I had a conversation with eight year old Caleb last night.
He's growing up.
We did not have a birds and the bees discussion. It's just that he is changing so much.
No more adorable, little-boy jammies at night. Those have been replaced by soccer shorts or more likely whatever he wore during the day. No need to change clothes OR wash your feet before bed.
He's no light-weight anymore and you'd better brace yourself when he comes running. I have to remind him to take it easy on me. I'm a girl. Ease up.
His come-backs and one-liners have evolved into pretty accurate and timely bits of eight year old wisdom. Sometimes I find myself asking for his opinion or explaining unsettling world events until I remember that we should instead be discussing cereal choices for Monday's grocery list.
He can make a new friend in less than 30 seconds and I tend to stick close to his side in unfamiliar and awkward social gatherings.When did that happen?
He speaks up at restaurants, church services, funerals and doctor's appointments. There's no hesitation. If he thinks it, he usually says it. It's mostly endearing and nets him a few more followers. Other times he gets the look from mom or dad.
In our house, bedtime is the best time to catch me horizontal....as in....not moving. Hunkered down. Done. I get up before daylight and honor that sacrifice by going to bed before daylight disappears.
Caleb climbed onto my bed excited for our plan to outsmart the heat at the pool the next day. In this heat wave you do one of two things: Stay inside the air conditioning or go outside IF there is lots of water nearby to immerse yourself in.
After he did a few somersaults over my back and totally ruined my crease-free covers and shot a few nerf darts at my forehead, he became suddenly silent. Head down. Little belly hanging out over his soccer shorts.
"But I can't swim."
"That's okay, buddy. You'll get there. You know it's always a ton of fun. You can use your water wings for the deep end." (gulp......weight limit on those babies is 55 pounds and embarrassment limit is 6 years).
"I'll never learn to swim. It's too hard. I might as well face it." (He's always been a tad dramatic and pessimistic. I'm not like that at all.
"You know what? (grasping for confidence where there is none) I think this is your year. Your summer. To learn to swim. I just feel it. You learned to ride a bike. It's the same thing, buddy. "
It was an epic mom speech. One that bought me some time.
We talked some more and he ended up laughing and shooting more darts my way before he left the room. He never mentioned it again.
This is important.
Plus it is tucked far enough away as to be just comfortably full of happy swimmers, instead of knee to knee with sagging diapered toddlers and frustrated, dramatic-in-the-worst-kind-of-way mothers, yelling useless threats at their charges and needing at least three more yards of material to cover up all that they possess.
I was unaware of his attempts at conquering this unlearned skill. My nose was in a book, counting on the lifeguard to perform a rescue if needed. Besides, it was a really good book and last night's discussion was neatly filed.
Two hours later I hear Caleb call for me.
"Mom, watch me! I think I'm swimming!"
He started his demo in the shallow end, sputtering and splashing all the waist-wading women. Then he moved beyond the rope towards the deep end, which is when I put the book down and stood up, in case the life guard was having an off day. I think ahead like that.
Soon he was swimming from three feet to five feet along the wall, just in case he really couldn't swim after all and needed to grab the side.
And within minutes he was jumping off the side into the deep, laughing, breathless, and shouting, "Why didn't anyone tell me my body would come back up automatically!"
He was so excited and completely exhausted. I had the life ring out at that point because he kept jumping and swimming and I was sure he was going to suddenly lose all muscle tone in the middle of the pool.
So I was right. It was his summer! And it's the beginning, not the end! Now I can read books at the pool guilt free! Such a great day.....