little fish, big pond (pool)

Maggie took her second swim lesson yesterday morning.  I have been holding out hopes that she has inherited some of the Day family swimming genes.  They are all pretty much like fish.  My family, well, we are not.  We swim when the alternative is drowning.

I knew she would need to get instruction from someone other than me.  I have too many fears of my nose and mouth simultaneously filling with water to be much of a coach.

Her first lesson was actually the second lesson, but she missed the real first one because of strep throat.  So her first time in the pool (not ever, but the first lesson) she did great.  She followed directions, she paid attention and was game for whatever they asked her to try.

Towards the end of the lesson she gulped up a ton of water and surfaced with the all too familiar (for myself, that is) look of complete shock and horror at the water that had intruded places it’s not supposed to be.  I had ever seen her face with that expression in the four and a half years that she has been alive.  I had to restrain myself from running to the pool and scooping her out.  She did the also all too familiar – I am going to get to the edge of the pool and my head is not going to come anywhere near the water, in fact, I might find the power to glide above the surface with half my body.  Yah, I know that feeling too.

She made it to the edge.  She sat for a moment while the next pupil attempted the same task.  To my relief and surprise, she was ready to go the next time it was her turn.  I would have been out of the pool with my towel around my shoulders saying “See you around the block.”  (which is also part of the reason I never mastered underwater swimming.)

I mentioned to my husband the underwater bit, and the look on her face.  

“That’s how you learn.  Everybody does that.”

Well, not this everybody.  But again, I am not who we want her to get her swimming skills from.

She reported that she loved swim class and we waited for the week to pass by to attend again.

The second swim lesson was a bit more vigorous, I would say.  At one point I glanced up to count the children (4:1) and only counted three.  Then I alarmingly realized mine was the one I was not counting.  A moment later she surfaced.  She had taken her turn jumping in and had sunk like a rock.  She came up a little startled, but in good shape.  But again with the I’m totally going to swim the rest of the way with half of my body out of the water just so my nose doesn’t go under again.

These jumping-in activities were performed at the edge of the deep end.  I would be dishonest if I told you I was comfortable with my child sitting half-supervised next to 10 feet of open water.  But, I am trying to play along – and there is a lifeguard two feet away who would respond to my hysteria if it came to that.

The first three children “dove” in with their hands over their heads.  The instructor was right there to spot them.  It was Maggie’s turn.  I waited to see how she would do.  Then the conversation started.  I will paraphrase since I was 40 feet and two glass doors away.

“It’s your turn Maggie.”

Maggie shakes head no.

“Just try it one time.  I will be right here.”

Maggie shakes head no again.

“Just do this” – makes motion with hands of a half-way version.

Maggie shakes head no again.

“OK, you don’t have to try it.  Let me know if you change your mind.”

The other three do it for a second time.

“Do you want to try it Maggie?  One time?”

Maggie shakes whole body no.

They move on to the slide.  Again, Maggie is very cautious.  She looks as though she will decline.  The instructor coaxes her to try with the promise of a foam noodle to help break the fall into the 10 foot water.

She looks like she is going to puke on the way up.  I think at any minute she will turn around and come back down.  A moment later she comes down the slide, grabs the noodle and swims to the edge with the biggest smile ever on her face.

Turns out the slide was the best part of the whole lesson.

The jury is still out on who she will swim like.  I see parts of me, but I also see parts of my husband.  I will be happy if she learns enough to save her own life, and then never has to prove it.


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