Today I took my youngest son to his very first swim lesson. Honestly, I'm still trying to recover from the experience. I've been through the swim lesson saga before, with my first, and it was quite the wild ride with him, too. Still, I wasn't expecting it to go so badly this time around, because unlike my first child, my second absolutely loves the water and has never been afraid of it. So it's safe to say that between my two boys, I'm quite familiar with the struggles of putting ones kids in swimming lessons. If you've ever considered putting your kid into swim school, or are a swim school survivor, you probably can relate to my woes.
Here, let me paint you a picture of my day: I picked up the little guy from school, and reminded him that we were off to our exciting "adventure" of swimming class. He had been looking forward to swim class basically all winter long (or so he said, as I no longer trust anything that comes out of the mouth of the 3 and under set). He immediately began to protest the swim lesson and thrashed about in his stroller. Then, as we approached the subway, he began to scream, "let me out! Let's find a secret door!" I have no idea where he got the idea of a secret door, but I intend to find out about that later.
When we got to swim school, he told me he was now "all growed up" and didn't need swim lessons anymore. He then continued screaming, and refused to get undressed or wear his swim diaper. The locker room cleared out because I assume his cries made the other children nervous. Once I won the getting dressed battle, I handed him to his swim teacher, then ran and hid under a bench until the end of class. Occasionally I peeked over to look through the observation window, but never for more than .5 seconds lest he spot me and commence hysterics.
Finally, the lesson was over. "Can we go back in, Mommy?" he asked, smiling ear to ear as I wrapped him in his towel. "He had so much fun by the end of the lesson!" his teacher told me.
Was my kid lobotomized while I hid under that bench? How did they do that, I wondered? Must be something in the pool, right? Either way, the whole experience was up there as one of the more stressful parenting things I've done, and though I know it's something that is very valuable for my son, I won't be treasuring this milestone moment. For now, swimming lessons and everything having to do with them, will simply be a struggle.
The Possibility That You Also Have To Get Wet
You may know a lot of moms who are all about putting their babies into swim lessons, like, right-out-of-the-womb-early, and you totally love and appreciate that idea. Just not for you personally. Because you, Mama, do not enjoy getting wet in the middle of the day. It doesn't work with your whole vibe, this showering and redoing your entire look from scratch.
When I was taking my older son to swim lessons last year, I used to park myself on the parent observation benches right in front of a water babies class for kids exactly my second son's age. I often felt a pang of guilt that I hadn't taken my baby to this adorable class. It looked like fun for both mom and baby. Then I realized part of that equation would mean that I would have to get wet, too, and this mom does not like getting wet and having to rinse off in the middle of the day in a questionably clean public locker room.
Forgetting To Pack Swim Diapers
How could you forget to pack swim diapers? Easy. You were busy packing wipes, sunscreen, a toy in case of boredom, snacks, backup snacks, separate water bottles for you and your kid, and a change of clothes just in case. So now you're just hoping no one notices your kid is wearing his non-swim pull-up (which, let's face it, looks a lot like the swim diapers).
Getting All The Way To The Pool Only To Have It Be Evacuated
You've trekked all the way to swim lessons, either by car, by foot, or by subway, only to find that within the hour it took you to get there, some kid threw up or went number two in the water. They're clearing everyone out of the pool and plan to shock the water, which could take a few hours. Now what are you going to do?
Swimming In The Winter Season
Swim lessons in the swampy days of summer is one thing, but once it becomes hat weather, the idea of stripping your kid down to his or her skivvies to jump into a cool pool becomes less and less appealing (for both of you). Snowflakes and swimming lessons (thought they do make a pleasant alliteration) just don't seem to mix.
When It's So Crowded Your Kid Only Gets Five Minutes Of Actual Swim Time
My children's swimming school is pretty great about giving each child a very reasonable amount of swimming time, but we've been to places where kids get about five minutes of time in the water. The rest is spent goofing around on the ledge to the pool with their pals while one teacher takes a turn with one student at a time. It is painful to watch as the parent on the outside looking in, wondering where all your dollars are going towards.
That Kid Who Won't Stop Screaming
Once in a while you get that kid at swimming lessons who just won't stop screaming. He hates swimming, he doesn't want to be here, he's overtired, he's having a bad day — whatever the reason is, everyone at swim school is now paying the price. It puts everyone in attendance on edge, including your child, who may have just gotten used to the idea of swim lessons but now, thanks to The Screamer, is wondering if maybe he should go back to being scared again.
When It's Your Kid Who Won't Stop Screaming
If it is the first few weeks of swimming lessons for your young child, it is likely that you could be the parent of the screamer or the intense crier. The screamer is the worst because, usually, he or she is louder and more disruptive. Like an annoying car alarm that refuses to go off, the sound of anyone passionately screaming is disconcerting. The sound of your own child in distress is like dying a slow death.