As you may remember, E’s swim lessons were painful. Very painful. Every day of the three-week lessons was a disaster. She clearly saved her poop all day long because suddenly, just before every lesson, she HAD TO GO POTTY (her emphasis, not mine). And they were marathon sessions.
When she realized those stall techniques weren’t going to work anymore, she came up with a new one — the death grip. It started in the car. This was her on her last day of lessons (and she did it every day leading up to then, too), holding on to the car seat straps for dear life. I’m pretty sure I almost broke her finger one day trying to pry her fingers off them.
And then when we’d finally get to the pool deck, she’d use the same death grip to hold onto her coverup. It would take both me and the instructor to finally wrest it off her body.
I know why she hated the lessons. They were traumatizing for us all. They were survival lessons, though, so I think that’s sort of the point. Her instructor did his best to drown her, and she did her best to survive his Machiavellian techniques. For example, on her second to last day, I had to dress E. in her heaviest clothes — jeans, sneakers, and a long-sleeved sweatshirt. And then he threw her in. Sink or swim time, baby.
Despite her protests, she performed like a rock star. She may have cried for her entire 10-minute lessons, but her instructor assured me was actually learning, too. I had my doubts.
We decided to test out her new skills as soon as possible. We hit up a pool on Saturday, and lo and behold, she not only wasn’t afraid to get in, she was ready to show off what she learned.
Yes, that’s my baby floating — all be herself! And we didn’t even prompt her to do it. This was all her doing. In fact, we tried to keep things really casual and not push the swimming but she was all about it. She kept dunking her head underwater. She kept trying to do some kicks and my girl was a floating fool!
I may have cried a few happy tears. I was so afraid that not only would the lessons not work but they would have made her afraid of the water. Not so. They gave her — and us — a whole new level of confidence.
By the next day, she was even more confident. This time, she was swimming. Not floating. Not just kicking. My girl can flat out SWIM!
She’d start on the steps, put her head under water and kick and paddle her way out to DadJovi. Look how far that is!
Now she’s doing all sorts of amazing feats — jumping of the sides of the pool by herself and swimming over to one of us; going underwater and swimming a bit, then flipping herself onto her back until she catches her breath, then going back underwater to head to the wall; and hanging out in a circle intertube and kicking around the whole pool. But the best part of all — she’s loving it. No more tears!
When E was born, everyone couldn’t get over her huge feet (no joke: when they put the footprints on the hospital certificate, her feet were too big to fit). We all decided that since she’s a Florida baby and has freakishly long feet, then she was destined to be an Olympic swimmer. The lessons killed those fantasies for me, but now? The dream is alive and well. Wonder if Michael Phelps or Dara Torres are taking on any trainees because my 3 year old is ready to make a splash!