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!
That’s awesome!! Glad to see she wasn’t affected in a negative way with the survival lessons. We have to sign little man up for them soon. The wifey and I are definitely not looking forward to the actual lessons but it looks like the rewards afterwards are definitely worth it! Although, an adult beverage may be needed afterwards to calm our nerves. 🙂
Caroline Calcote says
Way to go E! And don’t worry…she won’t even remember the traumatizing lessons once she’s an adult. At least until her therapist gets them out of her through regression techniques 🙂
Yayyyyy! Go E!! What a trooper (you too – not just her!).
This just confirms I need to sign B up for lessons soon!
Oh and she can join me in big feet club any day 🙂 I REALLY should have been a swimmer with my arms and legs. Not sure what happened there!
Jaci @ Ravings of a Mad Housewife says
Wow. That’s incredible!
How did you handle dragging her in there when she was that freaked out? My resolve would have broken the first time she screamed in the pool–I would have angrily snatched her out of there and told the teacher to F off.
Which is why my 5 year old can’t swim and screams in the shower when “It’s in my eyes! Heeeeelllllp! ARGH!!!!” She gets in the baby pool with swimmies (those arm floaty things?) and googles and chews out anyone who dares splash her.
Paula @ Eat: Watch: Run says
OMG, that first picture is heart breaking. LOL The fact that you turned around and snapped that one in her distress is pretty funny. But looks like she did great! She’s a water baby now.
And check out that pretty red hair! I give her 10 more years until she’s dying it an atrocious color to give her mom a heart attack like I did. 🙂 < —– natural red head
Oh man, now you all are making me feel like the meanest mom ever! No, it was hard making her go. Very hard. I was ready to throw in the towel after the first week but DadJovi and friends of ours (graduates of the program) convinced me to keep going. The problem was that before the lessons, E *thought* she could swim. Every time we were near a pool, she would run and jump in, no matter how much water she gulped down. I was starting to freak out that she would dry-drown in her sleep. And she would NEVER let us hold her in pools, which was nice and relaxing for as I hovered 3 millimeters from her at all times. If she had normal toddler fear of water, we might have held off for another year or so.
So yes, those were three brutal weeks and I felt horrible making her go through the lessons. But today? I’m glad she and I both stuck it out!
You’re not a mean mom in any way. You fall under the awesome mom category. You did everything you needed to do to ensure her safety and the best part is that she still loves to swim. 🙂
Paula @ Eat: Watch: Run says
I’m just giving you a hard time! 🙂 But you can’t help but feel sorry for her in that first pic. I’m mean…it’s SO cute and sad at the same time. And now you don’t have to freak out everytime she’s in water. So, it was worth it!
More Info says
Generally I would not learn report for websites, even so prefer to claim that that write-up pretty compelled everyone to think about in addition to implement it! Ones writing style have been stunned me personally. Appreciate it, fairly good write-up.