Luke started swimming lessons today. And if you ask him about them, he will happily inform you that they were “so much fun!” and that he “can’t wait to go back and swim more tomorrow!”. Which is wonderful! Except for the parts where it’s horrifying.
Disclaimer: these are the first of any type of lesson or group sport or extra-curricular activity I’ve ever had a kid participate in. Luke and I are still journeying through so much uncharted territory together and every time he experiences a ‘first’, I’m experiencing his first right there with him. I thought I had this whole parenting thing down once I figured out how to go grocery shopping with two kids by myself. But then Satan was like, “JK. Swim lessons are coming. Good luck.”
So here’s how it all went down:
10:45- Run down our last minute check list: Diapers, wipes, snacks for the little one, towels, swimsuit and swim diapers in case Samuel is allowed in at some point, sunscreen. Done. Oh. It’s pouring rain? No problem. Samuel and I were actually hoping we’d be sitting beside a pool in just exactly this type of weather today! Swap sunscreen for umbrella. Bam.
11:00-Arrive. No parking available unless I have the driving skills of either Dale Earnhardt Jr. or my husband, which I don’t. Find street parking instead.
11:02- *Rain miraculously stops* Unload both children and all of our junk (sans sunscreen)
11:04- Look around for some sort of sign or person indicating where I should be going. Walk tentatively up to the door. See no sign. Have a vivid waking dream about knocking on the door and having a grumpy old man who is tired of seeing his house used for swimming lessons answer and bark at me that business isn’t conducted at his front door. Back away slowly. Find a sign that says “Pool”. Assume that I should follow that thing.
11:05- Walk into an enormous and very beautiful backyard. Don’t immediately see a pool, but hear children screaming in the background. Feel. Reassured?
11:05and a half- Screaming child gets louder and is very obviously experiencing some sort of distress while simultaneously splashing. Sense of foreboding increases.
11:06- Arrive at the pool! See 4 or 5 kids about Luke’s age. Walk through the gate and glance around at the adults; none of whom seem to be in charge. Spot a woman with a clipboard. Assume she’s probably official in some capacity. Receive no instruction from her, but proceed to assume that Luke can jump into the pool next to his class.
11:07- Luke starts to repeatedly dunk himself under the water because he’s so excited about his new-found ability to ‘dive’. Still no adult has talked to me or asked what my child’s name is. But I trust them all to keep him alive for the next 30 minutes…apparently.
11:08-Pull Samuel away from the pool edge. He’s not super happy about that and tells me, “Mama! I jump!” and I have to explain to him that he’s too young to die, etc.
11:09- Pull out the animal crackers. Wonder if they’ll kick me out for having food near the pool. Glance around for a sign that says “No food”. Don’t see one. Still have no contact with an adult.
11:15-Have the pants scared off me while Luke continues to insist that he has to go under the water every three seconds.
11:16- His teacher saves his life.
11:17- His teacher saves his life again. My faith in her increases.
11:18-His teacher is helping another kid so I’m watching mine like a hawk and having a vivid waking dream where I’m jumping in the pool to save his life in my salmon pink skinny jeans and driving home sopping wet.
11:19- Animal crackers are no longer a worthy distraction. The little one hops off my lap and starts throwing pool noodles around like some sort of wild animal. The grandma next to me gives a friendly chuckle which makes me feel better about my parenting skills. I then point the 2-year-old over to the swing set on the other side of the pool gate.
11:25- Luke practices floating on his back. I cheer loudly, give him a thumbs up and then realize I’m going to be a really embarrassing mom when he’s older. But for now he just beams at me. So all is good.
11:27- Samuel comes back from the swings and wants to “jump” again. I pull out the trusty animal crackers. He is appeased.
11:30- Free swim. The teacher hands Luke a pool noodle, folds it in half and shows him that it will help him float. His eyes sparkle at this new-found independence and I have a mini-heart attack because now he’s just swimming around the pool with nothing but a noodle between he and a watery grave and there are 5 additional 4-year-olds being watched by one teacher. And now Samuel is bored.
11:35- Luke swims to the deep end. I call his name. He ignores me. I call his name again. He ignores me again. I quickly help Samuel take his shoes and socks off and tell him he can put his toes in the water. He agrees enthusiastically. We walk to the deep end and I ask Luke to please swim back over to his class and then re-fold his pool noodle which was barely keeping him afloat at this point because it had somehow become only one layer of noodle. He feels pretty cool about this whole ‘swimming with nothing but a noodle’ thing. I reassure him that he IS pretty cool for swimming with nothing but a noodle.
11:37- I hesitantly make the decision to let Samuel get into the water.
11:38- I instantly regret my decision when I notice how narrow the steps are. I really don’t want to live the reality of that day-dream where I’m in soaking wet, pink pants. But there’s no going back at this point; Samuel is way too thrilled about being in the water.
11:39- I now have two children in the water while I’m out of the water. Satan is laughing somewhere, I can feel it.
11:40- A nice old man who had been teaching the advanced swim class comes and offers to take Samuel for a swim. He loves it.
11:45- The instructor blows the whistle to indicate that free swim is over and everyone needs to get out.
11:45and a half- I feel like a survivor. Samuel is pretty distraught about having to get out so soon. Some of the adults comment on how much he must love swimming. That ice-breaker enables the lady with the clipboard and I to have our first actual conversation wherein I realize my checkbook had fallen out of my backpack earlier. But she wasn’t worried about it and said it’d be fine for me to pay next time.
12:00- We drive home. I listen to Luke chatter about how much fun he had and tell him how close he is to being able to swim without a floaty and he is genuinely thrilled.