If Mitchell can’t swim by the time he’s five, it’s not for a lack of trying on our part. (Just kidding… kind of). We’ve had a rough start to swim lessons. We have him signed up for the Saturday Swim School here on base. He could have started a little younger with the parent/tot classes but that would have left Julia to fend for herself on the pool deck and I think they frown on leaving non-swimming toddlers unattended, even if it is to teach the older non-swimming sibling how to swim. So we signed him up, ready to start on his very first Saturday as a three year old. But that lesson was cancelled for a little poop in the pool incident (not my child and currently knocking on wood that it won’t ever be my child). Next week, we spend the entire lesson trying to get Mitchell in the water and he REFUSED. No swimming that day. Next week, lifeguard training and no swim lesson. Next week, lightning. I was seriously starting to think he would be wearing a life jacket into adulthood. Steve, like usual, rolled his eyes and reassured me that he would learn how to swim eventually, and he’s only three. He was right, as usual. THIS WEEK, we had our first successful swim lesson.
We’ve learned the trick is to bring him about 30 minutes early. We are completely spoiled with indoor pools here at Camp Lejeune. A whole bunch of them, and they’re open to everyone to swim year round, free of charge. We try our best to take advantage of it, but there are only so many hours in the day. Letting Mitchell get excited about swimming makes the transition into the start of the lesson a whole lot easier – he’s already used to the water temperature, soaking wet, and ready to kick! The only draw back I’ve found is trying to explain to him why he has to swim on the other side of the lane line. Seriously, if I could understand the logic of a two year old, I would write a parenting book and make my million. Until then, I’ll be the one trying to convince the soaking wet toddler that the water is just as blue on the other side.
We’re working on several skills, but the back float more than anything terrifies him. I was so proud of his willingness to try it – even though it was only for a minute! He knows how to blow bubbles, though he’d much rather boost his chlorine intake and drink it instead. He’s got some pretty cute chipmunk cheeks but then laughs and opens his mouth, so the concept of breath holding is still lost. But he doesn’t freak out when he gets dunked, so that’s good. Lots of places to improve, but I think the biggest thing lately is the fact that he’s confident! Even if he thinks he can swim without his puddle jumper when he actually just sinks 😉
While I think there probably shouldn’t have been this many kids in one class, I was seriously impressed that the instructor could hold the attention of this many kids. I did, however, notice the next level up after these kids had a 2:1 student to instructor ratio compared to this crazy 8:1, so I’m looking forward to that.
Then it was time to kick! Mitchell listened right along with the teachers and kicked his little heart out!
Eventually he decided the splashing was loud and he was over it. Steve and I were cracking up when he covered his ears every time the motor boat stepped on the gas. Hilarious.
And so that wrapped up his lesson. All that in 20 minutes. I’m impressed!
But wait, there’s more! Daddy came a little bit early to swim laps himself, so they swam together after the fun was over. Mitchell practiced his “jumping” in the water, whereby he sits on the edge of the pool and lets Daddy pull him in by his hands. It’s progress, people.
So that’s a wrap on the swim lesson front. Total beginners, but the beginning was the hard part. We can only become more buoyant from here. I’d be lying if I didn’t tell you my ultimate goal is to get him on the swim team. The Camp Lejeune Swim Team threshold is age five and a 25 meter freestyle. That’s the goal. But first, we’ll master holding our breath 😉