Two Hundred Fifteen: Swim Mum

“This life is like a swimming pool. You dive into the water, but you can’t see how deep it is.”  -Dennis Rodman

Monday, August 4th

What is the right age for someone to start swimming lessons?

I was never into the idea of taking my infant or toddler into a pool, so now I have a four and a six-year-old who need to learn how to swim. Like all parenting issues, I have my own childhood to refer to. I was never put in lessons and my parents never taught me how to swim. They aren’t strong swimmers themselves, and it took its toll on me. I thought I was old enough to know how to swim, but I just didn’t have the skills. Once, I came down a water slide and didn’t quite come back up. So when we moved to a year-round sunny place with a pool I taught myself how to swim. My neighbor saw me struggling and taught me how to breathe underwater and master some basic strokes. It changed my world.

So both kids started swim lessons today. My daughter was nervous and my son didn’t balk at all. My husband and I took the kids in early so they could watch the class ahead of us. All was well until the kids had to line up on the edge of the pool. My daughter was fine and hopped right in the water with the assistance of a teacher. My son saw the other crying children and took the hint that there was something to be frightened of. It was painful to see him scared and crying.

It’s August 11th, and I’m writing this post late so I can tell you that my son’s nervousness continued on into the next day. I was ready to pull him from the class when the coordinator told me how much better he had done with staying on the side of the pool. I was irritated because I knew that if I took him on the third day he would just sit and cry. But wait, I had climbed into the pool to dissipate my nervousness and lack of skill in the water. Why couldn’t I do that with my son? So I scheduled a drop-off playdate for my daughter and took my little guy back to the pool so we could both swim together in a public swim. It was amazing. He giggled the entire time. He worked on all the skills that his teacher had been trying to teach him, and then some.

By Wednesday, he climbed into the pool on his own and spent the entire 30 minute class in the water. I now am parenting two little pollywogs!

What sort of failure/success have you referred to in order to help others in your life?


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