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.

1 comment:

SurprisedMom said...

My youngest was like your boy. She would put on a life preserver and then WALK around the pool. She wouldn't get in the water. She did NOT like the water. We took her for swimming lessons. They didn't take. She still doesn't know how to swim and doesn't really care.

As parents we want to keep our children safe. Unfortunately, we can't keep them entirely safe unless we put them in a cocoon. That just doesn't happen, no matter how hard we try. If your child is curious, and there are so few that aren't, we can just be there to pick up the pieces... and put our thudding hearts back in place.

Good luck with the lessons!