Family life: Swim Lessons

James is taking swimming lessons at the local dive center. His lesson is for 20 minutes on Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 12:00. His first lesson was on Monday. We arrived 15 minutes early to watch the trainers and the other kids. The center has things running like clockwork and it was interesting to watch. As one lesson ended, the next child would sit on the steps in front of their instructor to begin their lesson. Each instructor seemed very focused on the child with whom they were teaching. The children were all ages from two years old and up.

James first lesson was spent getting him acclimated to the water and having him dip his ears and face into the water. He dislikes getting his face wet and kept wanting to hop out and dry off his face. He wanted to do things at his pace and kept telling D “I’ll do it myself”. He wanted me to sit by the edge of the pool while he took his lesson, which kept me involved in the process, versus D being able to control the whole lesson. 

James has always had a negative first reaction to any change, especially when it is something out of his control. So at the end of the lesson, he was quite adamant that he didn’t want to take swimming lessons anymore. Basically, because he couldn’t do what he wanted and just wonder around in the pool… he had to follow D’s instructions. By the end of the day however, he was quite proud of himself for completing his first swimming lesson and ready to go back on Wednesday.

Wednesday he enthusiastically started his lesson, listened to D and put his ears and face in the water. After getting out once to dry off his face, D wouldn’t let him get out of the pool again. She told him he had to get used to getting his face wet and wiping it off with his hand. So... when he decided to splash a couple of the other male instructors in the face, they vigorously splashed back.

He didn’t complain or get upset and wiped off his face with his hand. I sat back (on my hands) and chatted with another parent, while James groused about this or that and refused to leave the step. The other parent told me how patient the instructors were and that it took about 5 lessons before her son got off the step. Also, how hard it is to sit there when your child gets upset and just let the instructor handle it. 

That was the hard part for me, especially at the end. At the end of the lesson, D pulled him off the step and you would have thought he was dying… he is very dramatic. She got him to dip his ear in the water, and then released him. He was upset, but calmed down quickly and told D he was see her on Friday.

Today, “his” goal is to float… we’ll see what happens. My goal is to stay on the bench and watch without thinking I have to mediate. It seems I also have control issues….

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