My mom did say her heart dropped out of her mouth when I was just dropped into the water the first time by the instructor, but then I popped back up and paddle about.

Babies have an innate floating ability until about 4-6 months.

Infants can be taught how to swim.

The phase does pass and then there’s all sorts of techniques to help teach kids how.

I was blown away by all the stuff they had.

The pool in DeForest was a great pool and it was always a refuge for me when I was there, but it did not have the bells and whistles of La Petite Bailene.

I just pretended I did not know what I was doing and let the instructor guide me through the class.

It was fun being a “novice.”

I was completely at ease, although my charge was not so much, clinging and upset, but by the end we did coax a high-five out of him and I suspect that given a few more times in the water, he will get excited to be swimming and having a blast.

I was looking over the posters in the lobby of the facility and all the classes offered and I thought, this is a fucking racket.

There is no way it should take this long to teach a kid how to swim.

No way.

But then I reflected on the nature of the classes and the availability of pool time that most of the kids get and it’s just not the same for a city kid like it was for me in high school.

We were always in the water and I was always teaching.

I think we also ran three-week sessions where the kids would come in every other day or every day and they got the bulk of the learning down.

The lessons at this facility are only offered once a week.

I don’t think most folks can swing more than that out of a busy family schedule.

It’s a lot to get to the pool.

But it was a fun distraction and a great way to pass a large chunk of the day.

I didn’t mind driving cross the town to get to the class.

It was nice to sit and be still for a minute and see the city from the seat of a car instead of the seat of my bicycle.

My legs got a work out yesterday and today and I am feeling it.

So a nice sit in a car seat as a passenger was a treat.

A treat I will get once a week for the next three months–we are signed up!

And it does make the day go by super quick.

The boys were hungry for dinner when we got back and after unloading them, feeding dinner, and doing bath time, it was all the sudden time to go.

I did not get the typical break in my day as it was Columbus Day and school was out, so I had both the boys, but I did not mind, as I said, the day passed quickly and the sitting in the car did feel like a break, it’s a luxury to sit that long when one is a nanny.

It was nice, too, to be in a pool.

I was quite tempted to dive around myself and cavort a little, but there was no opportunity for that with my charge, I think there will be once he has a little more time, but it did make me think that it wouldn’t be a bad idea to go swimming once in a while for myself.

Not open ocean swimming like I have talked about, I don’t think I want to work that hard right now, but in a pool would be nice.

There’s a couple of pools in the Mission and the one at 19th between Valencia and Guerrero has lap swim.  Maybe the next time I am in the park I will check it out, see if there’s a time that makes sense for me to do some lap swimming.

Just a thought.

I have plenty going on in my life as it is.

Trying to date.

Doing the deal.

Living life.

Writing.

I forget the time commitment I have to do the writing and I do it every day, which is why I probably forget that it too eats a good portion of time.

Time that I do not resent or regret, it makes life for me better, my therapy, the pen and the paper, my outlet, the blog, my connection to something outside myself which seems to speak to me through the writing here.

I don’t necessarily have to cram in more stuff.

Unless it’s fun.

I was told tonight to do one fun thing a week.

Swimming could be construed as fun, now that I think of it.

Or going on a date.

That’s supposed to be fun right?

I’m just going to leap into the deep end and find out.

I might even make a date for this weekend.

Get my fun on.

Paddle about and try to keep my head above water.


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