Swim Lessons Then and Now

August 8, 2011 at 2:16 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments
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When I was a kid my mom enrolled my sister and I in swim lessons. I was about 8 and my sister was about 5. Coincidentally, she also enrolled us in Vacation Bible School that same summer, and to this day my sister swears she thought God wanted her to drown. I didn’t make the same connection, but I wasn’t thrilled with the arrangement, either. I spent my mornings crying about having to put my face in the water, and my afternoons gluing together “I Heart Jesus” bookmarks with very little idea who this Jesus character was anyway.

Needless to say, neither my sister nor I took too well to the water. I will at least go off the diving board now (albeit feet first with nose pinched), but as far as swimming, I keep my head firmly above the water.

So today when I took Liam to swim lessons at the YMCA, imagine my shock when the instructor told me to stand back from the edge, hold onto Liam’s shins, and LET GO. Say what now? I observed all the other kids splashing their heads under the water, flailing their little arms until they gained purchase, and pulling themselves up onto the ledge. Then I observed Liam, angry as a wet cat, who had been screaming bloody murder for the past 15 minutes, and I really didn’t think I had it in me to send my precious cargo off to drown. I wouldn’t have been happy had the tables been turned. But thankfully the instructor persisted, and with her help I turned him around, grabbed his little waist, whispered a little apology, and LET GO. And you know what? He didn’t drown! He swam to the edge, and with a little boost, pulled himself on the ledge. He wasn’t happy about it, but he did it! After a few tries, I felt better about letting go. Thought Liam appeared to hate it every time.

Next we practiced floating, something Liam HATED doing in last year’s good-for-nothing class. But the instructor told me to hold him by the shoulders, then hold him under his head with my other hand on his forehead so he’s doing most of the floating. And what do you know, Liam did it! He still didn’t like it. But he did it.

You’re probably wondering why I’m even bothering with swim lessons this early, especially when it’s clear Liam hates it. But now that we’re living in Florida with the option of getting a house with a pool, I want to raise my kids to swim. Perhaps if I’d had instruction at an earlier age, I’d feel more comfortable in the water. Or maybe it’s just genetics – my parents aren’t much for swimming, either. Liam doesn’t have to join the swim team, but I want him to enjoy playing in the water more than I did, and I want him to be safe. So, seven more classes to go, and with any luck he’ll stop screaming through the entire class at some point.



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  1. Yay Liam! Swimming is SUCH an important skill. The earlier they start, the better they’ll be at it. Good for you 🙂

  2. He will get there, maybe not this session but eventually. Miles always hated getting his head wet and being on his back in the water. I never had the nerve to just throw him in. He did like being in the water, but only on his terms. This summer was his first swim lessons and he went from day one of being afraid to put his head under to swimming like a fish and going off the diving board (all by himself!!!) and swimming to the edge, including swimming on his back. He absolutely loves it. Just keep exposing Liam and you will get there.

  3. Thanks for the encouragement, you guys! Glad to know it got better for Miles. It’ll probably be the same for Liam, too. BTW, I think Liam is definitely right-handed. Now that he’s actually eating with a spoon and fork, I can tell, lol.

  4. This post was downright hilarious. I still can’t get over your vacation bible school/swim lesson summer. Classic!

  5. So, day #2 of swim lessons was even worse than the first. Instead of screaming the whole time, he just pleaded, “Want out! Want my towel! Want a break!” I couldn’t help but laugh at him. And he managed to escape three times. One of the teachers had to catch him and bring him back. Class today was better. He only screamed half the time and only escaped twice. We’re getting there, lol!

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