Wednesday, August 6, 2008

if you don't learn how to swim, you will drown and DIE!!

i know it sounds harsh, but desperate times call for desperate measures. we are currently in our own private hell called swim lessons. summer after summer, i put myself through this torture. i'm not sure what motivates me to try this every year. perhaps it has something to do with the title, or maybe its just what you do with kids in the summertime. in any event, my kid is that kid. you know the one that screeches and whines just getting in the pool... never mind that once she's in you have to hold her with a death grip just to quell the panic. day after day (they go for 10 long days, and we've only finished day 3) it seems to get progressively worse. the first day she seemed a lot more confident than last year, perhaps that's because last years swim lessons consisted of me, and the teacher in the water each time, and her barely leaving the steps. she wouldn't even let the teacher hold her... why you ask... he was a boy. this year i signed her up with her little friend and specifically requested a female teacher, with the hopes of some lasting change in her swim career. i was dead wrong, let me just set the stage for the first day.
we get there and and there are like 12 kids all with goggles, swim caps and speedos (maybe not the caps). the instructor says ok, jump in and lets get our ears wet!" as if that's perfectly normal. i'm like, are you f-in kidding me? i didn't get my ears wet till i was six! perhaps that's where she gets it. in any event this class was def out of our league, so we transferred to the mommy and me, where we were once again resigned to squirt toys and sing wheels on the bus. i'm thinking, i paid $150 for what exactly? so now i've got a crying lily being carried by the teacher over to me and oz in the other class. so how am i supposed to do this? i turn to the steps and see my mom wading into the water in capris and a collared shirt. at first i'm mortified, then i realize that i'm not 16 and really, she's basically saving the day. again. so we end the first day with the two most timid kids in the world. i leave feeling discouraged. but resolve tomorrow will be better.
not so much.
maybe worse.
so i run into a mom i know at traders on tues- you know just enough removed that they don't really know how crazy my kids are. i'm still in my suit from the earlier fiasco so they ask what i'm up to. i start to go into the whole shebang about how horrible swim has been and blah blah blah whats wrong with my kids. she just looks at me with that phony empathy face, you know that smile like, "i don't have any idea what you're talking about!" after i realize i'm not in a therapy session, i snap out of it and say, "so how are you guys anyway?" she says, "oh we're good, yeah we did swim lessons early this summer." me, "oh cool, how'd it go?" "great, gosh little sara is just a fish, you're lucky they're cautious, that's just being safe. sara is going under and jumping in, she's fearless out there!" me, "that's awesome! great, good to see you..."
back bragger i mumble as i walk away. which leads me to my next annoying mom issue.
it really could use its own separate post, but i'll touch on it here. the back brag. let me give you a perfect example from my own life (i have millions).

back bragging mom (bbm)- so how are things going? gosh oz sure is getting big! is he walking yet?
me- uh, no, not yet.
bbm- gosh, how old is he now?
me- (reluctantly) he's what, 15 months (really 15.5)
bbm- wow, you're lucky though. little petey's been not just walking, but running since 10 months! we are just chasing him everywhere.
me- yeah i guess.
there's your basic back brag. that one's a pretty natural one, but its really good when you get someone doing everything in their power to steer the conversation to brag about their kid. it's like me saying to a mom having trouble potty training her toddler... "gosh you're lucky little tommy's 4 and still not potty trained, lily was done with diapers before she was 2.5! what a pain it was always having to take her potty and not buy diapers.
come on.
the things us moms do and think!
so anyway, i apologize if i come off to cynical, i guess i'm just a little wounded about my non-amphibious kids. just another time i'm reminded that i have no control over these guys... they are who they are, one of them being a prima donna. in any event i'll keep you posted on the outcome, tomorrow is "dunking day." that should go over well uh?


si said...

the problem is not lily. the problem is the swim class. that is way too aggressive for swim lessons over such a short span of time. it took max a year to learn to swim and we did it at his own pace. at first he acted just like lily. it took weeks for him to get comfortable and dunking is a HUGE deal. it's really important for them to be comfortable with the person in the water and to develop trust before the dunk. if the dunk is a bad experience, learning will take much longer, especially at that age. check out the Murray Callan Swim School online and then find a place that takes it slow. Murray Callan is only in San Diego, but other places should have that philosophy. it's more expensive, though. i get it if that's a deterrent, but i think you are wasting $150 on such an accelerated course if she's not into it. some kids are totally into and that might be good for them. admittedly, we spent a ton on swim lessons, but max is charging now and even though it took a long time it was worth it. (how is that for back bragging?) just passing along what we learned from experience. dang. that should have been a post from the swim lesson expert.

Kelly Meirik said...

I love the bbm- I'm so adopting that. My girlfriend down the street will get such a kick out of it. I'll go brag about your back bragging! Yea, umm I agree with Si, that seems ludicrous to me as well. We didn't make it out of swim class alive last year- Noah caught Roseola Infantum from one of the other swimmers & it pretty much traumatized him. I kept trying to push him as he was like a dead fish in the pool- when we got to the car I noticed he was him home he was 104! Needless to say we haven't gone back. MorMor (grandma in norwegian) has a pool so we just hit her up with some flotation device & call it swim class!
hugs to the fam.

Holls said...

you guys are awesome. thanks for the encouragement. no back bragging there si- i've seen max in the water and he shreds. the bummer is around here we just have these janky pools with college/high school instructors. maybe i should put an ad on craigslist.. "crazy ass mom seeking a calm, patient, olympic coach to teach her crazy ass kid to swim"
kell- whens that baby up out anyway?

Anna Hosking said...

I taught swim lessons all throughout high school and part of college and there are many, many kids like Lily. You probably just don't see them a group classes but the ones that are timid do MUCH better with one-on-one lessons. It might not be a bad idea to see if there is a swim instruction at church or at Cal Poly who would do one-on-one lessons (or someone that use to teach who might not anymore but is wililng to take on one kid). The only problem is finding a pool. but one-on-one will really help her out.

Also, spend as much time as you can at the pool. The more exposure she has the less indimadating it is.

zaiahbird said...

Wow. I feel slightly offended and I don't get offended ever!!! MY KID IS A FISH AND HE DID WALK AT 10 MONTHS SO THERE! Just kidding. They did awesome today Hols and you are a trooper. Just smiling and laughing through it all. I swear that one teacher is awesome. He needs to do private lessons.

Linda Z said...

(Very personal topic for me... sorry if I get a little impassioned here!! Just hope you can get something good out of my misery.)

I remember my swimming lessons so incredibly vividly. The first one, the instructor thought I was doing well, took me out to deeper waters and then let me bob up and down gasping for air. I thought I was going to drown... I will never forget that.

The second experience, I went to a 3 foot deep pool. The instructor had me put out my arms and then proceeded to throw me across the pool like an "airplane." I panicked, thinking I would hit my head on the edge of the pool when I landed and then I bellyflopped. I will never forget that either.

I finally learned to swim, but after all that, it wasn't until I was 8. I went through years of embarrassment because these experiences had cultivated such fear. A classmate ended up teaching me... she was patient and I was finally ready to try again.

To this day, I'm not afraid of the water, but I am afraid of drowning. In all sincerity, I would recommend floaties and life jackets and a close watchful eye, fun times in a little blow up pool, and patience until the kids are comfortable and ready to learn.

acostaphotography said...

Micah wants nothing more than just jump off the diving board. I'm sure one day he'll get a medal. Holly I think you should just give up on the water thing. I know with the Olympics and all, we parents all want our own little Torres or Phelps's around. Some kids just aren't cut out for a life filled with liquid pleasure. have Lilly take up some more Terra Firma activities, like video games, or gardening. there ain't no shame in the vegetable thing.