Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Taking a Dive: Or Why Swim Lessons are Ruining My Life

She talks about going to swim lessons all day and night. She tells her preschool teacher about them and brags about how brave she is in the water. She picks out her bathing suit the day before. She gabs it up all the way there. The swim teacher calls her name and she begins to cry. Monday, the teacher just picked her up and took her to the pool with success. Today, no such luck. She started screaming “NO MAMA I WANT TO GO HOME!” Like over and over again. And I had a split second to decide what to do. Take her home? Or push her forward with this harmless activity? And there I was, THAT mom, dragging the kicking, screaming child to the edge of the pool—in front of bleachers packed with parents. And when the teachers couldn’t coax her in, I PUT her in the pool and passed her off . . . still screaming. One of the teachers just took her around the pool all by herself while the class began. I moved my stuff to sit poolside, asking myself how long do I let this go on before I take the kid out of the water??? After she’d warmed up a bit, she was placed on the steps with the other little ones, where she turned to me, wailing and mouthing “mamamamamamamama. IwannagohomeIwannagohome.” I was simultaneously heartbroken and furious. I want to cry at that sad face and at the same time just drop her in so she can learn like those of us who grew up in the 80s. I mean, what the hell? Lessons are four days a week for two weeks. Today is the second to last day of the second week! And every third try or so she’s just fine. So . . . WHAT?! There’s no rhyme or reason about any of it and the worst part is that I never know how it’s going to go, so I worry all day. Never mind that I kill myself getting her ready and there every day just so I can sit in the sweltering heat to watch her cry on the steps. Today, I had to sit on a cement block near the pool so she could see me. Yep. Cement block—quite probably the only thing more uncomfortable than standing at the moment.

By the end, she had the one sweet teacher just totally snowed. When all the other kids were jumping in the water in the big pool, Amelia was comparing toenail polish with the high school lifeguard. And when the class walked back to their parents, she carried Amelia like a little baby saying to me, “I don’t want her feet to get hot. She’s just so cute. SOOOOO CUTE. I just love her to pieces. Soooo cute.”  And I’m like, the hell? So at least she has a friend who doesn’t mind holding a private lesson for my inexplicably uncooperative child.

It’s important to note too, that Amelia comes to me saying, “MAMA! I jumped into the BIG pool! I’m such a BIG girl. I was sooooo brave.” Even though I saw her insist on having her hands held as she just falls into the water. No jumping involved. And then later, “I had good fun at swim lessons Mama.”  Longest eight days ever.

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