Thursday, 14 July 2011

Our Day at the Pool

Have you ever read "The Glass Castle" by Jeannette Walls?  Well, you need to!  It is her memoir of growing up with two very eccentric, self-absorbed parents, who essentially neglect their three children and force them to live in poverty, even though the family comes from wealth, for the "experience" of it all.  The book is amazing because Walls does not victimize herself or her siblings, but rather shows how her bizarre childhood empowered her and helped her to become the successful woman she is today.  Love it!

Wondering how this all ties into the shenanigans of 4 Websters and a Skov?  Well, you know Mr. Level-Headed is quite eccentric and very wealthy . . . tee hee!  I'll get to it in a minute.

Yesterday, Zoe had spent the night at her friends' place so it was just the boys and I.  We started off the day preparing for a huge video game sale, which quickly fell apart after the boys realized they really were not prepared to part with their beloved games.  Then we moved onto arts and crafts.  Avery made a paper plane, tied it to a string, and ran throughout the house with the plane trailing him.  Elliot decided to do some painting.  He grabbed the watercolours because "all serious painters use water colours, mom", and set out to explore his creative genius.

Not bad, eh?

It is titled "Man About to Fall to his Death and Meet a Sea Monster".  I love how all of Elliot's pictures involve death, blood, and sea monsters. If you are psychologist, please do not analyze this phenomena.  I really do not want to hear that my precious boy is destined to become a serial killer known as the Sea Monster.  You can keep that little tidbit of information to yourself . . . tee hee!

Anyhoo, after lunch we picked up Elliot's buddy and headed out to the Dreamland playground.  Poor Avery tried calling 3 of his friends, but no one was home.  This is my kids' FAVOURITE playground of all time, and they love hearing how my family, along with a plethora of other families whose kids attended Fairvale Elementary School, helped build it.  Or at least, I think they love to hear that story because I just keep telling it over and over again. 

While the boys chased each other through the mazes of wooden tunnels in one ultimate game of tag, I sat down to read Jeanette Walls' "Half Broke Horses".  I was pleased to learn that this book was all about her grandmother, Lily, who grew up in an equally dysfunctional family as her granddaughter, but also managed to become an independent, resourceful woman.  I was shocked as I read the opening chapter because it starts off with three young kids, the oldest being Lily and she was only 10 (Elliot's age), roaming a field in West Texas all alone when suddenly a flash flood is upon them.  Lily pulls her two siblings to a nearby tree and the three of them climb up into it, while a wall of water comes bearing down upon them. The water remains high throughout the night so these three little kids cling to the tree all night long, without sleeping, to make sure they do not slip off and drown.  CRAZY!!

Back to playground.

After the boys had chased each other to near exhaustion, we went for a swim at the Qplex, the new community pool just a ferry crossing away from our home.  As I stood on the edge of the pool with an entire league of suburban moms and an army of lifeguards diligently watching the shenanigans of a sea of children splashing and swimming, I had to laugh at how different this scenario was compared to those found in the tales of Jeanette Walls.   Although this style of over-protective parenting is all the rage these days, I was left wondering if in fact it was better for our children, or are we simply denying them empowering experiences, which would in turn develop resourcefulness and confidence?  Are we raising them to be timid and fearful of the world with our constant reminders of not to run and covering their little bodies with a shield of armour before they embark upon a deadly day at the pool.   You know the shield of armour I am talking about: sunscreen, sunhats, and lifejackets.

I don't know.

I wish I was more like those few parents, who could grab their book and find a nice shady spot to sit in while the kids swim and squeal, but I'm not.  I'm a hoverer.

But then again, if I hadn't been a hoverer, I would have missed these shots:

And I would have missed Avery's moment of facing his fear and being triumphant.

Phew! The sea monster didn't catch him this time . . . tee hee!

I love this photo!  You can almost hear him saying: "I did it. I actually did it!".

In the end, I don't know which parenting method is the best, but my gut is telling me to simply be who you are because you is exactly what your kids need.


  1. I was waiting for your explanation of wealth and eccentric but it never came.
    Mr. Level Headed

  2. I must confess that I am a little more of the "hands off" parent. It bugs me when I hear stories about families being asked to take down tree forts, because they are "too hazardous". I think that sometimes we don't let kids live life, and develop their own sense of self. No wonder so many kids are plugged in and tuned out, they aren't given a chance to live "for their own safety".
    But I agree with you, that you have to be your own parent.
    Also, even though you say you are a hoverer, I know your kids get to experience and explore life.
    The only thing that I don't like about my parenting style, is the "tsk tsk" I get from other parents.

  3. Jacquie, you are an awesome parent, and I agree with you that kids need to be able to experience life. I guess I should have clarified that I am only a hoverer in aquatic situations. Water scares me!
    As for the tsk, tsk(ing), I get it too, but, hey, we've got happy, healthy kids with giant personalities and that is proof enough that we are doing something right.
    By the way, I LOVED the birthday pics! Madilyn must have had a blast!