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Sunday, April 27, 2014

I'm dating my husband

My husband and I are dating. 
We've been together almost 14 years, 5 married. And yet here we have been dating again for the last two years. It's so much fun.

Life and kids and houses, bills and job demands get in the way of having fun don't they? It seems that time goes by too fast, you forget how long it's been since you last had a real conversation or full meal without interruptions with your partner. 

We get so caught up in caring for the kids that we forget that the original relationship here was that with your partner. 

Sometimes we get on autopilot. We act like the partnership can wait, it can withstand the changes, demands, frustrations, chaos and responsibilities of parenthood. We can deal with our partner later. Tomorrow. Next weekend. Right now there is laundry to fold, dishes to do, bills to pay, kids to entertain, etc. We get so caught up in doing the here and now, this instant - which typically is something kid-related because they can't wait - that we don't plan or even consider our partner or how it used to be when we were just the two of us.

If this sounds familiar, it's normal, natural, a way of life with young children. Don't beat yourself up over it.

But if this is your life, stop and think about how much better it could be, how much less stressful the chaotic parenting duties would be if you and your partner were a bit more connected, slightly happier and laughing more, really on the same page.

Your parenting roles can be better, if only you work together instead of against each other, if you appreciate the other person instead of resenting the other for not helping enough. 

I know, I've been here.

The first year having our first child, it wasn't pretty. We were not as happy as we'd always been. We were frustrated easily, snapping at each other, exhausted.  We were not on the same page. I thought dishes needed to be done nightly because it made it easier to wash the endless bottles in the small sink. My husband thought we could do dishes every other night. We just saw things differently with how to run the household. With one child, it's typically one parent doing most of the tasks, that's a natural progression. It's a feeling of unbalance.

Kids have a way of draining you. It doesn't mean you don't love them, but they can be challenging. You lose the energy and patience you once had pre-kids, when you were able to sleep through the night and go where you wanted at any time.

You can get into a rut, very easily.
It's hard to see past it in the moment when a baby is crying, someone has to rush off to work, or the house is a disaster. It's hard to plan ahead, too. You can't even think about what's for dinner, let alone cleaning the house, calling a sitter, and setting aside money to go out with your partner.

I get it. It's hard being a new parent AND a partner. 

But there is light at the end of the tunnel, I promise.
You just have to accept that your relationship doesn't deserve to be set on autopilot. It can't wait until the kids grow up for you to put some more effort into it. It is something that needs to be cared for and nurtured just like you care for and help grow your children.

I know, I know, you're tired. You don't have time. You have zero money or energy to put into your relationship. You don't want to leave the kids alone with anyone else, you want to be super mom always there with them, putting them first, not yourself or partner.

That's great... but what happens when the kids are older? What will you be left with if you act like you live with a stranger for all those years? 

After that first difficult year of parenting and growing more frustrated with each other, my husband and I started monthly date nights. At first, it was hard. It took so much energy to clean up the house, plan a night that worked for both of us and call for a sitter, get the kids ready for bed and fed before the sitter arrived, all while trying to get myself dressed without being spit up on or have pasta on my clothes. It took so much effort.

Every single time we've gone out on a date night, I've thought, "Ugh, this is not worth it! Why are we doing this? I'm so tired!" And yet within 5 minutes of leaving the house, I felt, "This is so nice. We should do this more often." 

So every month that second year of our son's life we went out. Sometimes we had no money, so we just drove around pretending we'd buy huge houses and drinking Dunkin Donuts hot chocolate. Sometimes we went to the grocery store because that was our only time to do it. Sometimes we used gift cards for dinner. Other times we had breakfast dates because it was cheaper and the only time we could find a babysitter. It didn't really matter what we did, it just mattered that we left and were hanging out together.

When we had our second baby, I vowed that we would not have another difficult year like we had when our son was born. We went out when she was a month old so we could keep up our monthly date nights. It was a short date, but still we did it!

It made such a difference that first tough year of a new baby in the house. We were a better team. We worked so much better together, just having time to communicate.

Our 5 years wedding anniversary was last week. My husband planned this elaborate night away for us. It was amazing! A white limo showed up in the driveway. He gave me flowers, tiramisu (same that we had at our wedding). We ate at a fancy restaurant and spent the night at the hotel we went to at our first wedding night. We had an amazing buffet breakfast, where we sat for more than an hour just talking. We took a walk by the water, then had couples massages! It was amazing to reconnect. We felt like we were on our honeymoon again... yet we were a half hour from home!

We were only gone 20 hours from our kids. Yet it felt like a week - in a good way. We slept in (until 7:15 a.m. - so late in our world!). We leisurely got ready for the day, ate our meals, and talked. Like complete sentences type of talking, unlike kids interrupting. It was so great.

We've never done this since we were married five years ago. We have never gone on a trip with the kids or without. We haven't taken a night away except to have our second child in the hospital. We don't do Christmas or birthday gifts with each other (last year was the first time we started doing it after never having any money the last few years with a new house and babies).

I think that's sad. Why don't we put more time and effort into our relationship, like we put so much time and energy into our babies?

We matter, too. That's what I've realized this week. It's OK to leave the kids every now and then to take care of ourselves. It makes us better parents, that I firmly believe. 

THIS is a happy, relaxed, stress-free wife / mother! 

It was so freeing being away. Not cleaning up kid messes. Not losing my patience. Not folding laundry and finding sippy cup pieces in the dishwasher so that I could get milk to my toddler STAT before she had a freak out. It was nice not tripping over toys in the morning, and waking when my body wanted to wake instead of after hearing in the monitor at my head, "I come downstairs??????"

It doesn't mean I didn't miss my babies and give them the biggest hug when we returned. It just means I adore their father so much and it was nice to spend time with him again, instead of our nightly ritual of collapsing on the couch, half-watching and half-sleeping through a Netflix show.

I encourage you to think about it. Really see if you are putting enough into your partnership or if there are even small improvements you could make. I swear to you it will make you a happier person in general, but also a better mom. 

Next blog post: Tips for HOW to date your husband without adding more stress to your busy life. 

For now, stare at this picture below of the huge amazingly yummy breakfast I ate on our date night away this week. That should entice you to get out with your partner, right?! 

Saturday, April 26, 2014

PPD - Heather Pelletier

I am constantly in awe of how strong mothers are. The last two weeks we've featured several mothers on the blog who have experienced Post-Partum Depression (PPD). Heather Pelletier is another mom who has gone through this challenging situation and come out on the other side to share her story. I teared up editing this piece, just imagining how scary it must feel to moms to be in this dark place when you are "supposed" to be enjoying your infant. 

I take this as a lesson to keep checking in with my new mommy friends with newborns, keep asking how they are doing, not just "are you getting any sleep?" or "Don't you just love having a baby?" Really ask how they are, sit with them, talk to them, see if they are handling the stresses and changes of a new baby OK or if they need you to be the person they can talk to about their tough feelings. Let it be OK to talk about the negatives to having a new baby. You just may really help someone, like Heather, who has gone through PPD. 

Love to all of you strong moms out there! 
THANKS to Heather for sharing her story!

All photos from Heather Pelletier

  • 1. How old was your child when you experienced postpartum depression (PPD)?  
    My PPD came on after my son was four days old.

    2. What feeling words would you use to describe what postpartum depression was like for you?  
    For me: anxious, nauseous, crazy, angry, failure, pathetic, disappointing, exhausting…a lot of really negative feelings.

    3. Why do you think you experienced PPD?  
    Before I even got pregnant, the likelihood that I would experience PPD was a concern for me. My educational background is in psychology and counseling, so I was very aware of it as a possibility. 

    I also have traditionally struggled emotionally with huge life change or events (moving, graduating college, leaving jobs, getting married, etc.). I am typically not a depressed person, but I was afraid that adjusting to life with a new baby and "giving up the life I once had" could potentially be a trigger for me. 

    I think the kicker was actually a traumatic experience that we had when my son was four days old. I wanted to breastfeed and it did not come easily. My milk was late coming in and my son had a very difficult birth that resulted in a lot of bruising and an exhausted baby to boot…I had him on a Thursday, was sent home on Saturday, and after his first appointment on Monday we ended up back at the hospital with a severely jaundice baby. 

    The doctor at our PCP's office (who was not our PCP) was not clear in explaining what would happen. We were taken by complete surprise when the (very cold and insensitive) pediatric resident explained we were in a very serious situation. He told us that because our son was so bruised and I was not feeding him enough, he was dehydrated and his body could not process the dead red blood cells fast enough. He said that if they didn't get his levels under control it could result in liver damage, and we could be in the hospital for up to 4 days while they worked to get his bilirubin levels down. 

    We showed up to the hospital with only a diaper bag thinking that he would receive a treatment and we would go home. I was devastated! My husband had to leave me alone to go to our home a half hour away to get the necessities. I was instructed to feed him every 2 hours on the dot. The doctors told me that I could try to nurse if I wanted to, but if I could not get him eating in 5-10 minutes to pass him to my husband. My husband would feed him as much formula as he could eat and I would pump. I was sore all over, exhausted, and so disappointed. 

    Our son was so tired he would hardly nurse and I still was not producing much milk. All night I pumped what I could and we would combine it until he could have a bottle of breast milk. I don't know how we did it, but by the next evening his levels were down. 

    The doctor voiced concerns about me being able to feed him enough by just nursing, and made me nurse him one last time with the nurse's assistance before we could go home. That doctor will never know how much that impacted me. His lack of confidence in me was a defining moment for the weeks to come. Thank goodness for the nurses, they really got us through that experience. I spent weeks feeding him every 2 hours, tracking when he would eat, for how long and obsessing over it. I knew he wouldn't starve but I couldn't not obsess over it. My PCP told me that I could shift to more on-demand eating, so I did, but I couldn't relinquish the control of tracking it all…it was so unhealthy.

    4. What helped when you were experiencing PPD? 
    My husband was my rock. I feel bad looking back on it, because he had a newborn and an adult to take care of, and it was scary for him. Our family and friends helped as well. They were supportive of me. One friend shared her experience with PPD and that helped. Finally taking charge of eating and getting some sleep.

    5. How would you describe PPD to somebody who has not experienced it? 
    I don't know if there are any words to really describe it. I couldn't eat, I couldn't turn my mind off to sleep, I wanted nothing to do with the brand new baby that needed me…it literally made me physically ill. 

    I considered that my husband and son would be better without me, I was not suicidal, but one day about three weeks out I went to the grocery store alone to get outside and I considered driving away and leaving them. I didn't want to go home. I had a hard time going anywhere with him, because nursing him was so hard that I didn't want to do anything that could potentially make it harder. 

    I felt like a prisoner to my home, a prisoner to my baby. I was miserable.

    6. What did NOT help when you were going through PPD?  
    Surprisingly, my OB's office was not that helpful. I called seeking help and they asked me the same questions that others talked about (Do you feel like harming yourself? Do you want to hurt your baby? Etc.). Really those questions were all wrong! 

    Over the phone they determined that I probably had a touch of PPD, so they would call me in a prescription. I was really turned off by that and I shut them out. They were going to give me a drug that I had never heard of, without any real discussion, and I was nursing…they didn't even talk side effects. That really scared me. 

    I became determined to fight through it without medication.

    7. What resources - books, people, counselors, Web sites, etc. - did you find particularly helpful while dealing with PPD? 
    I didn't really read anything, I didn't think there was anything out there that I could read that would help. My son and I shared a PCP and I felt that she was extremely helpful. She scheduled appointments to check in on both of us and was very calming and understanding. Though she did not have any answers, she supported me through my nursing and emotional struggles.

    8. What HELPED you get through or over PPD? 
    I think time helped the most. As my son started having milestones, I became more interested in him and being a mom. I think during that time my hormones had also leveled out a bit. 

    At 11 weeks I finally conceded that nursing him probably was not the best for us…I still had SEVERE pain and supply issues at 11 weeks. I very slowly started to wean him, and finally experienced how nursing a baby should be. At four months I went back to work and he weaned himself completely. I still haven't completely let that guilt go, but he was happy and healthy and he helped me come back to the brighter side.

    9. What is your advice to other moms going through PPD or thinking they may go through it?  
    Get help wherever you can get it, and as soon as you feel something is not right. If your OB is not helpful, talk to your PCP. Find a counselor if you need one. Find a support group. I realize that not all women can get through without medication, and maybe next time I won't be able to. Consider your options and be as thoughtful as you are capable of at that time. 

    I think it is important to do what is necessary to survive and stay healthy for your child…physically and mentally. There certainly is sunshine behind the cloud.

    10. How long did it last for you? 
    I think between three and four months I was probably back to myself. I think that once I could let go of nursing my son, I could also start to move forward from my negative emotional state. Being on a schedule and getting regular sleep also helped a lot.

    11. Anything else you want to share? 
    I realize that I could experience PPD if I have another baby. I spend a lot of time worrying about this. 

    I don't remember our son as a newborn. I missed it. I was trying to sleep, trying to cope, trying to survive. I feel like I got cheated out of what should have been an amazing and happy time. I feel like he got cheated out of snuggles and my love. 

    I want to be able to cherish that time with our second baby so that I can feel like I experienced it. I hope that being a veteran to it all will help me be more laid back and allow me to enjoy it. 

    Thank goodness that children do not remember those first few weeks…my son knows me as his rock and knows that I love him with all my heart. I would hate to think that those first weeks would represent who I am as a mother.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

our little sunshine's Cookie Monster & Elmo party!

I am pretty sure when I was pregnant with one of my children I stumbled upon this blog post by Annie's Eats and said to myself, I MUST have a Sesame Street party someday! 

(My sister wrote out her welcome Happy 2nd Birthday Addisyn chalk announcement. So cute! She wouldn't let go of her new shopping cart for the picture.)

Then I had a daughter who was totally obsessed with what she called Elmo (really Cookie Monster) her entire second year of her life. So, voila, Sesame party it was!

However, I'd also had the idea of a You Are My Sunshine party. It was the song my mom used to sing to me as a baby and now I sing to my daughter, so I thought it was sweet to do a party. She's also so sunny, smiley and happy, it was fitting for her. When she showed her true love for Cookie Monster and eventually the real Elmo, I decided, why not, let's just combine two themes?

It was fun this way actually. I was a bit nervous, not sure if it would tie together. We made it work super fun, all for her, of course. What worked with doing the two themes was not going over board on either one. I didn't do all the many, many ideas I found on Pinterest. I just did a few for each theme and it came together great.

(She wasn't impressed to have to stop and say "cheese" in the middle of playing that morning before guests arrived!)

We luckily were given this adorable Cookie Monster shirt from her cousin. I got the headband at Target last summer. The tutu my mom found at a consignment sale, so adorable. Who doesn't like tutus for a girl's birthday party?! The tights were also given to her from her big cousin, she wore them last year at her birthday, too. So cute.

I loved how her outfit said everything about her... she's a Cookie Monster lover, enjoys food like he does, bright and sunny like her outfit and totally girlie, yet with sneakers on to signify she's ready to run and play with the big boys if she needs to. This is totally my daughter. 

We decided on a morning pancake breakfast because that would cover the You Are My Sunshine theme, as well as pancakes are one of Addisyn's favorite foods. I loved doing a breakfast party. We set everything the night before and only had to entertain the kids for maybe two hours in the morning before the party. Then the party was over at their nap time, so they went right down. It was a great timeframe. We started the party at 9 a.m.

We sent an Evite invitation online. I love these, they're just easy and a good way to keep track of who can attend. The invitation read:

Addi is our sunshine, our only sunshine, she makes us happy when skies are gray... and she is also in love with Elmo and Cookie Monster! Join us for a sunshine morning breakfast, brought to you by the letter A and the number 2. Come hungry for pancakes and more sweet treats.

I work in a middle school. I knew I wanted the letter A and the number 2 somewhere for my daughter's party, to match Sesame Street, however I'm not artistic at all. I knew where to go - I asked the art teacher to send me an artistic student. She sent me a sixth grade girl who listened to my ideas and then ran with it. She created that sign above, "Addisyn's Street" for the door to the party. I loved how cute and Sesame Street-like it looked. Just a sweet touch, and I was super glad I didn't have to attempt to make it myself :)

We had the party at my grandparents' house that we rent out in the summers. It was perfect, large, open, nothing in it since it's a rental house. We had plenty of space inside and out on the deck for everyone. Love that I didn't mess up my own house, too!

I set up this table for the kids. Unfortunately, maybe 4 of the kids actually sat at the table. It was just so busy and everyone was running around. I thought it looked cute though, oh well!

This banner below was made by the wonderful Jessie Estes. She gave it to me for my son's fishing party a few months ago, and it worked perfectly with our color scheme for this party, too. Loved it! I got so many compliments on it, and had to admit I wasn't the one who made it :) 

Another Dollar Tree special! I got all of the cups and plates, table cloth, silverware, etc. from the Dollar Tree.

The blue and white straws I found in the dollar bin at Target. Loved them!

The cone hats were a MUST in my mind. I just kept picturing all of my young birthday party pics, we always used to wear cone hats. I ordered them on Amazon, two packs for about $10 I think it was. Again, only a handful of the kids actually wore the hats. Oh well, I tried to be cute!

The birthday girl's seat! Her awesome Cookie Monster hat was hard to find. Most Sesame Street things are either for first birthdays or all Elmo. I found this at a random party store I found in New Hampshire when just driving by. Love it :)

A funny thing that emerged when planning was the color scheme of yellow (for sunshine) and blue (for Cookie Monster), which are my husband and my wedding colors. Our daughter was born the day before our anniversary, we call her our anniversary baby, so it was fitting that her party was with these two colors!

For treat bags, I made them simple. We were having an Easter egg hunt where the kids would get treats in the eggs, so I wanted the bags to be smaller. I also am always aware of not giving people tons of junk or extra things to just add to their already-packed house full of kids' toys, so I tried to pick things I thought people would really use.

I had these paper bags in the kitchen and last minute before the party decided to put the treats in them, drawing a sun and their names on each bag. It was so simple, I loved it!

I'm usually a little overboard with party planning, I liked that with this party I scaled back a little bit on my creativity and Pinterest-ing. I couldn't do all of the bigger ideas I had because we chose to invite so many kids this time. I can do more when we don't invite so many people, but we loved having more people at this one. It worked out great!

Inside each bag the kids were given a box of Sesame Street crayons and some Crayola bath soap, both found at the Target dollar bin. Then each child got a Sesame Street coloring book, "Sunny Days," perfect for our Sunshine party. I found those at Dollar Tree and Target. We threw in some eggs, too.

For food we had everything you can imagine at a breakfast! We had SO many compliments on the food. It was awesome. My husband did an amazing job cooking. The best part was we prepared everything the night before, only had to cook pancakes and throw things into the oven that morning. It was so easy.

We had two platters of French Toast Creme Brule, my husband's family recipe, SO yummy! I made an egg, cheese, mushroom, peppers, onions, etc. bake casserole. Then we had cheese and grapes, watermelon, chocolate chip cookies (of course, Cookie Monster's favorite!), Panera muffins and croissants, danishes, etc. We also had chocolate chip pancake muffins with maple syrup (back left corner with Elmo cupcake toppers in them), these were yummy but the wrapper stuck to them, unfortunately. Then bottom right of the above picture we made banana cupcakes... slices of bananas, spread peanut butter over it, top with coconut and a blueberry. So cute!

Then there was Cookie Monster made out of blackberries and grapes, with yogurt eyes! LOVE this :) We made a small version since blueberries aren't in season right now. My sister made the Cookie Monster and the sunshine cheese platter. Love how these turned out, so cute, easy to make, and looked awesome.

I had been looking for a You Are My Sunshine sign for months, just hadn't found one reasonable enough. Two weeks before the party I was scrolling Facebook and found this on Sassy Steals. LOVE that site!

I made the blue notecard signs for a few of the food dishes that morning. I was proud of myself going another simple route here. Usually I type up notecard signs for food, they look cute, but then get tossed out, I don't think many people care about seeing them. This time, I went simple and just wrote a few out, not for each food, and it looked fine and was helpful to identify what certain foods were.

My husband made this adorable pineapple spread. So cute!

I didn't get a great picture of it, but we had a yogurt and pancake bar of toppings (shown below on the counter in front of the stove).  We put out two kinds of yogurt and some granola, then we had the following toppings for either pancakes or yogurt:
  • blueberries
  • strawberries
  • raisins
  • peanut butter
  • sprinkles
  • chocolate chips
  • cranberries
  • coconut
  • cinnamon 
  • 3 kinds of maple syrup (blueberry, strawberry and plain)

For the cake, I knew we didn't really want to give out cupcakes at 9 a.m. so instead we had mini muffins for the kids or cinnamon buns. For my daughter, I made a simple stack of pancakes cake! It was very messy, so non-traditional, but worked great, she loved it!

I just put 4 pancakes stacked on top of each other, sprinkled with rainbow sprinkles and strawberries, with whipped cream. Then I added her candles, done! It was a messy cake, but she smiled, it worked.

Note to self: wait until pancakes are cool before topping... it all melted! haha

Big brother wore his Elmo T-shirt for the special occasion!

Just a little reading in the middle of her party. Love this :) 

After the kids ate, we did cake, and then we did presents. I usually do presents and then cake, because I have a busy boy who after eating cake cannot possibly sit still to watch someone open presents. We did all the food first at this party though since it wasn't real sugary cake, it was all breakfast treats.

She loved all of her baby dolls and girlie toys :) So fun! 

Then after presents we went outside for a huge Easter egg hunt! Her party was the day before Easter Sunday, so of course I had to toss in a third theme to the party, Easter! Ha! I went a little crazy with themes this party, but come on, after I realized the party was right near Easter I thought, how can we not have an egg hunt? It was perfect. The kids LOVED it.

I got all 130 eggs at Dollar Tree for $5. We filled them with erasers, rings, balls, stickers, coins, jelly beans, and chocolate eggs.

We did two egg hunts, one for the 3 older boys (3-7 years old) because we knew they'd outrun the younger ones. They had their own section of eggs to find. Their eggs had lots of coins in them, real money. Then we did a baby and toddler hunt for the 10 months to 2 1/2 year olds. It was so cute.

We also had chalk and bubbles for the kids to play with outside as activities. 

Overall, a perfect party. We had so much fun, tons of food, so many people told us how great of a day it was, sunny and outside, egg hunt and yummy breakfast.

Can't believe our little sunshine is TWO!

swim like a fish!

My son was given swimming lessons as a birthday gift this year when he turned four. Perfect gift! My mom said she'll get them for him every winter now, which I think is so great, the excitement lasted longer than if he'd received a new toy.

He was the perfect age at four years old to really understand what they were teaching him. We just recently went on a trip and stayed in a hotel with a pool, I already could see a huge difference in how he swam and how comfortable he was in the water this time after lessons.

We went to Kennebunk's Quest Fitness, they were awesome! 

I can't recommend enough everyone starting swim lessons with your children.

Here are a few things I found that helped us with taking our son to swimming lesson, just a few tips that may be useful to you when you start taking your child:

  • Your own bathing suit that you are comfortable wearing. Most moms I saw had tankinis or full-piece bathing suits. Wear what you're comfortable in. I have to say, I never felt uncomfortable around the other moms. Everyone was so busy watching their own child that nobody seemed to be sizing up the others. LOVED this! 
  • Flip flops for yourself and Crocs or flip flops for your child. This is just healthy, to keep from getting germs. 
  • A wet bag. I have one from cloth diapering, so you could get one from a cloth diaper store. Or just something to keep the wet items in after swimming. 
  • Snacks. I always gave my son a snack on the ride over to swimming to help him keep up his energy when swimming, they work hard! Then we always had some peanut butter crackers, banana, apple, granola bar, etc. for after swimming with some water. 
  • Child's bathing suits. I'd have at least two that fit, just in case you don't get laundry put away in time.  

  • Get dressed before you go. I put on my bathing suit and my son's shorts and rash guard shirt before we left the house. It was a lot easier and less stressful this way. It was hard enough getting out the door in the morning, so having us dressed was a good way to get things started. Then we both wore workout pants or sweatpants over our suits. 
  • Pack your backpack the night before. I would put my clothes on the bottom of the bag. We all know our kiddos get dressed before we do, so this made it easier after swim when he was cold and whining for me to grab his things on top first to dress him before getting myself dressed. Having everything ready to go the night before made it easier in the morning to get us out the door, too. I even packed the snacks and water bottles ahead of time. 
  • Go to the bathroom before heading to the pool. Sounds simple enough, right? But when you're busy, rushing to get into class on time (class is only 30 minutes, you can't be late!), you sometimes forget. I forgot twice, well, one time I asked and he said, "Nope, I don't have to go, Mom." Right. Famous last words. So we got into the pool, then he told me. I was so irritated, despite praising him for telling me instead of peeing in the pool. So then we just made it a rule we had to go before entering the pool. Rookie mistake, I learned, don't make the same mistake!
  • Bring help! I have a younger daughter... so I needed someone there with me to watch her while I swam with my son. My mom met us there most Saturdays since my husband was working most of them. We put her in a stroller because otherwise she wanted to run around the pool or worse, one day she took her clothes off wanting to get in to swim! Mortified. Bring special toys or books or something for the other kiddo, too. 
  • Leave the house way early. Earlier than you would for anything else, because you need to change when you get there, even with your suit on already, it takes time to get undressed, put things away in a locker, use the restroom, then get to the pool to put on the bubble, etc. 

My son loved not only learning to swim, being in the water, hanging out with other kids, but most importantly I think he LOVED the one-on-one time with me. It was undivided attention, where we were literally holding on to each other the entire time. He laughed so much, smiled, said, "Hold on to me, Mommy, don't let go." It was the best moment of my week those six weeks of swim class. He was such a happy little guy during class. It was a great thing for us to do together.

I really recommend you try swim class. Kids love it, it helps them to be safer, and I learned a lot myself about how to help my child in the pool. 

Have fun swimming, fishies!