“I’m going to be the Michael Phelps,” Natalie said proudly as she stood in her swimsuit. Her swim lessons didn’t even start until the next day but she was ready to go.
“You can’t be the Michael Phelps. That doesn’t even make sense,” Tommy answered.
Natalie’s face turned red. I knew what was coming next. Noise. And lots of it. “I’m GOING TO BE THE MICHAEL PHELPS!” she screamed.
“You can’t,” Tommy said calmly. He thinks it’s funny to annoy his sister.
“I CAN BE THE MICHAEL PHELPS AND I WILL AND I—”
“You can be who you want,” I cut in, cringing. I hate when she gets hysterical. Living with Natalie is like living with the entire Real World cast.
“That doesn’t make sense though.” Tommy wouldn’t drop it. “Plus, she’s a girl. You can’t be Michael Phelps because you’re a girl.”
Natalie was as red as a tomato. “I WILL BE—”
“COULD EVERYONE JUST CHILL OUT?” I yelled, which didn’t set a good example for the kids, but I had reached my limit. Our house is a loud house. If Supernanny had been observing me, she’d have said into the camera, “This mum needs a new way of communicating with her children.”
This mum can only handle so much.
“You’re the meanest mother in the world,” Tommy informed me. He’s been saying that to me if I dare to get cross with him. It’s getting old. Fast. If he keeps saying it, I’ll show him mean and “lose” his Nintendo DS one day.
I rubbed my temples. My head was beginning to throb. Parenting without the help of a partner gets tough. “I am not mean, it’s just, if Natalie wants to be the Michael Phelps, allow her that. But Natalie,” I said, looking at my daughter. Her color was returning to normal. “You can be like Dana Torres. She’s a wonderful swimmer. She made the Olympic team when she was 41. After she had a baby. Personally I’d have called it a day but she didn’t.”
Natalie scowled. “I want to be the Michael Phelps.”
She knows about Michael Phelps thanks to Tommy and his swimming. When he first got into swimming he wanted to know a lot about it and learned about Michael Phelps.
“But you’re a girl,” Tommy fumed.
Natalie kicked Tommy in the knee.
“Natalie, we don’t kick,” I said while Tommy got dramatic and dropped to the ground, gripping his knee. She barely even touched him.
“Look, if you want to be a male swimmer, how about you be like Mark Spitz? He won many gold medals and plus, his name is more enjoyable to say,” I suggested. Spitz, Spitz, Spitz….
“The Mark Spitz?” Natalie repeated.
“Yes. Michael Phelps is who everyone goes for when they think of swimming. You can be original,” I said. “You can say you want to be like the Ryan Lochte, the Cullen Jones, the…um…” What were some other swimmers? “Uh, the Ian Crocker..” It helped that my novel I completed had to deal with swimmers. I feel there needs to be more books about swimmers. I find the sport seems to get overshadowed by baseball, basketball, football…and that’s frustrating.
Natalie tapped her chin. This was an incredibly important matter to her. “I think I’ll just be Natalie.”
“Great choice. Now tomorrow, you aren’t going to scream, are you?”
I pictured Natalie howling the second we walked onto the pool deck. I never know what to expect with her.
“I’ll be good,” Natalie promised.
I crossed my fingers. Please let her be good…
(To be continued..)