Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Natalie Is The Michael Phelps?

“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.


“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..)


  1. Parenting solo is tough- but it sounds like you're doing a good job :) And good luck with the swim lessons!!

  2. Solo parenting is so tough. I admire all you out their doing it. Hope she is good for you today.

  3. Hope that Natalie can be just like Phelps! Swimming lessons were always a fight around here - good luck!

  4. You are doing a great job...single parenting can't be easy. Hang in there Tom will be home soon! I love that she is excited about swimming. At least she doesn't want to be Lady Gaga or worse. Have a good one.

  5. I hope her first lesson goes well! I can't wait to read your book...I was a year round swimmer from 6th grade through HS. It is a fabulous sport!

  6. It's got to be a girl thing, once my son annoys his little sister she gets so shrill you couldn't hear a bomb detonate in the next room.

    Girl babies should come with earplugs.

  7. we do swim lessons next month. i hope natalie is good.

  8. I can't empathize with you on the swim lesson fears. My kids bolted for the pool! No fear at all.
    Now my son is on the swim team. And at least one weekend a month, we are sitting on cold hard bleachers at a random aquatic center, screaming our heads off as he dives off the block.
    Good luck!

  9. LOL.....Natalie!
    That is pretty cute that she wants to Michael Phelps! More power to her...hope it works out for her!

  10. I like that she decided to just be Natalie in the end! Hope it goes well.

  11. HA!! Wow. Good job though, I admire you!!!

  12. Bless your heart. Hopefully Tommy will be supportive when Natalie has a sex change and changes her name. Kids are so funny. Good luck at the lesson! Hope she loves it.

  13. Supernanny would probably have a heart attack at my house. Just saying.

  14. I'm pretty Supernanny would see the world differently if she had a few kids of her own. I was a way better parent before I gave birth too.

  15. I figured they were about the age of my littles (10 & 11) until I read your 'about me'.
    So basically what I'm saying is, it doesn't get better when they get older.
    Feel free to hate me for ruining your day!

  16. parenting solo is hard. You're doing a wonderful job! I can't wait to hear how she does with the swim lessons!

  17. Maybe she could be "Michelle Phelps" instead??

  18. I am still laughing at "THE MARK SPITZ?" :) Hahahahaha! Somehow every name is funnier with "the" in front of it.

  19. You are hilarious!! I am constantly setting a nice calm example for my kids by yelling at them...

  20. Seriously. Muzzles are cheap.

    I'll even send you one.

  21. Awesome! My husband used to say you give in too easy - I said you try parenting day in and day out By.Your.Self! ALL the Time! I think you do a fabulous job - screw supernanny and her advice to Mums lol (I'm just kidding but still). You do a great job!

  22. Awesome! My husband used to say you give in too easy - I said you try parenting day in and day out By.Your.Self! ALL the Time! I think you do a fabulous job - screw supernanny and her advice to Mums lol (I'm just kidding but still). You do a great job!

  23. As I read your post, I was feeling your pain. My kids are driving me nuts, but I love'em as you love yours, and we do what we gotta do. :)

    Sounds like you're handling things.

  24. Haha, glad Natalie decided to be herself after all. :)

  25. For a while, I wanted to be the Michael Phelp's girlfriend.

    Mostly because I saw a spread in people about what he eats every day, and it involved pancakes, sausage, hash browns, bacon, toast, more bacon and fruit.

    And that was only breakfast.

  26. I like when it tell it like it is with your kids. They make look like angels but it's good to know that they ACT like regular kids!

  27. I can't imagine how hard it is to be a single parent right now. Good luck at swim class!

  28. Hi there! I love your site!!! My son has Aspergers, too! I'm a new follower and I've awarded you the Versatile Blogger Award. Come check out my site @ for more info! =)

  29. I bet you're looking forward to the day your hubby comes home!

  30. haha... now i'm afraid of being a parent... hmmm... what would i say if my child told me i'm the meanest mom? aww XD

    anyways, you are so amazing!!

  31. I used to hate the screaming! When I took my eldest son for his first swimming lesson he clung to me and screamed in my ear so loudly its a wonder I'm not deaf. The teacher had to prise him off me and send me outside the pool area. Believe it or not a few years later he was winning races!

  32. Well, OF COURSE she can be anyone she wants to be - she has you for a mum, doesn't she?

    Er.. but she may want to leave it a few years yet before considering that gender switch (giggle)!

  33. I am glad to she decided to just be Natalie.


  34. Well at least Natlie wanted to be a swimmer, my Peanut is all like "I'm going to be a mermaid when I grow up!" and I'm like "Ummm you can't really chance your species and by the way Mermaids are pretend."

    Also, I totally agree with your about there not being enought books about swiming. I think the last one I read was Ordinary People and we all know how depressing that is. Now I'm going to go see if there are anymore books about swimming on my bookshelf...

    Have a great day!

  35. My sister's husband is in the Navy and can be out on the ship for 6-8 months at a time...and she tells me how difficult it is with her 3 boys. I feel for those who do it alone! You're a SUPER mom!

    My son, Austin, is such a drama-king, and when he acts up, I call him "Oscar", as in, he should be an actor. Although, he has gotten much better now that he's 13 1/2. Thank goodness, because there were days I wanted to leave him with bag people under the bridge--not that I actually know bag people, but there were days I was desperate to find them!


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