Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Swimming Lessons - 2015 - the beginning (Updated)

Last summer, M & E took swimming lessons at Pelican Bay Aquatic Center (aka the city pool).  It was first thing in the morning, eight levels of lessons happened simultaneously, and it was great and very popular with moms of more than 1 kid.  The kids loved it. I loved it and E seemed fine with it.  He didn't participate as mommy & me lessons are later in the morning during my normal work day and he had a massive food injury for 1/2 of the weeks they were in swimming lessons.  I left the experience with visions of all three children miraculously in swimming lessons for their appropriate levels this summer while I sat in the shade at the side of the pool. (Hint - this is not possible anywhere else in the metro that I've been able to locate.....)

So, this spring when it was time for swimming lessons sign-ups I went to the website on the very first day and found out they had subcontracted out the swimming lessons and signups would be later.  I checked most weeks through the housing crazy because this was important to me and so fun for them.  Finally, the last week in may there was still nothing and I tweeted the city, who got back to me a bit later with a link.  To my incredibly disappointment there are now 5 levels, in stead of 9.  This means there is no three year old class.  Also, not every level is offered at every time slot.  And of course somehow some sections were filled.  This meant that to have all three kids in lessons one or more kids would have to sit on the side of the pool through his/her siblings' lessons.  Also, they are now 4.5 times more expensive than lessons at the Y.  Also, I have guilt about never having done mommy and me swimming with E after doing it with the others.  The kids were insanely excited about lessons at pelican bay and it was their #1 request for summer activities.

For a variety of reasons, I moved my work schedule to straight afternoons, which did allow for the possibility of having kids in the second time slot.  Ultimately, in a moment of crazy, I caved and signed them all up.  Within 1/2 an hour I realized that M had a camp the entire second week that conflicted and she would essentially miss half of her lessons. (House crazy seems to have impacted my normal focus).  I tried to switch them all to July and no one would answer the phone or call me back.  M agreed she would rather go now even if it was only for a little bit. Fine  I then sign the bigs up for two weeks of lessons at the Y at harder levels and a tiny fraction of the cost for the remainder of June.

Monday arrived and lessons were cancelled for two days due to pipe breakage and repairs.  The make up dates are both Friday.  This means M will only go 3 of the 8 days of lessons and probably to a class at the wrong level...

With all that drama, we cautiously drove to the pool this morning.  Good news! Swimming lessons and beautiful weather. B was up first and I sat on the deck with the other two.  B did well in his class.  He is about the middle of the road for this group.  One girl is a much better and truly beautiful swimmer with a beautiful glide, no splash, and good breathing.  The other girl can barely swim at all and is surrounded in huge amounts of splash. B can swim the distance and is less messy that Girl 2, but definitely nowhere near the league of Girl 1.  His coach spends a lot of the lesson assuring them that he will tailor the class to their needs and that he knows what he is doing and is a little smart---because he is in college....right.  B, exactly like his dad, talks a lot in class.  I do not talk in classes typically so this always surprises me.

During the lesson, M & E cannot, cannot wait to get in the water.  E is emo and yelling at me (cue time out #1 of the day...not the last) and I am practically physically restraining them from getting in the water. One of them asks me almost every minute how many minutes until their class.  B's class ends and E, adorably, brings him his towel.

B is happy with his lesson and ready to do his spanish ap time and watch us from the poolside.  M, for the first time ever, bravely walks confidently off with her teachers with no crying or hesitancy while all the other mothers try and coerce their children to join the class.   She really should probably be the next level up.... I did try to get her to switch to the early session and harder class, but failed.  Sigh -- chose other battles today and she has harder lessons coming up at the Y in two weeks so she'll be fine.

Then, I head to the mommy & me class with E.  There are five students in our class - all boys.  They are the predictable range of mommy & me kids.  There is the all-star "Solace" (seriously) who does everything his mom or the teacher asks quietly, well, and with great enthusiasm.  There is a wild child with his dad who is full of energy and not so good at listening, but who ultimately does all the things.  There is the athlete mom with her hesitant child, who isn't really on board and does protest, but mostly rallies.  Then, a mom with a boy who refuses to do most of the things, but only cries off and on.  Then, E and me--- E cries virtually non-stop the entire 35 minutes.  He will not, will not do anything asked of him.  He will only cling to me sobbing.  It does not matter if we are in the pool or sitting on the sidewalk.  Whatever we are doing he wants to be doing the opposite (even if it was the thing we were just doing).  This, in fairness, has been how each of our children has reacted to mommy & me classes more or less (although I think M was not quite this dramatic??).  How did I forget this? It was oh so familiar.  I am a much more experienced mom than I was last time this happened 5.5 years ago. I think I handled it better.

It still bothers me.  I still think every other mom either thinks I"m a horrible parent and/or feels totally horrible for me.  Neither is a great option. I know I shouldn't care, but still. In one attempt at setting him back on dry land, he crumples in to a crying mass on the sidewalk.  Awesome.  I stare at him for a bit contemplating my options and feel sure more and more people are questioning my sanity or parenting.  Yet with three kids I can't really leave until M's lesson is complete, particularly as she is only having three lessons for this outrageous price and clearly loving every single minute across the pool and being the all-star of her class.

After lessons, M is effusive and delighted at the entire experience. E insists on being carried to the car.  We load everyone and start home.  He then asks when swimming lessons are........

This afternoon in a moment of insanity I let the babysitter take them back to the pool.  M & B are strong enough swimmers to be safe in that environment with lifeguards, no worries.  A mom I know (and who taught E last year) was there with her kids so there was another set of eyes and B's friend P.  They were there for two hours.  During that time, E only agreed to briefly wade and then sat next to his babysitter the entire time eating snacks.  The big kids had the best time and were full of stories and sporting sun burns.

E spent most of the evening getting in trouble for hitting people, not listening, pushing people, etc... It appears that three may be his difficult year.  That is no fun.  I so hope he learns to love the water eventually.  If lessons don't improve in the next two days I don't think we'll try his next week and just take B to lessons and M to her camp.

So crazy -- memories in the making, right?

----------Day 2--------M audited B's class by watching from the side almost the entire time.  E didn't cry at all and did maybe 50% of the things he was supposed to do, although not always at the time the class was doing them.  MUCH improved.

1 comment:

Debra Dotter Blakley said...

M is very visual and will learn tons and tons by watching B's class, no pressure. It is also good to get to be the all-star once in a while. You should maybe have family swim night now and then and you and E just walk around together, you holding him and not asking anything of him. He will probably ask to be let in. He is a snuggler, that's for sure.


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