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Anika Stretches.

August 17, 2011

This summer has been amazing for Anika. I know that I get to rant and rave about Sam on a semi-regular basis around these parts – and it makes sense because a month for Sam still usually represents a pretty big quantum leap in terms of what he can do.

But I looked at my girl the other day and realized that good gravy, she is totally growing up.

Yep, that’s Ani. With a dog. She’s totally scared of dogs. Except not anymore apparently. (Also: not our dog.)

She spent two weeks this summer at dance camp. (I really sincerely believe that the words ‘dance camp’ should be written more like D!A!N!C!E! C!A!M!P! with some glittery flashing lights around it, but WordPress doesn’t HAVE a font like that, so we’ll leave it for now).

I’d originally signed her up for a week…and she ended up loving it so much that they asked me if she could maybe come back for a second week. I was so completely charmed by a) how happy she was and b) how easy it was to get grocery shopping done with her at camp in the mornings that I agreed in a heartbeat.

She had a great time both weeks – and improved tremendously I think. She’d never taken tap or jazz before, and the two weeks focused on all three types of dance – tap, jazz, and ballet. Each Friday they did a little performance where they showed off what they’d learned.

Here she is, showing off her stomp stomp clap claps (I believe that is the technical term) in her tap shoes.

Yeah, she totally hates it.

Incidentally, that was the costume from her recital when she was three. Fancy! She also learned how to do proper toe-to-knee jazz skips. (Again with the technical terms! I know!)

One of the fun parts about camp was that each day was a “theme” day – they’d give us a list at the beginning of the week and we’d have to come up with something or other to dress them up with. On “L” day she decided to go as a ladybug. Which was fine, except that I had almost no warning. Never let it be said that I cannot improvise well with a sharpie and some red fabric scraps.

Her performance during Week 2 showed noticeable improvement – she’d worked hard and it showed. She was more solid and confident in her tap shoes especially.

I am really proud of her – she worked hard and she was so enthusiastic about it – every day she was up and ready to go; she didn’t complain at all and she spent most afternoons showing off what she’d learned. It made it really fun for all of us.

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The biggest and most amazing stretch for Anika this summer has been her swimming. In the spring we signed her up for swimming lessons – she was in Preschool B (whatever that means) and it was…only okay. I mean, she did fine really. Her instructor was lovely but a bit quiet and young. She wasn’t quite experienced enough to realize that Anika needed a kick occasionally to actually try something. Anika would pull a very dramatic “But I can’t DO it!” *swoon*, and the instructor would basically shrug and say “okay” and move on to the next kid. By the end of the swimming lessons Anika had actually picked up the pace a bit – she did everything she needed to pass except demonstrate that she could blow bubbles for 5 seconds.

So her instructor didn’t pass her. And good for her I say – if Ani didn’t do what she needed to do, then great! Don’t pass her. (I want to be clear on this point – I think the instructor did a really fine job; I am not faulting her for a second. I think, as it happens, that my particular kid needed someone a bit more pushy – but that really doesn’t matter.)

As the summer rolled on, Anika got a little more distressed that her bestest friend was going into Preschool E and *she* was only going to do Preschool B again. (This is at least in part because someone’s parents were too lazy to remember to sign her up for swimming lessons for like a year, but NEVERMIND! MOVING ON!).

So I offered Ani the chance to do Preschool B again in the summer – the way they do lessons in the summer is basically half hour lessons every day for two weeks.  She agreed, so we signed her up.

We showed up on the first day (an 8am time slot) only to learn that they had cancelled the Preschool B class we’d registered for…and there wasn’t another option. So I said “Listen, she almost passed it last time. Can we put her in C and see how she does?” They said “OH yes, of course, lets get her in the water!!”

I felt a little helicopter-parent-ish doing that but on the other hand…I’d spent so much time psyching her up that I really didn’t want to just skip the whole thing. I figured either way 10 days in the water wouldn’t hurt anything and even if she didn’t pass it she’d be further ahead than she was before.

Well. She sure proved me wrong. She rose to the challenge brilliantly. Not only did she pass C with flying colours….now she can swim. Like, for real.

And also, the Preschool C instructor was awesome. She told me the first day “Yeah, Anika says “I can’t do it”, so I tell her to do it anyway, and then she does. It’s a good system.” Awesome.

Here she was, about a month ago in my parents pool. Note the water wings (“muscles”, as she calls them) and the Death Grip of Insanity on her uncle’s hands.

Here she is now.

Here she is jumping off the side…

…and swimming to Brandon.

The ONLY time she will agree to wear her muscles is when she wants to fling herself off the diving board into the deep end.

It’s astounding. It all happened in the space of two weeks. Simply amazing.

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Anika stretched in some rather literal ways too this summer. I had to take her to the Dr. (she had some mosquito bites that went completely bonkers on her ankle – immune system overreaction, apparently; yay camping!) and they weighed her to figure out an antibiotic dosage. Turns out she actually weighs about the same (or less; I can’t actually remember if she was 34lbs or 35lbs then – but she’s an even 34 now) than she did at her four-year appointment back in January. Huh. So I measured her when we got home…..only to discover she’s grown almost 2 inches since April 29. So apparently she really has stretched out.

So much so that she learned one night after dinner that she’s tall enough now to completely brain herself on the kitchen counter. Ow.

(She was fine, and the picture looks worse than it is because she’d had an ice pack on it for a while. Still though! Yikes.)

We’re having a good summer. I still want to string her up by her ankles maybe twice a week or so – but I think that’s normal. (There’s So! Much! Draaahhhhhmaaaa all the time!). She is fun. She is learning by leaps and bounds and is starting to read. Four is pretty awesome as it turns out. Awesome and loud. My ears ring for a solid half hour after she goes to bed. I kind of love it though.

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. Hubby permalink
    August 17, 2011 1:44 pm

    All I want to say is good job kiddo. Someday maybe you’ll be leafing through this blog. We’re really proud of you!

  2. Hubby permalink
    August 17, 2011 1:46 pm

    Consequently, I misread the post title and thought it said “Anika Sketches”. I found the writing lovely and all, but wondered where the sketches were. She had some interesting ones this morning…

  3. Sarah permalink
    August 18, 2011 2:28 pm

    Why, oh why can’t I “Like” the comments left by others?? 🙂

  4. August 18, 2011 5:43 pm

    She’s pretty awesome. Go Miss A!

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