Saturday, August 20, 2011
Excuse me while I lie to myself...
You should be aware that the pictures in this post are not designed to show our full experience with swim lessons. They are designed to ensure that I enroll my kids NEXT summer because my brain will remember these photos...not the actual events that transpired before and after leaving the pool. Also, it was difficult to take pictures while motivating people to put on their suit, get in the car, drying tears, processing fears, discussing why we learn to swim, and handling the pent up post lesson emotions. So much for the lazy days of summer. :)
That being said, once O got in the pool, he was his typical "school persona". When at school, he listens very well, focuses on the task at hand, and aims to please. The coaches at the YMCA were AWESOME, and I would recommend swim lessons there for any beginning swimmer. The lessons themselves were never the issue; it was the emotions that came with them and how to handle those emotions.
O and Coach M. She was patient and calm and she followed up on an off the cuff promise she made to Owen. Two thumbs up!
After two weeks of lessons, Owen looked at me and said, "I thought you said I would be able to swim after two weeks." Hmmmm...am I a liar? What I should have said was, "I didn't realize that you would be carried into the swimming facility, literally, kicking and screaming. I'm sure the stress of such an experience might have limited your ability to acquire the skills necessary to swim or distracted you from absorbing the full intent of the lessons." So, we went back for two more weeks, wanting to end on a high note. Or, I'm a glutton for punishment.
Praise God (literally, for we prayed for a better behind the scenes experience), weeks 3 and 4 were better. Coach C was a gift! I kept wanting to ask him what he was studying in college because he is a natural teacher. The kids connected with him, and he navigated that tricky balance between motivating the kids out of their "safe" spot and pushing them too far where they were too anxious to try new things. Owen did much better these weeks. I guess I forgot what a creature of habit he is, and he finally adapted to the "swim routine". Sweet mercies!
June, on the other hand, LOVED the experience. So much, in fact, that she did spend most lessons in the YMCA child care center. She tried to take her clothes off and get in with Owen every time, so maybe one of my kids will be a swimmer after all. It was a bit distracting for all parties though, so she played with her little friends in the air conditioned play area. She didn't know how good she had it because it is a hot 30 minutes on the side watching people swim while you sit on hot concrete.
The last day, the kids get to go down the big slide. For most of the kids, this is a big motivator. For mine, it's an episode of "Fear Factor."
Did I mention we all got reacquainted with some verses from Joshua, sung in the car, in the locker room, at the pool side..."Be strong and courageous and do not be afraid. The Lord goes with you each and every day. He'll never forsake you. Don't be afraid." It's true...both for Mom and Son.
And here he is on the last day.
Oh, and the delicious irony of Owen...now that lessons are over, we go to this same pool and instead of splashing and playing, he does drills for himself. He picks a skill and does reps until he can go farther than he's gone before. Coach C had lifeguard duty the other day and just shook his head at Owen. He said, "Umm, where was this motivation last month?" Buried deep, Coach, buried very, very deep. All's well that ends well, right?