Tuesday, July 22, 2008

I Blame G's Genes

So I, like many kids, took swim lessons every summer in the neighborhood pool. I proudly progressed from polywog to intermediate to advanced, and earned my "G" badge which meant I could go to the pool alone. I loved swimming and hanging out at the pool in the summer. I was never a fabulous swimmer, but I was comfortable in the water and could get from one place to another.

G was forced into swimming as a kid at PlayHaven (which he refers to as PlayHell) and has never quite gotten over it. He took private lessons again at the Y as a teen and actually learned to swim, but it's never been the quintessential summer activity for him that it was for me.

For the last two summers, we've dutifully gone to the municipal pool in the mornings, A. has gone off with the Tiny Tots and been carried around the pool by teenage instructors, and I've done the Mommy-and-Me thing with Benjamin.

This was the big summer where Ben could finally join A. in the Tiny Tots program and I could stay dry. That was the plan, and it worked for the first day, except Ben cried almost the whole time, and A. started out brave and then cried when his instructor told him to put his face in the water. So I sat there on the sidelines watching them cry and thinking, "It's cool. They'll get over it." There's always one kid who cries the whole time, right? I just happen to have two of them.

A. did these exact same swim lessons for the last two years with no problem whatsoever. All of a sudden he's terrified? Give him a few days to get used to it and he'll be fine.

So the next day, I got their swim suits out and they start screaming. "No! No! I don't want to! Please!" I sat there staring at them, like, "You've got to be kidding me. All you do is hang on the wall and get carried around the pool one at a time." But they were not having it. And I know from experience that when they're getting that hysterical, it's going to be a bad scene if I force it.

I feel really strongly about learning to swim - it's a safety thing, for heaven's sake. Don't they get that? A. doesn't - when I told him that the next year when he was finally six, he could move up to the next level and learn strokes, he asked, "But will I drown first?"

"Noooo....that's kind of the point."

So we made a deal that they would try it again today, and I'd get in the pool with them. It was Bernadette and me...Bernadette took the other two kids in the group (who, I was told, cried at the beginning and now happily dunked their heads under water), I took my two kids and we dragged them around and practiced kicking. Awesome, I'm paying for swim lessons and here I am doing it all myself. We played Ring Around the Rosie. Bernadette dunked her charges, I did not. Bernadette, you don't have to live with the PTSD that would come if I dunk them against their will, so don't look at me with all that disapproval.

But the best part came when we got out of the big pool and went into the little kid's pool for the last few minutes of class. I took Ben's hand and stepped in. Except - the little kid's pool wasn't about 6 inches deep, as I'd expected. I mean, it was about 6 inches deep on the OTHER end, the end we'd been in earlier. It was more like 2.5 feet deep on the end I was stepping into - I didn't realize the bottom sloped down quite that much from super-shallow to almost 3 feet. 2.5 feet is half of my height, so you can imagine what happened - I went tumbling into the pool, and took my 3-year-old down with me. Excellent. We both went completely under.

I felt Ben fall in on top of me, so I immediately righted myself, grabbed him and set him up on the side of the pool. It happened so fast that he was sputtering and surprised, but fine. The lifeguard AND the head swimming coach were there quickly, asking if we were OK. I'm surprised we didn't land on any tots and take them under too. That would've given all the dry parents on the sidelines (Grrrrr...I should've been one of them) a better show. A. watched the whole thing and then carefully climbed in himself. He was like, "You scare me."

It was awesome. I think we're skipping the rest of the session and I'm sure the instructors will be relieved. Maybe we'll try private lessons next year.


Sarah O. said...

HAhahaha! Also, I feel your pain. After a few summers of this, my daughter learned how to swim reasonable well but my SON. Just yesterday I asked him if he'd consider yet another (he's 13 with 11 summers of attempted lessons) try at swimming lessons. I mean, we have a nice neighborhood pool and freaking former Olympians living and teaching in the neighborhood and it doesn't get better than that, right?

Sigh. Maybe next summer.

Beastarzmom said...

God. Where's the video camera when you need it???
I'm chuckling just picturing it.

oh. oops.

That's a personality flaw of mine apparently.

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