Saturday, July 16, 2011

Benefit of Swimming lessons

I am not sure what the benefit really is.
Friday afternoon we suited up both kids and took them into the pool a little early. I walked through the locker room hand in hand with the Boy and when we turned the corner and could see the pool he stopped dead in his tracks and started crying. I tried to reassure him that he was going to have fun and he had nothing to worry about and come on, lets go out and see the nice instructors and find Kat and try to have fun.
Just then, he saw Kat run into the pool (btw, zero entry pools= the best pool entry ever) and he chased her into the water. He was up to his knees chasing Kat and looked like he was having fun for maybe 20 seconds before he realized that he is scared of the water. Or hates getting wet or whatever it is that runs through his brain and makes him stand there and cry.
So then we proceded with the swim lesson.
Which isn't so much a lesson as it is an effort to help him realize that just being in the water isn't so bad. To be honest, he has moments where he is either distracted or forgets that he thinks that he needs to cry constantly and he smiles and looks like he is having fun. He splashes the instructor or throws the ball or watches other kids playing catch and you can see he wants to play catch, too. But then he remembers that he doesn't like water or wet or whatever it is and he stands there an emits an ongoing cry with his runny nose while he gently moves his arms and splashes the water.

And really - it makes me kind of crazy.

Because while I desperately want him to like the water as much as I do. And I have visions of me and the boy snorkling someplace cool like Hawaii or Key Largo or really anywhere because snorkling is a blast. Then maybe take scuba lessons then we could dive all of the cool places in the world.
It makes me kind of crazy because so far what he has learned (maybe a little) in swim lessons is that maybe he doesn't need to be constantly afraid of the water. That just maybe that isn't the theme music from JAWS that he hears when he sees a body of water larger than the plastic cup full that he is about to throw on the dog.
So while maybe he has learned that water itself isn't so horrible, what I don't see him learning in the remaining five days is how to hold his breath. I don't see him learning how to roll over and float and keep his nose out of the water. I don't see him completing the circle of skills that says water isn't necessarily bad, but you need to develop skills that makes it not bad. Like holding your breath or learning to float or staying out of it when it isn't safe.

Because this is what really is making me crazy.

I cannot watch him for every minute of every day. I cannot stay attached to his hand or within the circle of safety all the time. There are times I leave the house and go to the store. There are times I take a shower. There are times I am on the computer or cooking supper or doing laundry or taking a nap.
He is so fast. He wants to be independent. He wants to explore the whole world that he can see as well as everything he cannot see. He wants to do it by himself so he appears to plot as to when no one is looking so that he can take off and find out what makes the grass green or the birds fly or what is over that retaining wall ledge or under that porch. He has no concept of danger or safety or fear. Not even of water, it seems. (Still)
And he should.
Explore, that is. Every little child I have ever met has wanted to explore and understand everything around in this enourmous world.
I just need him to do it safely. To not break an arm climbing a tree. To not fall off a retaining wall or deck. To not get stepped on by the cow in the pasture next door.
So that the next time he falls in the water, he will hold his breath until he can get himself out. Not try and drink the entire pond.

Monday, July 11, 2011

NOW the boy takes lessons!

Last month Jill and I researched swim lessons for the kids. We found the local pool offers 45 minute lessons, 5 days a week for two weeks... 3 and under, then 4 and above.

Katerina has declared to everyone that SHE is going to become a MERMAID! I think she is looking forward to it.

We aren't sure WHAT Kyle thinks. We have tried explaining to him that he is taking swim lessons and he doesn't react much. We have had Kat explaine to Kyle that he will be taking swim lessons and he tackles her. Since he tackles her almost daily, we didn't read too much into it.

We started looking into lessons because Kyle had been increasingly upset whenever we put him in the bathtub and we were concerned he was having flashbacks or some such thing and we didn't want him to be afraid of water.

So tonight was the first night. Since he has been a bit of a mothers boy lately, Jill got to sit with him during his lesson and I took Kat to the wading pool. Kat spent more time watching Kyle than she did wading. Then again, I spent more time watching Kyle than watching Kat. Throughout the lesson the instructors were great. When Jill first took Kyle into the water, the instructor noticed that he didn't want to go any farther in than his ankles. She came over and talked to Jill to find out what his experience has been with water. After that she stayed with Kyle for one on one instruction for the entire lesson. After the lesson was over for everyone else, another instructor came over and worked with Kyle for an additional 15 minutes. During this time, Kat and I went into the pool and used Katerina to motivate Kyle to step a little deeper into the water to give Kat a hug, which he did. He was willing to walk into water up over his waist in order to hug his sister. After the lesson, the instructors played catch with him so that he could associate having fun with the water.

I hadn't realized how tense I was until he got out of the pool and we dried him off. I think all of us took a big step tonight.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Girl turns FOUR!

First, I want to let everyone know that the Boy is doing great! All we notice about him is that while he LOVES to splash in the water, he doesn't like to get IN the water... As we have signed him up for swim lessons next week, I hope he gets over it pretty quick.

Next, as the post reads, the girl has celebrated another birthday. I have been traveling almost every other week for quite a while and I got home from my latest trip ON her birthday. She was so excited to see me and could not wait to tell me that she was having a BIRTHDAY!
A couple of days later we had the grandmothers over along with the sisters and her cousins. And of course Grand-Pop Francis. Grandma Pat outdid herself with a pink cake that had a real Bar-B sticking out of the center of it. Girl's eyes got huge when she saw her cake. As you can see from the picture, we had homemade ice cream to go with the party. We topped off the afternoon with a water balloon contest that resulted in the kids getting all wet.
We continued the celebration on the 4th by going to her favorite park, then to a old time rendezvous to see a tee pee and settlers. Then it was off to see Grandma Sandy at the rodeo along with some cousins. A very full day for both of them.