Days 5 and 6 and My Daughter Is A Mermaid

So far so good! I made it through a week of reduced Lexapro without killing myself or anyone else!

I thought it best, after what I’ve read, to reduce it in small increments, so I went from 10 mg to 7.5 mg. I’m trying to decide if I should go another week on 7.5 or try to go down tonight to 5 mg. I really don’t want to rush off and make myself psychotic in the process, but I also really want to GET OFF OF THIS CRAP.

Maybe I’ll go halvsies and do 10 days per reduced dose? A little more than a week, a little less than 2 weeks?

It might be best to err on the side of caution despite my desire to be done with it. Fall is coming; in 6 days it WILL be fall. Yesterday we drove through a park and noticed brown and yellow leaves beginning to carpet the grass. It filled me with absolute dread. This morning we woke up and downstairs was cold and when I checked the outside temp it was 61 degrees.

More dread.

What with all of this DREAD, it is definitely not a good idea to go speeding through the Get-Off-Lexapro program, because if I do and it backfires, I am up Shit Creek without a paddle.

Okay, thanks for your input, people. It’s been decided: 3 more days of 7.5 mg. Then we go down, down, down to 5. Pray. Pray for all of us.



On an absolutely AWESOME note, you may recall that I was stalking that swim team? You know, the one that is the 2nd best in the state in women’s swimming? And that I wanted Punksin to get on it.

Yesterday they held tryouts for the 10-and under age group. So, off we went at 7:30 AM, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed and, in my case, a fucking nervous wreck, so that Punksin could try out.

We were literally the 2nd ones there. The pool was still closed and no coaches were even there yet, that’s how early it was. But, a coach came, she opened the doors, and over the next 45 minutes the place got packed.

Then the head coach came, spoke to us about the team and how close-knit it was, and what a major commitment it would be for all of us, swimmers AND parents, to be involved.

I sat there crocheting through all of it. I needed something to do with my hands so that I wouldn’t bite my nails with the suspense.

Then, finally…it was time.

They called them out in age groups.

First, the 5-year olds. Whoever got admitted from this group would be in the Cubs, the group of swimmers that have JUST learned how to swim but really have no real sense of strokes.

Then it was time for the 6-year olds, who were pretty much in the same category as the 5’s, except for any exceptional swimmers who might be able to join the Junior Group, which comprised ages 6-9.

Okay, can I just make a TOTALLY unrelated comment here?

You always see people saying comprised OF. The United States is comprised OF 50 states. The meal was comprised OF 5 courses.


Something is not comprised OF something. Something COMPRISES something. The OF is already IN there and so is the IS. SO STOP FUCKING ADDING THEM. Comprise is a VERB. You do not need to add IS or OF. ALL OF THAT SHIT is already IN there.

Wrong: The United States is comprised OF 50 states.

Right: The United States COMPRISES 50 states.

Wrong: The Republican Party is comprised of assholes.

Right: The Republican Party COMPRISES assholes.

I know, I know…it sounds WRONG to you. That’s because you’ve seen, and heard, and SAID it incorrectly, for so long. And you will continue to see it and hear it incorrectly because other people don’t have a fabulous and incredible person like me to set them straight, but you DO!! So now that you know,  I will be so so happy for you and you will be THAT much less likely to get slapped by me when I get pissed off! That alone should count for something. That, and SPEAKING PROPERLY.

Okay, I’m hopping down from my Grammar Soapbox now. Where was I?

Yes, so there we are, and the kids are being called out by age-group and then we hear it.

8-year olds, come on down.

We hug Punksin and down the stairs she goes to the pool. We are sitting in an observation deck-like area where we can see the whole pool.

There are about 12 or so 8-year olds, and they head off to the far lanes of the pool. The coach who will be observing them talks to them a bit ahead of time, what she says I cannot hear but I just pray that my daughter is LISTENING, and next thing you know…

They jump in.

They will be swimming practice-style: one a few yards behind the other, swimming to the right of the lane so that swimmers coming back down the lane can pass on the left.

A girl in a blue bathing suit goes first in Punksin’s lane. After she’s gone a few yards, the coach yells “Next!”

And Punksin pushes off.

She’s doing freestyle, her best stroke.

I’ve put down the crocheting and am now standing, watching her.

She slices cleanly through the water. She takes her breath every 3rd stroke.

My little Pisces: a true fish in the water

I look at some of the other kids. Another girl lifts her head up out of the water facing forward instead of to the side, and is swimming like someone being chased by a shark: erratically, uncoordinated, and out of control. The boy in the next lane is really good, a point he will reinforce several minutes later when they do the butterfly.

I look back at Punksin. She is moving through the water. Her speed is not fast, nor is it slow. It is…measured.

She needs to go faster,” the Tech Guru says, standing behind me.

No she doesn’t,” I snap. I don’t want him pointing out anything that could possibly detract from her performance. As unreasonable as that is, because it’s not as though they can hear us, the truth is that the coaches are not, at this point, looking for speed. They’re looking for technique, and potential.

That, Punksin has in spades.

She makes it to the end.

Next is the backstroke. I sit there, regretting that I hadn’t gotten her in the pool during the week. Her backstroke can be good when she remembers to stretch, how to position her arm, and to keep her torso raised. But I’m afraid that with too much time off, she has forgotten.

She comes down the lane. I see her torso and legs lower than I’d like them to be, but she’s still moving. They don’t sink enough for her to have to stop. She makes it to the end. I’ve now completely demolished the nail on my right middle finger, biting it down to the quick.

Then, the coaches tell the kids that next will be the breaststroke.

Not all of the kids in Punksin’s group know the breaststroke. The ones who don’t know it are told to swim over to the side of the pool. Those who can, set off down the lane.

Punksin pushes off. Her breaststroke is better than I’ve seen it in a while, and I think that that week of Swim Tech camp may have helped her. Still, she needs to power forward more, push her body more, so that she can make fewer strokes. The stroke is hard enough as it is, and by not pushing herself farther forward with each stroke, she forces herself to make more strokes to get to the end of the pool. Still, she looks…good. If they can just get her to move farther with each stroke, she’ll be awesome, I think. I hope they see that too.

Then we come to the butterfly. As with the breaststroke, there are quite a few kids who don’t know it yet and they’re off to the side again. Punksin is not in this group. She knows how to do the butterfly. This and the breaststroke are the hardest strokes. Surely the fact that she can do them gives her an edge? I hope for this to be true.

That boy I’d seen previously is heading down the lane and he looks awesome. With each arm sweep out of the water, he surges forward. This is what I want Punksin to do, but she hasn’t mastered that part of it yet. She can do the arm movements, and in this too, I see improvement. Previously, by the time she got to the end of the lane her arms would be tired and would barely come out of the water. Now, she is able to lift them out all the way down the pool. The movement is not quite as LARGE as it needs to be, and she’s not powering forward the way she really needs to to make this stroke a success. But, the understanding of what she needs to be doing is there, there is improvement in her technique from what it was previously. The potential…is there.

Again, I hope that the coaches see this.

Finally, they’re asked to dive. I hadn’t even thought about diving, and now I regret not reminding her that she is a knife slicing into butter. We keep reminding her: hands together, feet together, until your body is IN the water. SLICE the water. Go in lean and in one piece.

She gets up on the board, and sets herself. Her little hands clutch the edge of the board, her head is tucked in, one foot forward with a toe gripping the edge, the other foot back.

I don’t know what it is about this position, but it is when she dives that Punksin looks the smallest to me. When she is in the water, she looks powerful and impressive, but when she is out, waiting to dive, she still looks…tiny to me, still my little baby girl, still small and vulnerable. Tiny and yet…so skilled. I am impressed and humbled by this little girl who is already a better swimmer than I am and who has so much ahead of her. She is only 8 years old, and yet…she is fearless, and accomplished, with so much more to come.

I am proud of her. No matter what happens here, I am proud of her.

She launches off, and with dismay I see her feet come apart before she even hits the water. Her father says later that her hands did too, that she began to spread them out as she went through the air. We sigh. This, like so much else, needs almost endless repetition for her to get muscle memory, so that she does it without thinking.

She is allowed to do whatever stroke she prefers once entering the pool, and she settles into her freestyle again. I love watching her do this. Although she does need to pick up speed if she is going to be competing, just watching her do it is a joy to me because she looks…like a professional.  If this is what she looks like now

It’s over. I go down to her with her towel and clothes and hug her. She looked great out there. She did her best, I know that, and that’s all we ever ask of her, that she give it her absolute BEST.

We go into the locker room and she asks about her dive. I’m honest but supportive and hopeful. It takes constant practice, I remind her. She’ll get there. We talk about the rest of her performance and I tell her what I thought about each stroke. In the end, I tell her that she looked better than I’ve seen her in a while, that although she still has improvements to make it’s obvious that she is getting better over time.

I tell her I am proud of her. Because I am. I really really am.

The coaches tell us that the results will be announced the following night on their website. I sigh. Patience has never been my strong suit. TWO WHOLE DAYS? I’ll stroke out by then!!

Between ourselves, her father and I assess her performance. I think her chances are damn good, but I am afraid to really admit it, as though doing so will jinx it. We look at the two training groups she could potentially fall into: the Juniors, ages 6-9, and the Bronze Group, ages 8-11. Of these two, the Bronze Group is more advanced and is really beginning to focus on competitive swimming. I think that this is where she belongs, but even if she makes it to Juniors, I will be happy. In either case, I have to wait a whole TWO DAYS. It is early Saturday morning, and we will not find out until Sunday night.


It is 2:15 on Saturday afternoon.

I check my emails looking for an email regarding an organic produce co-op I belong to.

Flashing in front of me, I see….CONGRATULATIONS.

The email is from a coach in the Aquatics Group.

At 1:50, a mere 4 1/2 hours after trying out, Punksin has been invited to join the team.

At the Bronze Level.

I am in the bathroom, and I start to scream.

Punksin, who is making herself a sandwich, runs out of the kitchen shouting “Are you okay? Are you okay?”

I hustle myself together and out of the bathroom and grab her in a bear hug, swinging her around. “YOU MADE IT! YOU MADE IT!” I scream.

Her eyes light up and she begins to squeal with excitement.

I have to respond immediately to the email to let them know if she will be accepting the invitation to join the team. In smugness, I think that they have reached out to their top choices immediately, and need to know if they’ll be coming so that they can see if they have room for their second-and third-tier choices. I mean, they said 2 days, and in less than 5 hours, we got the call. They must really want her, I think. They saw what we see.

I could be wrong, but I don’t think so, and more importantly, I don’t care. Right or wrong, the end result is…she made it.

I feel like a mom on Draft Day, or a mom waiting anxiously for college acceptance letters. I am proud of my girl. This team is far better than the one she was on. And now, instead of practicing twice a week, she’ll be practicing FOUR DAYS A WEEK. And eventually, competing. She cannot help but improve. They will take what we see, and they will mold it and streamline it into something both beautiful and fearsome.

Her future is so bright, she needs…

No, not sunglasses.




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Posted in The Fam | 5 Comments »

5 Responses to “Days 5 and 6 and My Daughter Is A Mermaid”

  1. City Girl says:

    That was niccce!! She is going to do well. and doesn’t it feel good to know other people recognize your child as the cream of the crop too? LOL. We’ll be looking for her in the Olympics pretty soon…

    • Leila says:

      Yeah, I’m totally puffing up my chest over here. LOL I’m so proud of her, and I guess…I look at her and see so much potential and I want to make sure she has every chance to achieve whatever that potential is. For a whole host of reasons, I feel as though my life is okay but that I could have done much more had certain things been different. I don’t want to make her live MY dreams, but I want her to have every opportunity and to be pushed to achieve HERS. And she actually does inspire me to go after certain things myself, things that are within my grasp to make happen even in my “old age”. LOL People give up and become settled in their lives, or disillusioned, and I’m trying really hard to hold on to the realization that the world doesn’t fall out of your grasp once you pass 30…you can still make things happen even if you’ve been sidetracked.

  2. City Girl says:

    Thank is great. Encouragement goes a long way with a kid. With encouragement like that they push harder because the bottom line is that they get satisfaction out of pleasing their parents. And you…never too old to take hold of your dreams either. I know if writing is one you will do good because you are an awesome writer. There is a way to download your whole blog and put it in a PDF documet in order that it was written for free and I have the link on my blog). I wish I could have a copy of your blog like that… I try to catch up but there is so much to read on here. Anyway…give the mermaid a charm bracelet and everytime she makes a swimming achievenment give her a dolphin charm or some other aquatic charm…just a thought

  3. TwoNuse says:

    In a coincidence, I read this post while watching my 5 year old at swimming class, one where she graduated from the beginning level to the, er, next level. We started her late, so she was in a group with 3 year olds. I have to keep reminding myself it isn’t a competition, and not to be discouraged that kids The Bean literally is head and shoulders above are better.


    • Leila says:

      5 years old is not late at ALL. You have to start whenever it’s right for you. My 5-year old is taking level 2 for what is now the third time, aaaaand…he’ll probably take it again if current progress is any indication. He’s been discouraged more than once, and of course sometimes I wish, for his sake, that he could pick it up as fast as his sister did, but then I remember that we actually started her with serious lessons at about age 6…before that it was more being comfortable in the water than learning real technique. So not only is he starting out younger and smaller, but…he’s just a different kid and he’ll pick it up at his own pace, and it’s not fair for me to want/expect him to pick it up quickly just because his sister is particularly skilled at it. Part of it, though, is feeling bad for him because he’s old enough now to KNOW that his sister is skilled at it, and of course he wants to be just as talented as she is and gets upset when he feels he is somehow “failing” at something she’s whizzed through. That’s why I also want him to find his own “thing”, something that his sister has not done at all, so that he’s not just following in her footsteps all the time and feeling he has to live up to what she’s accomplished. Don’t worry about your little girl. She’s out there learning, and that’s what matters, and if you can just keep at it until she’s a fairly proficient swimmer, she’ll have gained not just a recreational skill but an important and potentially life-saving one. Keep me posted!