Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Just Keep Swimming
This summer we had the kids take swimming lessons. This is Erin's third year of lessons so she was pretty used to them and really excited about them. I didn't expect her to cry like she did when she was three, but I also didn't expect her to do as well as she did. From the first day whenever they asked who wanted to be first she'd excitedly raised her hand. She had no trouble talking, doing anything the teacher asked or even swimming around the other five kids along the wall repeatedly, only to have all the other kids do the same. It's a little surprising that the teacher allowed them to do that while she was out with other kids, but as it turns out it was her first time teaching and the kids did get a lot of extra practice. Way to start a trend Erin.
I'm just amazed by how far she has come, and here's why. I would always see these other kids with no fear making friends anywhere they went, actually swimming at swimming parties, raising their hands at story time, performing Broadway musicals in front of thousands of people, etc. while my child cowered behind my leg if anyone so much as looked at her. Of course I know that it doesn't matter if you are a bit timid and aren't the first one to jump into things (coming from someone who was and still is a little that way). You can be a perfectly acceptable contributing member of society if you are a little shy (I keep telling myself that anyway), but it's just cool to see her come out of her shell like this.
At the end of her last class they got pushed down the big water slide by their teacher and Erin, with her newfound bravery, was the first one down. Jared caught this shot of her as she spun around at the end. I guess the fact that she didn't drown after that is a good sign that my money has been well spent.
Alex just finished his first round of lessons. Since he's not three yet we couldn't do the group lessons, but I wanted him to start so it was just him and Fred, his private instructor (for 10 minutes a day). For the first two days, Alex alternated between screaming and being pushed under the water toward the wall, followed by more screaming. After that I was sure that it was a huge waste, realizing that the only hopeful aspect about the lessons was that he was smart enough to stop screaming when he got shoved under.
But, to my amazement Alex walked right up to Fred that third day and did not scream once for the rest of the lessons (that is except for the hour before each terrifying event). He was counting imaginary fishes on the bottom of the pool, blowing bubbles, giving high fives, jumping in and turning around to touch the wall, and kicking by himself to the wall (he's still pretty young for the arms). Seriously though, it was an incredible transformation. In the end, it was worth the time and money. If nothing else, he will be that much more prepared for next summer. Way to go!
This picture was of his second lesson, so he was still has his worried face on. I didn't get any of his post screaming lessons, but you get the idea. Look how tan that guy is (not Alex, his teacher... just in case)
And speaking of swimming... for anyone that may not know this already, Florida is really, really hot in the summer, unbearably hot and sticky. You'd have to be crazy to go to the park in the summer. There are only two options for surviving the summer here: 1. shuffle your kids from one air conditioned space as quickly as possible to another (house, car, gym, car, house, car, museum, car, grocery store, car, house... and then collapse in your 78 degree cave) or 2. go swimming. The second option sounds pretty good, until you factor in all that comes with it: swim diapers, swimsuits, towels, sunscreen, snacks, water... and that's just the hour of prep time. Once you get there, that's when the real work begins. Kids are hanging on me in three directions, yelling that they're going to jump to me, kicking off my legs, swimming to the wall, trying to run around the deck and into the hot tub, asking me to put on their goggles (again!), or fighting over them at the edge of the deep end when I'm 30 feet away. Good grief, I spend the whole freaking time just making sure these kids don't drown! (You know what would be easier? Yeah, putting on a movie in the air conditioned home.) But, in order to survive Florida summers, we must go swimming... and heck, the kids have a blast (even if I get new gray hairs from each plunge).