Sunday, February 3, 2013

Sea Monster vs. Happy Barnacle. {A Mostly Guest Post}

Note from Megan: Matt and Ellie are taking a swim class.  I assigned Matt the all important job of blogging about the class.  He dutifully wrote his post, and asked me to accompany the rest of my little family for swim class #2, both to assist Ellie and to witness the Sea Monster myself, perhaps snapping a photo in the process.  My update follows Matt's account of swim class #1.

From Matt:

Ellie the Sea Monster

Last weekend Ellie and I had our first “Daddy and Me” swim class.  I used to think my daughter was born for the water.  We first introduced her to the pool when she was about four months old and as long as the water was warm she was happy.

Summer 2011.
Summer 2012.

What the heck happened since then?

Megan thinks I’m a sucker for agreeing insisting that we take this class.  After all, basic water safety is an important skill for a toddler to learn.  It all started in early December when I decided to stalk the county website one morning to register online.  The site nearly crashed at 7:57 am from the spike in internet traffic from people waiting for classes to open up at 8:00 am.

My lovely wife is laughing now because she neglected to tell me our daughter is a sea monster.  Our child is the amalgamation of the deadliest sea creatures of lore in a cute one-piece swimsuit.  This is an account of my trials and tribulations with this creature.


In the movies, Godzilla decimated New York and Tokyo.  Ellie unleashed her fury on the beaches of Virginia and southern California, chasing seagulls at high rates of speed, throwing sand, and trying to steal nearby sunbathers’ flip flops.  Her most recent target was the locker rooms of our local public pool.

I should have realized that changing Ellie into a swimsuit would take a village but I got cocky and I thought I could go this alone.  Big mistake.  Wrestling this adorable and hyperflexible creature into a swimsuit is like trying to coax a greased pig into a burlap sack.  On one of our trips to the pool she wet herself in protest.

The Siren

In The Odyssey Homer wrote about the Sirens, who used their beautiful songs to lure seamen to their death by crashing their ships upon the rocks.  Ellie has similar powers, and drew in the other families in the class by waving, blowing kisses, and saying “hi” over and over again in a doll-like sing-song tone.  She giggled as the group started to sing “The Wheels on the Bus” and splashed playfully.  When we moved on to blowing bubbles and kicking, however, her chorus became an actual siren fit for hurricane evacuation.  If Ellie is seeking future employment, maybe she could help the fire department.


About halfway through the class our beautiful mermaid changed into the fearful Kraken, a giant squid that envelopes and sinks ships.  I think Tennyson wrote his poem about my daughter.  Swimming face first and jumping into the water from the pool deck were definitely not in the cards as this little gem grew six more arms and wrapped herself around my torso in terror.  The more I tried to pull her away, the tighter she wrapped her crushing tentacles around me.

The Barnacle

When the class ended, the monster retreated back into the deep and all that was left was a soggy barnacle affixed to my neck and chest.  Ellie was DONE.  The instructor was right, 30 minutes was plenty.  I carefully peeled her off and wrapped her in her terry cloth robe.  Wrestling her back into her street clothes was much easier.

When we got home she slept for three hours.

I slept for two.

February, 2013.

It's Megan again, and I'm back with my thoughts after class #2:  Since Ellie decided to fall asleep right before church, causing us to miss the service, we figured she'd be well-rested.  She squealed with delight on the pool deck.  She practiced walking and applauded for herself.  When the moment of truth arrived, we walked into the pool and Ellie began to splash with a smile on her face.  

She participated in singing and splashing games.  She "swam" to catch the balls floating in the water.  She smiled and waved at other kids and parents.  She laughed.  This surely was not the same child my husband described to me last week!

Ellie demonstrated exceptional giftedness in getting out of the pool.  Despite the swim instructor's guidance to get out "hand hand knee knee," my flexible daughter grabbed the edge, swung her right foot up to the pool deck so it was next to her ear, and used her superhuman upper body strength to pull her 20.5 pounds of power onto the deck.  She was motivated by a rubber ducky.

Aside from jumping into the pool and floating on her back, Ellie met every task with a smile.  Granted, she acted a bit like a barnacle, grabbing onto Matt and I for dear life, but she was a happy little barnacle.

I cannot wait to see what next week will bring.

Swim on, little barnacle!

P.S. For those wondering if Ellie was motivated by her new pet fish, the answer is "maybe."  She sure loves her fish, and she thoughtfully named him "Fish."
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  1. What a great story! I love that this was a collaboration. Maybe Ellie was just trying to get lots of attention from her Daddy!

  2. This cracked me up! I feel like it's one of those "she's lucky she's cute!" moments. Cute little sea monster! Also, bonus points (or deductions?) to Ellie for making Matt look like a total liar in front of mommy!

  3. Great accounting on the sea monster, Matt. Loved reading about your newest adventure. There really is never a dull moment with a child. Just when you think you have them figured out they do the opposite. And grandchildren are a whole different adventure.

  4. Awesome! And hilarious! Great descriptions of your little monster. Cora has never done real swimming lessons, but visits the pool very often. I kind of let her take the lead and her interests vary widely. However, just today she couldn't stop herself from exhibited the same flexibility in getting out of the pool. But I think her 21 lbs of bulk must be a lot heavier than Ellie's 10.5. (Either that or her arms still need work.) She was able to manage it, though!


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