After years of saying it was time, I decided that this summer would be the summer when my kids learned to swim.
Okay, so that was two years ago, but THIS summer is truly THE summer when my kids will learn to swim.
Or at least start the process…
On Tuesday afternoon, I brought my very excited 4-year-old and so-close-to-being-a-7-year-old to their very first swim lesson. They were so ready! Grace was in the first group and just plopped herself down on the second step ready to conquer the pool. She listened. She laughed. She followed directions. She was a rock star.
Caleb sat on the sidelines and cheered for his sister. ”Go Gracie! You can do it!!” Then my sweet supportive kiddo had his turn. He was focused. He was brave. He was eager to learn. He was awesome.
So not only had I ventured out of the house alone with both kids, but the activity involved water. I handed out quite a few pats on the back and the kids got some, too.
At dinner that night, we were talking about how they had done such a great job and what a great thing it is to know how to swim. I was planning an end-of-lessons celebratory trip to our local pool. My kids, however, were thinking more along the lines of SCUBA certification and lobstering in the Keys. Hmmm. I just can’t imagine where they get their totally unrealistic planning ideas. Definitely couldn’t be their mother who might read every single Groupon Getaway e-mail and drool profusely at the thought of a getaway. But that’s another post entirely.
So the next day at swimming lessons, I was trying hard to avoid the “humble brag” and just let the kids do their thing. We were about 2/3 of the way through Grace’s lesson when the teacher told her to blow her bubbles and then gently dunked her under.
A confident, excited swimmer went under the water. The child who came up was totally unrecognizable. Sputtering, spitting, and insanely furious, this child hated anything and anyone that had anything to do with swimming.
The next lesson was miserable. Gracie screamed, kicked, fled, threatened, splashed, and screamed some more. She completely refused to do anything the teacher asked. While I was sitting there on the edge of the pool, trying to keep my daughter from terrifying the other kids or scarring the teacher for life, I came up with a few ideas that could make swimming lessons a little more fun for the parents.
Ear Plugs Not for the swimmers. For the parents. During Grace’s group, the kiddos give us a 30-minute concert of crying, whining, and (from my child) ear-piercing screams. Instead of suffering through the headaches, we could just pop in some ear plugs and rock on.
Fondue Fountain I’m not sure if an explanation is actually needed for this one. Chocolate releases happy endorphins. Or something like that. Unleash the chocolate and let it flow!
Game Show Network We should set up a table under the gazebo where we can make our guesses. Which kid can be eventually persuaded to put his face in the water? Which kid will scream the longest? How far will she run before her mom catches her? There are endless possibilities. Possibly walking away with some extra cash would totally be a great motivation for sticking it out.
Water Slide Again. Not for the swimmers. For the parents. I’m thinking one of those ginormous inflatable slides with a pool at the bottom. This could be an excellent distraction for us while we would otherwise be sweating to death, trying to remember why this particular torture is a good idea, gulping down ibuprofen for the massive headaches all the screaming and whining brought on.
DJ Swimmy Swim We could hire a lifeguard / DJ to watch the kids and spin some Summer Hits of the 90s. Combine this with the chocolate stuff and I might be picking up a Nobel Prize. You’re welcome.
I will definitely be thinking of these ideas in a couple of hours when I’m getting through today’s lesson. We are very happy with our SAINT of an instructor. They are learning, even when they’re screaming. And even though I joke about how awful it is, this is so incredibly important and I’m very grateful for our lessons.