Academic Leigh Speaking

A professor, four kids, and a crash course in work/life balance

Growing up in the Water August 19, 2016

Well, I can safely say that Seamus is a pretty strong swimmer. We did the beach and the water park, and he more than handled it all. There was a clear sign at the end of the day that they were done (kicking each other under water where we couldn’t see them), but they held up.

Patrick and Nana and PopPop took Seamus and Gilbert to the boardwalk water park. I took Porter and Harlan to the zoo. The zoo was very pleasant, with lots more shade than I remember. Porter especially liked the ostriches, bears, and the turtles. He demanded more animals frequently. Now when asked “One or two?” he’s cottoned on to Two being more, so that’s a new favorite word. When we got back, I asked him what we saw. “Owl.” Now if you ask, Did you see ___? He says yes to everything, even things like elephants, which we did not see. Not quite a reliable witness yet.

At the waterpark, the boys went down a waterslide called Shotgun Falls, which drops you in a tank of water 10 feet deep from a 6 foot drop. I about had a heart attack thinking about Gilbert doing that. Luckily he was wearing a life vest. They liked the rope swing, lazy river, and lily pads. I went back to the water park with them after lunch, leaving the two little ones napping. It was crazy and nerve-wracking, but ultimately a lot of fun. Last year, Seamus was brave enough to try the diving board at my friend’s house (in Kentucky) and then to try boogie boarding in the waves. This year, he’s fearless. We did some waterslides with double tubes, and then we tried single tubes. Then we went for the racing mat slides. Hilarious. Patrick talked me into the Shotgun falls, and I tried it, but it’s not for me. I got a chlorine rinse for my sinuses and thank goodness I invested in the “no-move” mom suit this year….that’s all I have to say about that.

Then we tried the water slides where you go down head first on the mats. Holy moly. I went first because I was worried about Seamus not being able to swim the distance to get out, but after I got to the bottom and anxiously awaited the rest of my family, I was so nervous that Gilbert would come down crying. I caught air going down that slide. I was terrified, and I was pretty sure Gilbert would be too. That’s the only one they didn’t come down begging to do it again, but it’s also the only one the said was their favorite when we checked back in after dinner.

The beach, as a free waterpark, also ranks highly. Seamus and Gilbert were attacking the waves when we went. It helps that in NJ the shallow area goes on forever. We were past the break but the waves weren’t over their heads. They were diving into them (I think they learned this from Grandma’s sister on our Cape Cod trip) and doggy paddling through them. Even Gilbert. Porter was up with Patrick getting just enough waves to keep him cool and interested. Everytime one got him, he’d giggle, shake himself off, look around, and say more!

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