Kids at the Pool

By Katie, 5:36 am

The winner of Julie Parker and Emma Kate Codrington’s e-book is Shannon from Shannon’s Food Run! We’ll be in touch with your e-book!

One of the perks of my new neighborhood is that it has a very nice community pool.

Last weekend Dave and I checked it out for the first time, and I loved it. I often have trouble really relaxing at home because I always feel like I should be doing something, but as soon as I hit that lounge chair I felt totally at ease, free to soak up the sun and a magazine.

 (Source)

Our neighborhood is very family-oriented, so there were lots of kids playing around the pool – some doggy-paddling between their parents, some floating around on noodles, some perfecting their cannonball dives.

One particular little girl caught my eye. She was maybe 6 years old and had long blonde hair pulled into a messy, sopping wet ponytail. She wore a hot pink two-piece swimsuit, complete with frills on the bottoms. And she was loving the pool. Like she was born to splash around in the water, like she was a dolphin in a former life.

As is the case with most children, she was completely consumed by the physicality of the experience; it was all about the heat of the sun on her face, and the refreshing cool of the water on her back. There was no room for inhibitions or self-consciousness; she was too busy having the time of her life. Her body wasn’t there to be looked at or judged or praised; it was simply the vehicle for experiencing life.

I thought to myself, there is so much I can learn from that child.

Life’s funny like that, isn’t it? We spend our childhoods constantly learning, learning, learning, only to grow up and realize those early years were already chock full of wisdom.

That little girl has become the role model for the rest of my summer. Starting now it is all about being in the present and absorbing the moment; it’s about the feel of being in the sun and water rather than the way I look in a swimsuit. It’s about re-capturing a joy that comes before – and goes beyond – our daily stresses and insecurities. I hope you’ll join me.

What life lessons do you think we can learn from children?

18 Responses to “Kids at the Pool”

  1. ADORE this post, Katie. I agree 100% that children are so freaking wise. I also think we have a lot to learn from children with regard to how we eat. Children are natural intuitive eaters, at least until the influence of well meaning adults come into the picture :D

  2. Nicole, RD says:

    What a cute post! Our neighbors all have kids about the same age and they all play together nearly every night. Over dinner, we often just sit outside on the deck and listen to the creative games and stories they make up. It’s so innocent and real. I think it makes me value different perspectives because I could never dream up half of what they do. It also makes me anxious to have kiddos of my own :)

  3. Kelly says:

    Oh my goodness the innocence of youth is amazing! I want it back.

  4. Shannon says:

    Woohoo! I’m excited for the beautiful ebook!

    Love this post. And how nice that you had a relaxing time AND learned something that will positively impact the rest of your summer!

    • Katie says:

      YES! It was a win-win! Julie will be sending you an e-mail with the e-book shortly. :)

  5. Sarah says:

    Curiosity. An overwhelming desire to discover new things without any thought except hopefully I won’t get into trouble.

  6. Cammy says:

    One of my favorite pictures of myself as a kid is a two year old me flaunting my stuff in a swim suit, totally soaking up the adoration I was sure I deserved. On days when the sight of myself in the mirror is tear-inducing, I’m so jealous of that damn kid. When do we lose that???

    I also think both kids and animals are good examples of intuitive eating. My dog’s eating tends to fluctuate a bit, but his weight stays the same, and has even through moves, aging, changing walking regimens, etc. Blows my mind. Wild animals are a bit different, obviously, since they are never really in danger of overeating.

    One positive kid-trait I think I’ve held onto is a constant inquisitiveness (serves me well as a scientist). I hope I never become complacent with how absolutely fascinating our world is.

    • Katie says:

      I have a similar picture of myself as a kid. I try to remind myself that even though it seems like that little girl is gone, her spirit is still inside of me.

      And I agree about the connection between kids/animals and IE; they’re free from the influence of society, so it’s natural for them to honor their body’s cues and signals. Like you with your dog, I’m always in awe of my cat!

    • Alexis says:

      That kid pic is what I’m struggling with now. Mine ended at 6. I can’t remember that feeling of carefree and I have no idea of how to get to it.
      BTW, my little pudgy is a major chow hound. I keep telling him chubby looks good on him. Poor thing, he has no turn off switch when it comes to food. I think that’s the damage of a pound dog. More evidence not to diet.

      • Katie says:

        Honestly, I think that simply being aware of the loss of that carefree feeling is a huge step.

  7. i love what some comments say above. hmmm i think we can learn a lot from the resilient nature of children. whether it is a situation, experience, or mood, children have the ability to quickly bounce back and rebound out of it by shifting their focus onto something else. clearly it is something we as adults find close to impossible to accomplish!! :)

    xoxo <3

    • Katie says:

      Excellent point! Kids really are resilient in a way that many adults are not.

  8. Bubu says:

    Wonderful post – I wholly agree. One thing I love about having kids is how they force me, pull me into the present moment. A baby will perhaps let your mind wander, but once they can talk and play, a child demands your full attention, here and now. Which can be exhausting but ultimately it is good, it forces me to be present with them, experience my time with them fully. I find it sad when I see parents forever on their iphones when they are with their kids, because they are not wholly present to experience that second childhood you describe. I’m guilty of it myself sometimes, but try to minimize it – these childhood days are fleeting, the work will always be there!

    • Katie says:

      So true! I hope that when I’m a parent someday, I take a very mindful, attentive approach…one that doesn’t involve my iphone a whole lot!

  9. Bubu says:

    Sorry – didn’t respond to the question: one key life lesson I’ve learned from my kids is how to be sick. When they are sick, they stop everything, they sleep as much as they need, and they get better fast. They don’t try to push through it, or work from home, or run when their body needs rest. Yet another way kids are so in touch with their physical selves and needs – relates to how they are intuitive eaters and exercisers and sleepers as well. They know what their bodies need and it doesn’t occur to them to fight that.

  10. Oh, Katie…I don’t even know where to START with this one! What a great topic…

    I love the one where my son is eating something – and he loves it – but then a minute later he’s running off to play, forgetting about the food completely because his belly is full. Food is so different for him than it is for me. I wish I could get back to that place where food is just a pleasant way to fill my belly so I have enough energy to run and play, with no emotional baggage attached!

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